Beastkeeper | Review
When Sarah’s mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents—people she has never met, didn’t even know were still alive.
Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast . . . unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever.
– From the publisher || Add it on GoodreadsSo, I'll be honest here. I don't exactly like the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. It's a little too much like Stockholm syndrome for me. But it also has some great themes of redemption, and not judging people by their appearances. I'm not saying I hate the story – I just don't like some of the elements in it. So I usually skip the retellings of this particular fairy tale.
However, when my sister recommended Beastkeeper to me, I decided to give it a try because she said it was good. And it is good. It's a refreshingly different take on the story. It's also incredibly engrossing. I absolutely love the prose, the descriptions are gorgeous and original, and it has just a hint of something dark and mysterious. It was the perfect style for this story.
Since Sarah is the character who was cursed, I was interested to see how the author would handle the change in roles. In short, she does a fantastic job. All the familiar elements were there, but they were reshaped, given a different purpose, and woven into a unique and spellbinding book. And it didn't have anything suggestive of Stockholm syndrome in it, so that was a relief. There were a few things I didn't like, but overall it was a great book.
I won't say much about the story, because of spoilers, but, oh my, that plot twist at the ending! That ending left me surprised, really surprised. I was amazed at the character development in Sarah. She makes some incredibly difficult decisions, but the does what's right. She is a character who is both strong and good.
Beastkeeper left me with things I'm still thinking about: forgiveness, doing what's right, and what it is that makes us truly human.
What's your favorite kind of fairy tale retelling? Do you prefer the ones that change the setting and characters a lot, or do you like the more traditional ones? What are some of your favorite retellings?