January 13, 2015

Review: At One's Beast by Rachel Barnard

Release Date: July 24th, 2014
Rating: 2.5 Stars

Received copy from author in exchange for an honest review.

Every girl and boy in the village of Frey fears the beast who lives in the forest. Ten years ago, the beast was formed from the town’s rage — and the evil that lurks inside all people in moments of weakness. Every year since, the townspeople have sacrificed one of their own to appease his anger. This year the sacrifice does not go as planned. A young man saves the chosen girl from fate. She is torn between doing her duty and untangling the identity of her savior and captor. The young man grew up with thoughts of revenge on the town that turned their backs on him, but when he is close to the girl, he is reminded of who he used to be. From once upon a time to happily ever after, the people of Frey will have to rally together to rid the town of evil once and for all, but in the process will they destroy everything that is good in their world?

***I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.***

The cover artwork and blurb definitely intrigued me. The opening scene of the book actually revolves around the mysterious well in the cover, which was cool. That's kind of where it ended for me.

As I settled down to read the story, I began to notice extreme similarities between this dark fantasy and the traditional fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast. That’s not a bad thing! I do enjoy fresh takes on old tales. Unfortunately, At One's Beast failed to deliver the extra spark needed to bring uniqueness to the story.

Here are some examples of what I mean. Beware. If you are planning on reading this book, there are spoilers ahead.

* There is a Beast living in the woods.

* There are jackals living in the woods.

* A jackal attacks Belle, or Alcina as she is called in the story.

BeastZos saves Alcina from said jackal.

*Zos holds Alcina hostage cause he can’t tell if she’s dangerous or not.

* Zos and Alcina become friends.

Gaston, or Aethon as he is called, comes to save Alcina and slay Zos.

* Alcina & Zos fall in love and Zos’ beastliness disappears.

Overall, I think the story needs a little more work. There were times when I felt very confused. Examples include:

The well on the cover. There was no explanation on why it was so mysterious nor how it became so evil.

The jackals! They have a huge presence in the novel, yet there is no explanation as to why they are so important.

Lastly, there is a scene toward the end where Zos protects the jackal mother and her jackal pup from the humans, but then all of a sudden the jackal mother is attacking a different set of humans and Zos is now fighting it to the death.

I definitely think that children would enjoy this more than teens or adults. The story was very fast paced and a younger child maybe wouldn't realize all the plotholes in the story or parts that were never fully explained.

As always, Happy Reading!

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