Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Retelling
Rating: 4/5 Ink Splats
Goodreads Synopsis: Blossom Frane is only weeks away from her transformation. On her eighteenth birthday, she’ll find out her future branch of society and her totem, the animal form she’ll be able to take at will for the rest of her life. Like her brothers, she’s expected to be a brown bear of the religious branch known as Terra.
In the Alderwood forests, Blossom’s bear blood is a valuable asset. Any day now, a rival clan leader will step forward and offer her father a hefty bounty in exchange for her hand in marriage. Blossom can do nothing more than sit back and wait to be traded to the highest bidder.
Determined to spend her last weeks exploring the Alderwood, Blossom sneaks away and manages to find Kaide Landel, a rising political star of the Pyro branch. Known for his violence and disregard for the religious teachings of the Terra branch, he’s all wrong for the bear clan’s prized daughter. But when the politician uses his wealth and influence to secure her hand, Blossom has no choice but to leave her family and marry him—if she lives that long.
*Goodreads link added below*
Based off assumptions, at least most of us know the tale of Beauty and the Beast. Whether that’s reading the traditional tale by French novelist, Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, watching the Disney animation and live-action movies, and/or knowing about the countless amount of retellings of this tale to exist to date.
Regardless, it’s Beauty and the Beast:
the young-ambitious girl (who may or may not be named Belle),
the arrogant-spoiled beast (who may or may not be a prince),
and a tale about their love (a lesson that people have learned it’s more than just a face).
And this is what Blossom and the Beast is… only it is even MORE SPECTACULAR than the other retelling you might’ve come across, and if you haven’t tried this type of retelling yet: TRY THIS BOOK FIRST. Or second… no pressure.*applies a little amount of pressure* 🙂
The one thing I LOVED MOST about this book is that R.S. McCoy did an amazing job to taking this retelling and adding SO much originality.
The world building is broken up into “four branches” of elements: Terra, Pyro, Hydra, and Aero. Within these branches people have totems (transformation powers essentially) that go well within each branch to help them live and survive. This is how Kaide’s (our Beast) mysterious element comes in since reveal of what his totem isn’t until much later into the novel. Even the totem of our heroine, Blossom (our Beauty), which made the story even more interesting and made me keep reading to know more. The reasoning to not know Blossom’s totem is based on customs that McCoy also created in this world.
AND MAN WHAT A REVEAL BOTH OF THESE WERE. SHOOKETH I TELL YOU. S.H.O.O.K.E.T.H.
I won’t go into any more details since I did enjoy figuring out which totem each character possessed, but it is something that is introduced immediately in the book, so no worries on the wait. Also, only a few of the branches, Terra and Pyro are the main setting locations, but I’m hoping since this is a series I get to explore more of them as well as more of the totems when I continue to read on. Regardless, I love the lands of the Alderwood which is where our main character, Blossom, is from as well as Pyro, Kaide’s homelands. The dynamic of both of these branches didn’t halt the story flow and only made me want to devour the book even more! Didn’t see any of that in your original tale did ya? DIDN’T THINK SO.
Blossom is a kind, spirited heroine that I liked through the entire book. Just like our well-known Beauty, Blossom wishes for a sense of belonging and freedom. As much as she loves her home of the Alderwood with her father and three (gorgeous may I quickly add) brothers, she wants more. Is Belle’s scene of running in a field of wheat coming to your head yet?
Kaide is a little different from the typical beast. Because McCoy created multiple POVs of both Blossom and Beast (scoreeeee) it was refreshing to realize he was not always brooding. Kaide was quiet and strong that truly only wanted what was best for Blossom. He did have his moments (like at the dinner table… another scene comes to mind?), but overall he was so likable and so handsome. I liked how McCoy kept his fear of his “beast form” which made the revealing so much more sentimental. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL INSIDE AND OUT KAIDE REMEMBER THAT.
Side characters like Blossom’s brothers and Kaide’s cousin Raene didn’t hold much importance in this novel since the rest of the series channels to them. I received enough information to hold interest until the next books especially Raene’s character since the next book is her story.
McCoy’s writing style is beautiful and easy to follow. However, the two things I didn’t like about book is SOME of the romance (key word: some) and the pace. Since the developing feelings of both characters held so much more impact because there is the multiple POVs element, I got a sensation of insta-love from Kaide’s side. I enjoy this type of retellings for the build of it’s romance and it had that… but didn’t quite have that at the same time?Mind you, it was essentially one-sided for about a part of the novel which isn’t 100% insta-love, but I didn’t like Kaide’s reasoning for loving her from the get-go. However, once Blossom’s feelings were more prominent it was FANTASTIC.
“Can you feeeeeel the loveeeeee tonight?”
Now can you see this scen– wait, wrong retelling HAH.
The pace was also a little awkward because it was very strong in the very beginning unfolding the world and the story for us, a tad slow in the middle, and thEN THE ENDING HAPPENED SO FAST THAT THE CLIFFHANGER LITERALLY FLEW ME OFF THE CLIFF FROM ITS SPEED. WhAt THe HeCK MCCOY. HOW YOU GOING TO DO ME
LIKE THAT??? I’M QUITE HURT… PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY I MIGHT ADD.
Overall, if you love Beauty and the Beast, great world-building, or romance you will definitely love this. If you give it a shot, let me know how you love it (or hopefully love it) like I do.
Onto book 2.