Date started: January 6, 2016
Date ended: February 2, 2016
JANUARY PICK FOR THE ROYALS BOOKCLUB
This was such an innovative new take on a classic story. Beastkeeper is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast but in a way you never see coming. Also, the cover is stunning so, naturally, since I enjoyed the book, I put it on my bookshelf.
Ever since she can remember Sarah and her parents have always moved. Always further and further south as her mother hates the cold. Til the day her mother finally walks away from the family. And something strange begins to happen. Old magic comes out of hiding and her father begins to change slowly, but surely into a wild beast. Before he fully becomes a beast he takes Sarah to the last place she expected: the ruins of a crumbling castle where her grandparents live. As time goes by, the curse begins to reveal itself and its next target may very well be Sarah herself.
First of all, I loved its first pages: They had that bittersweet tone of well done magical realism, and they held so much promise. The reader is immediately thrown into this family’s life, and even though they’re portrayed as happy and well, we get a sense that something isn’t quite right.
Page after page we get sucked into Sarah’s life, and how after her mother’s abandonment and her father’s downward spiral, everything she knows is vanishing before her very eyes. She now has grandparents she never knew existed. Her father is leaving her just like her mother did. This is truly heartbreaking because our heroine, Sarah is only thirteen and she is not ready for all the change that is coming into her life. In actuality, I don’t think anyone would be prepared for what the world throws at her. All of a sudden, she is surrounded by a strange reality and sharing an existence with characters that aren’t exactly loving or trustworthy. They’re strangers to her. This does also mean that there’s a lot of crying, which is comprehensible and not bad. Hellisen doesn’t drone on and on about woe is me in like typical fairy tales, but it is kind of a nod to them. I know if I was in Sarah’s shoes I’d be crying too!
The other reason I loved this book and this heroine is because at only thirteen she is strong in her own way. She doesn’t just roll over and say I’m cursed so there’s nothing to do. No, she goes in search of a cure to make a better life or to at least try. She’s not a quitter and that’s a trait I love to see in heroines.
Overall, Beastkeeper is simply beautiful writing. Short, sweet, and like all fairy tales has a lesson to teach all of us. Only 197 pages and I laughed and cried, that is quite a feat. Well done Hellisen, I will be waiting for more from you!!