Wednesday, February 13, 2019

ARC Review: The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross

40409247Title: The Beast's Heart
Series: n/a
Author: Leife Shallcross
Source/Format: First to read; eARC
More Details: Fantasy; Retelling
Publisher/Publication Date: Berkley; February 12, 2019

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Synopsis from Goodreads...
A sumptuously magical, brand new take on a tale as old as time—read the Beast's side of the story at long last...
I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both. I am the Beast. The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time. My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded. My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again. And now I might lose her forever....
Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast's heart....

I always look forward to retellings for the usual reasons. So it’s pretty obvious why I wanted to give The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross a try. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling told from the perspective of the Beast, and I was looking forward to what twists Shallcross would inject into a tale that’s already so familiar. I liked this book. It was long and it followed the general plot of Beauty and the Beast—so, if you know anything about the story, some parts of this one will feel familiar. Yet, The Beast’s Heart was still an interesting retelling.

From the first page, I was drawn in by Shallcross’s writing. It was descriptive and expertly conveyed what the Beast was going through as well as the setting and the magic present in the story. Shallcross did a good job at creating a better picture of the loneliness he went through during the time he spent isolated in a forest and then in his chateau. So, one thing I did see more of was what the Beast was doing before the usual starting point of the story, and when he had time alone thereafter. 
I also liked how Shallcross handled the other parts of the story. With so limited a focus, I was afraid that some of the other characters—like Isabeau’s family—would get lost while the story played out between her and the Beast. But, that wasn’t the case at all. There was a gradual progression of the story for both main and secondary characters. And I have to say that I enjoyed how those parts were ultimately incorporated into the rest of the story. Now, one thing I do have to talk about is how familiar parts of the story felt. Because this was a retelling that closely followed the original tale, it took away some of the surprise that might have come with certain revelations had there been more differences. It wasn’t that big of an issue. Other than that, the story was good. 
Overall, The Beast’s Heart was a solid retelling of Beauty and the Beast. And, if you’re a fan of the original tale, then maybe consider giving this one a try. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to whatever Shallcross writes next....

About the author....

Leife Shallcross’s first novel, The Beast’s Heart, a "luxuriously magical retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale", will be published by Hodder & Stoughton in May 2018. She is also the author of several short stories, including Pretty Jennie Greenteeth, which won the 2016 Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Short Story. Leife has a bit of a thing for fairy tales, and is particularly inspired by those characters that tend to fall into the cracks of the usual stories. She can be found online at and on Twitter @leioss.

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Disclaimer: This copy of the book was provided by First to Read for this review, thank you!

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