Of Beast and Beauty
By Stacey Jay
Isra, the blind princess of the domed city of the Smooth Skins, Yuan, led a protected life sequestered in a tower. She found a way to escape and explore the gardens. The roses there, when she allowed the thorns to prick her fingers, gave her some sight for a while. It was to these magical roses that Isra was destined to be sacrificed in order to keep Yuan prosperous and functioning normally.
Gem lived in a tribe of the Banished people, the Monstrous, who were the inhabitants of the world outside of the domed cities. The Monstrous had been separated from the Smooth Skins because the Monstrous developed scales on their skin.. The lands of the Monstrous were barren, and they were starving to death. Gem made his way into the dome to steal some of the magical roses, in the hope that their magic would benefit his people. He was captured and imprisoned. Isra befriended him after mutual distrust and doubt.
As their friendship grew, they discovered that conditions of the city as well as of outside the dome had been kept from Isra. Together, they struggled to save the Monstrous from starvation and also all of the people of the planet from the fearful secret concealed by the roses.
Of Beast and Beauty is a fantasy, a romance, a new world view. Several of the characters, including Isra and Gem, tell the story from their own points of view. Of Beast and Beauty is suggested for ages 14 and up, which is probably a reasonable estimate, even though younger children may also enjoy it. As an adult I certainly was captivated by the ideas of the domed cities and the adaptations of the humans to the planet. The pace was enjoyable. The characters were believable. I plan to read more of Stacey Jay’s novels, and I am keeping this one on my bookshelf.
I was given a copy of the book by the publisher for an honest review as a representative of SpeculativeVision.com.
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