Title: Beast of Rosemead (Fairytales of Folkshore #4)
Author: Lucy Tempest
Genre: Fiction/ Romance/ Fantasy/ Fairytale / YA
Source: Following the Author – Recommended
Favourite Quote: ‘I’d read enough about heroes. It was time I became one myself.’
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.*
Bonnie Fairborn is fed up of being coddled by her father, she longs to visit far off places like the ones in the book Ada gave her, especially Arbore, the lost Kingdom past their dark and fearsome Hornwood forest. When a mysterious old woman runs to Ada for help with her broken carriage at the edge of Hornwood, Bonnie drags her father along to help, only instead to find Ada being taken away into a portal. Without hesitating, Bonnie runs in after her, but unbeknownst to her, her desire to visit the Kingdom of Arbore intercedes with the magic of the portal and she finds herself waking up in the lost kingdom of her dreams. Unfortunately it’s not all what she imagined it to be, especially when her father is dragged away from her very eyes to be sacrificed to a monstrous beast who resides at Rosemead castle. With no one left to help, she makes her way to the castle to plead for her fathers life, little does she know, her own life is about to change forever.
‘My desire to leave, to wander anywhere, had rocked the boat of this peaceful future together that they’d both coveted. Then my wish had come true, ending with us scattered, and with me staring down a new reality where I had something I’d never had.
I didn’t know how to save them all, give them back the lives they’d had. And I couldn’t bear not knowing. I’d always needed answers. It was why I’d spent my life within the pages of books that could give me those. Now I wanted to skip to the end of this story and read the ending. But it was only half-written. And for the first time, I wasn’t the reader, but the writer. And it was up to me to write the next chapter.’
Once again Lucy Tempest has blown me away with another fantastic fairytale retelling! I absolutely love her writing style and the way she is able to put a spin on an original classic romance and turn it into an adventure you can’t put down. I adored her Aladdin series ‘Thief of Cahraman’ so much that I’ve read them time and time again. I have to say, I was slightly hesitant to pick up her Beauty and the Beast instalment as it’s my favourite fairytale, I was so wrapped up in Ada’s story, I had no idea I’d come to love Bonnie just as much! I’m glad I finally got around to reading it, I wasn’t disappointment in any sense and the book instantly made it to my favourites list!
We all know the story of Beauty and the Beast; a lonely bookish girl who lives with her father finds herself locked in a castle by a beast who is actually a cursed prince, they fall in love and she breaks the spell. You have all of that and more with the Beast of Rosemead. It’s predictable but at the same time, entirely different, from the mythical creatures of the cursed staff she befriends, the fact that she knew what she had to do to break the spell from the start as well as her desire to find Ada and reunite with her father, what’s even more interesting is that this first story doesn’t end at the castle like all of the other tales I’ve read.
What I really liked straight away is that you already partially knew our heroine Bonnie, if you’ve read the Thief of Cahraman trilogy that is! She’s the best friend of Ada, our ‘Jasmine’ thief sent to Cahraman to take part in a competition in order to search the royal castle for a mysterious magic lamp. Bonnies story begins when she follows Ada into the portal but instead ends up in a different part of the once forgotten world, the Kingdom of Arbore, with an added Robin of Loxley as a bonus. The way the author brings various fairytale characters into her story is brilliant, not only does it help build up each character in their own story from various perspectives, it magnifies the world building, introducing various lost kingdoms and their history.
Bonnie was a great heroine, she was young and innocent but with a desire to explore the world. Her wish to discover the unknown forgotten worlds past the Hornwood pulled her away from Ada into the Kingdom of Arbore where she quickly realised that her longing for adventure wasn’t as romantic and exciting as she imagined from her books. Instead she was forced to make life-threatening decisions to sacrifice everything she wanted in order to save what she loved most. I liked how she slowly became a stronger character throughout the story and the determination to save everyone overpowered her emotions. Whilst she knew she didn’t feel anything for Leander, she refused to give up on him. Their friendship was something I enjoyed, their constant bickering was enlightening, you could feel the subtle changes around the castle with her stubbornness.
‘”Good luck convincing me to enjoy my stay with your attitude.”
“You’re very disagreeable,” he grunted. “Very loud, too.”
“You’re one to talk,” I scoffed.
He stopped his pacing, shot an exasperated look in my direction. “Do you have to answer back to everything I say?”
“Would you rather I go back to ignoring you?” I taunted, something I’d never done.
“I would rather that you’d do as you’re told. I would like for you to accept my gifts graciously, to dine with me, to possibly get to know me, as I am your host.”
“You’re not my host, you’re my jailer. I’m your hostage.”
“Would you stop?!” He shouted. “I’ll have you know that if you spoke like that to anyone else you’d be punished severely.”
“Oh, dearie me, what punishment could possibly surpass captivity by a monster? Being speared by a unicorn?”‘
Leanders character was great, he had everything you wanted in a man that had become a beast. He knew he was cursed as a child and had slowly come to terms with his life, but when others around him in his isolation were pulled into the same curse turning them into mythical creatures, his need to end the curse forced him to make difficult decisions, like kidnapping a young woman in hopes she will fall in love with him in the brief time he had left. As a beast, he’s stubborn, angry and frustrated, all the while keeping up as many manly appearances he could muster like the upkeep of his home, his need to dress and walk on two legs, as well as his royal etiquette and attitude. By this point, he would risk anything to help those around him as well as his cursed sister, our very own princess Fairuza who is currently competing against Ada for the Prince of Cahraman. You understood is decisions and felt the urgency in breaking the curse. When he started to put his faith into Bonnie, you could feel the acceptance of just leaving it up to fate when he was around her. The subtle ways he expressed his emotions were so sweet and heartfelt, you couldn’t help but fall for him!
The additional characters were a great aspect that you come to love and hate. Our very own Gaston in the role of Caster, a self entitled hunting hero who expects the world to go his way and can’t understand why Bonnie would want to save her father when he’s there to look after her and provide for her. He doesn’t understand the meaning of love and puts duty and status before anything else. He’s just as frustrating but that’s all part of his annoying character, to make us realise that everyone has flaws, beast or man. The characters you being to meet around the castle are wonderful, the details and expressions that are felt when Bonnie is around them is endearing, you know they’ve accept Bonnie as their savour but part of them has also accepted their fate to remain who they are forever. A pressure she feels at times but they would do anything to make her feel comfortable and safe.
Overall a fantastic story, I’ve already started the next book and it’s only getting better!
A BOOKISH BEAUTY. A BEASTLY PRINCE. A DEADLY CURSE.
Bonnie Fairborn’s wish to escape her small-town life for one of adventure is granted in the worst way when she’s flung along with her family into the unknown. The nightmare deepens when she wakes up to find her best friend Ada gone and her father offered as a sacrifice to the terrifying Beast of Rosemead.
After trading her life for his, her bid for escape ends in a lethal brush with fairies. When the beast almost dies to save her, she discovers he is the missing Crown Prince of Arbore, and the victim of a vindictive fairy’s curse. With time to undo it running out, he and his monstrous staff believe she’s the only one who can save them all.
But how can she fall in love with the gruff and mysterious Leander, let alone to a deadline? And would that be enough to break the curse? Especially now she’s discovering that nothing, including her own life, is what it seems?