Hello Fellow Readers,

I hope you are having a fantastic reading week.

Lately I saw many posts around the blogosphere about A Vow So Bold and Deadly and the new book in the ACOTAR series, A Court of Silver Flames and they made me think. These two series are the two most popular and recent retellings of the fairy tale of the The Beauty and The Beast, or at least, that’s how those stories start. However, I am pretty sure there are so many great alternatives to the better known titles that still deserve to be read. As I always enjoy adding books to my and your TBR, I’ve put here a list of lesser-known The Beauty and The Beast retellings. Some of them, I’ve already read, others, well, I will check them out – one day. So, here we go:

Cruel Beauty – Rosamund Hodge

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

This standalone retelling takes place in a world building which mixes The Beauty and The Beast and Ancient Greek mythology. Cruel Beauty is written by the acclaimed author of Bright Smoke, Cold Fire.

Hunted – Meagan Spooner

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Meagan Spooner is a master of retellings and this Beauty and the Beast spin comes with a mix of Russian folklore influence. I read Spooner’s feminist retelling of Robin Hood, Sherwood, which I quite enjoyed, so I look forward to reading Hunted as well.

Of Beast and Beauty – Stacey Jay

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

This is a real alternative to our usual fairy tale retelling. Of Beast and Beauty is actually a dystopian novel, with both elements from fantasy and science fiction, with the addiction of a blind main character. This is absolutely a title to keep under your radar.

The Beast Within (Villains #2) – Serena Valentino

A cursed prince sits alone in a secluded castle.

Few have seen him, but those who claim they have say his hair is wild and nails are sharp–like a beast’s! But how did this prince, once jovial and beloved by the people, come to be a reclusive and bitter monster? And is it possible that he can ever find true love and break the curse that has been placed upon him?

The Beast Within is between YA and Middle Grade. As this is the second book from Serena Valentino for the Disney Villains series (each book is dedicated to a different Disney villain) you can expect to find more similarities with the Disney’s movie version.

Oath Taker (Kingdom of Runes #1) – Audrey Grey

Light magic is forbidden. 
Dark magic spells death. 
Haven has both.

After the Prince of Penryth saved her from captivity, seventeen-year-old Haven Ashwood spends her days protecting the kind prince and her nights secretly fighting the monsters outside the castle walls. When one of those monsters kidnaps Prince Bell, Haven must ally with Archeron Halfbane and his band of immortals to rescue her friend. 

Her quest takes her deep into the domain of a warped and vicious queen where the rules are simple: break her curse or die. Lost in a land of twisted magic and fabled creatures, Haven finds herself unprepared, not just for the feelings she develops for Archeron, but for the warring powers raging inside her. 

Her rare and forbidden type of magic may be their only hope . . . but mixing light and dark comes with a steep price. Haven’s soul. Faced with impossible love, heartbreaking betrayals, and a queen intent on destroying the realm, only one thing remains certain. Haven must shatter the curse or it will devour everything she loves. 

To spice things up, this is another super intriguing title. Kingdom of Runes series is recommended for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Emily R. King, which for me is an usual combination, and I doubt that claim realistically represents this book. Oath Taker and the rest of the books of the series are also branded as upper/mature YA audience.

The Beast’s Heart – Leife Shallcross

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

He is a broken, wild thing, his heart’s nature exposed by his beastly form. Long ago cursed with a wretched existence, the Beast prowls the dusty hallways of his ruined château with only magical, unseen servants to keep him company—until a weary traveler disturbs his isolation.

Bewitched by the man’s dreams of his beautiful daughter, the Beast devises a plan to lure her to the château. There, Isabeau courageously exchanges her father’s life for her own and agrees to remain with the Beast for a year. But even as their time together weaves its own spell, the Beast finds winning Isabeau’s love is only the first impossible step in breaking free from the curse . . .

I read this book a couple of years ago and I personally recommend it (also the hardcover version is ridiculously stunning and it’s worth just for that, ha). Set in 17th century France, The Beast’s Heart is actually told from the Beast’s perspective and I promise, it is beautifully written and you are going to love it.

The Will and The Wilds – Charlie N. Holmberg

Enna knows to fear the mystings that roam the wildwood near her home. When one tries to kill her to obtain an enchanted stone, Enna takes a huge risk: fighting back with a mysting of her own.

Maekallus’s help isn’t free. His price? A kiss. One with the power to steal her soul. But their deal leaves Maekallus bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive. Only Enna’s kiss, given willingly, can save him from immediate destruction. It’s a temporary salvation for Maekallus and a lingering doom for Enna. Part of her soul now burns bright inside Maekallus, making him feel for the first time.

Enna shares Maekallus’s suffering, but her small sacrifice won’t last long. If she and Maekallus can’t break the spell binding him to the mortal realm, Maekallus will be consumed completely—and Enna’s soul with him.

Probably this is more inspired from the fairy tale, than a retelling, but I couldn’t omit The Will and The Wilds from this list. This novel is a story of truce and trickery written by Charlie N. Holmberg, the bestselling writer of The Paper Magician.

Of Thorns and Beauty (Twisted Pages #1) – E. Madison & R. D. Mahle

“You think you know the tale as old as time, but you’ve already got it wrong.
There never was a beauty and a beast, only a girl who was both.
And that girl was me.”

Zaina will never be free. She’s forced into an arranged marriage to a Viking King in a castle full of secrets. But she carries secrets of her own, and the scars of her haunted past.

Handed off from one monster to another, she has no choice but to do her best to survive and protect her sisters. Even if it costs her everything.

This book has been recommended to me so many times, it has lots of outstanding reviews on Goodreads and it’s highly praised for the plot and originality intake of our beloved fairy tale. Of Thorns and Beauty is a retelling you don’t want to miss.

Beastly (Kendra Chronicles #1) – Alex Flinn

I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

I couldn’t also miss Beastly, which was originally published in 2007. Back then, this novel was highly acclaimed and won many literary awards, and probably it’s one of the most famous Beauty and the Beast retellings, so definitely, check your library, check your charity shops, try to find a copy!

Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta Academy #1) – Sandhya Menon

Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?

His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending. 

This is another original retelling, as this is actually a contemporary spin on The Beauty and the Beast with a great diversity representation, which weirdly takes place in an elite international boarding school. If you want to read something that takes place in a modern era, you should keep this in your TBR.

Bookish and The Beast (Once Upon a Con #3) – Ashley Poston

Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.

On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.

When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.

But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.

Once Upon a Con is another series that falls into my category of “one day, I will…”. I am so curious about this series, and more curious to read the third book which brings The Beauty and The Beast into the Starfield universe.

Which book are you most curious to read?

What is your favourite retelling of The Beauty and the Beast?

Let’s discuss in the comments section and let me know if you have any recommendations.

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