My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
When Feyre kills a giant wolf in the woods, she does more than protect her family, she changes her fate forever. The animal Feyre kills is not a wolf, but a fairy in disguise, and now she must pay the price for his death. By the laws of the Treaty, she is dragged off to Prythian, the fairy realm over the wall, and is forced to spend the rest of her life there, as punishment for her crime. The “beast” she is forced to live with is not an animal at all, but Tamlin, one of the High Fae of Prythian. As time passes, she realizes that Prythian is a more dangerous place than she ever imagined. A blight has spread over the land, tempering with the fairies’ magic and setting dark creatures loose. Despite her initial hatred for fairies, Feyre’s icy hostility towards fairies, especially Tamlin, begins to melt away and she decides to take it upon herself to save Tamlin, his people, and her family back in the mortal realm before they are all doomed.
I have a confession to make: I am embarrassed at how much I liked this book. My inner teenage girl came out and I had some major fangirl moments while reading this. (Please don’t judge me.) The story was a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast. I was somewhat skeptical at first, given the incorporation of fairies, but my misgivings disappeared by the time I was a few chapters in. The fairies here aren’t the dainty, pixie type, but are strong, powerful creatures. The High Fae are the ruling class of fairies, with special individual abilities, like shape-shifting and mind control. Tamlin, with his ability to turn himself into a vicious, blood-thirsty beast, make his character all the more unpredictable and intriguing.
This particular version of Beauty and the Beast is deeper and more mature than the original fairy tale. Prythian and the High Fae have a rich history filled with loss, deception, and death. Feyre’s own history is filled with sadness and personal struggles, which is what ultimately bring she and Tamlin to understand each other. The relationships between the characters are complex ones and, as a result, often lead to very difficult decisions. I loved the path that Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship traveled and the sacrifices they make for each other. (Speaking of a mature relationship…The sex in this book is hot. The raw sensuality expressed by Tamlin made me want to devour him.)
There is so much more that I want to say, so much that I want to gush over, but I don’t want to give too many spoilers away! I will say that yes, this book had some of it’s typical YA aspects and cheesiness to it, but despite that I loved it anyway. I’m actually a little heartbroken now that I’ve finished it. There’s a sequel that is out and a third installment that is set to come out later this year. I can’t decide if I should go ahead and read the second one or not, though. Based on how it ended, it seems kind of obvious that the Beauty and the Beast story is done with and that it’s going to turn into a typical YA fantasy/romance story. (Anyone care to share some insight on this?)