Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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If you’re a beauty-and-the-beast fan —

There’s a brand-new title out this month that sounds really promising.

As it happens, I’m a real sucker for this particular fairy tale. Robin McKinley’s BEAUTY is probably the ultimate comfort read for me, and in fact I even like ROSE DAUGHTER, though not nearly as much as the original BEAUTY.

And the Disney version with the dancing plates? Yep, I like that, too.

And Dunkle’s THE HOLLOW KINGDOM? Even though I really had some issues with a society that depends on, let’s not kid ourselves, kidnapping and rape for its survival — even though this is a thing in this book — I still enjoyed the actual story quite a bit.

And Merrie Haskell’s THE PRINCESS CURSE, with its combination of the Twelve Dancing Princesses with the story of Beauty and the Beast? Yep, loved it. (As it happens, those may be two of my all-time favorite fairy tales.)

So this new novel by Stacey Jay definitely caught my eye.


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.

Doesn’t that sound promising? I know, I know, that sounds like every kind of cliche as far as the structure of the society goes. But even so, what a neat twist on the classic fairy tale!

Goodreads’ initial reviews look good. I think I’m adding this one to my wishlist.

And I think I’m likely to get this one in physical form. Because that cover? Nice.

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2 Comments If you’re a beauty-and-the-beast fan —

  1. Heidi

    Yes, I’m really looking forward to this one! I love Beauty and the Beast as well (despite the problematic themes with the story in general), and I’ve enjoyed Stacey Jay’s previous two books taking on Romeo and Juliet, so I’m really looking forward to this one. I also LOVED The Hollow Kingdom earlier this year, and just finally picked up a copy of Beauty this week when I went on a bargain bin buying spree!

  2. Rachel

    I like Beauty-and-the-Beast a lot more than Romeo and Juliet, so this is definitely the one to start with for me! And I hope you love BEAUTY as much as I did; it’s a lovely story.

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