Of Beast and Beauty

Stacey Jay, Author
Stacey Jay. Delacorte, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-385-74320-4
Reviewed on: 05/20/2013
Release date: 07/23/2013
In Juliet Immortal and Romeo Redeemed, Jay gave an apocalyptic twist to Romeo and Juliet, and now she does so with the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast.” On a far-flung planet, the descendants of humanity have evolved into two camps: Smooth Skins live in domed cities, while the Monstrous—deformed by the influence of a goddess—scrape by outside, hated and feared. Does it make sense to draw an analogy to “Beauty and the Beast” when nearly every character is a mutant, rather than just one cursed individual? In any case, Jay’s characters are well-realized, and Isra, a blind princess destined to be sacrificed for her city, and Gem, a reluctant Monstrous warrior, have much more than superficial appearances to negotiate. There is a personal, romantic side to their struggle, but it’s the ideological, cultural, and cosmic perils that threaten to overwhelm them. Even if the story has only a tenuous relationship to the claimed source material, Jay’s setup is intriguing and her writing assured. Ages 14–up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (July)
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