In this urban fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, modern-day teenager Beila Durand is plagued by nightmares that lead her to discover – and wind up trapped in – a cursed underground world. The invisible people that live in this medieval village depend on Beila learning the truth behind their curse – and why she is the only one who can set them free.
In her quest for answers, however, all she seems to find are more questions. Where do the echoing screeching at night originate? Who is the isolated man that speaks with Beila from the shadows of his cloak? What does this New York girl have to do with any of it? And will she ever find a way back home?
My Thoughts on the book:
For those of you who don’t know, I love reading retellings of fairy tales. When I was given the chance to read it in advance, I knew that I couldn’t resist, and the story did not disappoint.
The main character, Beila is a complex, well-rounded, and multidimensional character that was well developed throughout the book. While modeled after Belle in the original Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, she stands alone with her own personality and story. But in tradition Belle or Beila fashion, she is fascinated by the library found deep within the mysterious winding tunnels.
The mysterious man in the cloak, nicknamed Shadow by Beila, is marked by his mysterious bits of wisdom and knowledge of the unknown curse that is plaguing the mysterious tunnels and village belonging to the invisible people. Together these two compelling character shape the core of the story.
However, my favorite character was the unique Adele, one of the invisible villagers. Emily crafted the supporting characters in a beautiful and compelling way. Prior to the book, I had never read a book that had invisible characters that were so vividly described. Interaction with the villagers were done through the eyes of Beila, and the descriptions were beautiful painting the villagers in a way that despite them being invisible I could picture what they looked like.
Emily takes a traditional story that most people grow up hearing and spins in a new and fresh way. Just when the reader thinks that they know what is going to happen next, the story turns in a new direction. In a beautiful mix of modern and medieval, the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast takes on a refreshing new twist. I look forward to reading more from Emily Rachelle if they are anything like this book. Five out of five stars.