The Beast's Heart
Publication Date: May 2018
Publisher: Hachette Australia
RRP: $19.99 AUD
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.
I received a finished copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
I remember first stumbling across the news of this book on Twitter and knowing I instantly needed it in my life… the trouble was I had to wait several months for it to even become available for review! The wait was completely worth it.
The Beast’s Heart is a magically woven retelling of the everlasting classic Beauty and the Beast. Shallcross does the original story justice with her beautifully written retelling – bringing the reader into a world of love, friendship, magic, darkness and beauty.
The Beast’s Heart is told from the Beast’s perspective, a unique insight these days when it comes to Beauty and the Beast retellings. Whilst at the beginning I found it hard to grasp onto the Beast and the exquisitely written chapters, I eventually found myself being pulled into his story, feeling his anguish and desires.
The magic within this book is mesmerising, it kept me curious from the very start, and stayed with me through to the end. The ‘servants’, the enchanted garden and home all provided delightful moments and the interactions the characters had with the magic, whether they knew they were doing it or not was fascinating.
The Beast and Isabeau’s relationship was what really drew me in and kept me turning each page in anticipation. The friendship they built was quite beautiful. Even through distance and tough times when they were together they still found time for one another. They brought joy and comfort to each other’s lives, even when one of them didn’t even really notice it till the end. They both grew over the timeline of this novel and seeing it through the Beast’s eyes and watching him start to regain his humanity through Isabeau and his own actions was an important transformation and part of his journey.
I loved also that they each had their own alone time, they did not spend the entirety of the novel in each other’s company. It gave us a chance to glimpse through the Beast’s mirror and watch how Isabeau’s family was coping without her. I found myself looking forward to these moments and watching other characters stories play out.
The plot flows elegantly throughout The Beast’s Heart and the centre of the story is forefront throughout the novel, the Beast and his curse – and the young maiden to break it. However I did not really enjoy the Fairy who cursed him scenes- whenever she popped up she was a bit confusing to me and I felt she was not really needed.
The Beast’s Heart is a rich and characterful retelling to a story that I love dearly. I found this retelling to hold a much darker depth to it than what I am use to; however, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I will always smile at this book when I pass it on the bookshelf.