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Monday, August 25, 2014

ARC Review: Beauty's Beast by Amanda Ashley

Format: .mobi (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Release Date: September 2, 2014


Fair of face and figure, Kristine is young, innocent, pure. Yet she has been condemned to the gallows for killing a man. The only one who can save her is a lord so infamous that some say he is the son of the Devil himself. . .

And the Beast

Erik Trevayne is called the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle, but few know of the curse he lives under. Or the terrifying changes slowly gnawing away at his humanity. When he weds her, all he wants of Kristine is a son. But when he beds her, a wild hope is born--that love that can tame even the most monstrous of beasts...

Sometimes it’s the dark and gritty stories that get to you in the best possible way.

About to hang for a murder committed in self defense, Kristine is rescued at the last minute by a mysterious nobleman in search of a bride to give him an heir. Desperate to escape, Kristine leaps at the chance to marry up, not knowing that she is about to be thrown into a battle against a powerful witch.

Erik Trevayne, Lord of Hawksbridge Castle is a condemned man. Cursed by an evil witch, Erik is slowly turning into a beast. Time is running out for him to get an heir so when he picks a random prisoner to marry, he believes that is the end of things. He doesn’t count on falling for his new young bride or finding a reason to fight the curse placed on him. As Erik and Kristine try and find a way to free him, they also become closer and fall in love. Something the witch doesn’t count on.

I’ve read one or two of Amanda Ashley’s books before and wasn’t all that impressed but there was something about the cover and the blurb of Beauty’s Beast that made me give it a shot.

It was impressive. This is a story that I know will take a while to leave my mind. Unlike other romances inspired by the classic Beauty and the Beast tale I’ve read, Beauty’s Beast has a hero who is a beast. It’s not his personality or a few physical scars we’re talking about here, Erik is turning into a beast, complete with fur and claws! Talk about an obstacle on the way to romance.

Erik is a tragic figure in this story. It was love that got him cursed in the first place, poor guy. Despite it all though, he’s still a noble character who is slowly losing his humanity and has pushed away anyone who cares for him. Kristine is the total opposite. Though she was at death’s door when Erik found her, she’s the light to his darkness and it worked to give Erik back a piece of his humanity.

Beauty’s Beast is a long story. I’m not sure what the actual page count is but I can tell you that it feels like a very long, dark story and while in some places I appreciated the attention to detail, but in others it seemed like there was an overkill of scenes and details that could have been left out in order to make the pacing a bit more brisk. One place I can’t complain is the magic aspect. There were enough details to make not only the curse solid and believable but also the beings that could wield magic.

I did like that Erik and Kristine’s relationship took a while to develop. These two characters were strangers and aren’t socially equal. Then there’s Erik’s curse, it would have been ridiculous if Kristine were to just toss all those important facts aside and fall madly in love with a half man, half beast. However, I did feel like Kristine was a forgettable character. Sure she was brave enough to confront Erik’s conflict but she really didn’t have her own personality. She was too much of a damsel and not enough of a kick butt female character. She wasn’t useless but she wasn’t much of a stand out character either. Whenever Erik was in the same scene, it’s like she faded into the background. Erik’s a strong character that he should have had an equally strong heroine instead of the sometimes meek Kristine. Though the book is called Beauty’s Beast I felt it was more Erik’s story than Kristine’s.

The villain was superb in my opinion because she was just so powerful and evil that she made it look like there was no way to beat her. She really gave these characters a battle and I do love a tough conflict for the characters to overcome.

Final Verdict: Beauty’s Beast appealed to my love of a dark, gritty and sensual romance. I loved the setting and the details that went into creating a believable conflict for Erik and Kristine. At times there were just too many scenes that slowed down the pace and made the story drag on unnecessarily but in the bigger picture, it was an intriguing story.

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