Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She’s grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn’t know that it’s magic her parents are running from.
When Sarah’s mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents — people she has never met, didn’t even know were still alive.
Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast…unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever.
First Sentence: The air was full of ice the night that Sarah’s mother packed all her bags and walked out.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Okay. Guilty admission time: I have absolutely no clue what Beastkeeper was about when I requested it – all I knew about it was that it was a fairytale retelling of Beauty and the Beast and that was enough for me to want to read it. I didn’t care that it was a Middle Grade book – a genre that doesn’t get along with me well – nor did I care that I was taking a huge risk since I’ve never bothered to see if other people liked this author’s books. Just the fact that Beastkeeper was a fairytale retelling was enough for me to want to read the book. (If you can’t tell already, fairytale retellings are my one big weakness.)
“Because your mother didn’t run out on your family, and your dad didn’t go crazy, and no one’s making you move, no one’s making you leave and go to strangers – family you’ve never met. It’s not fair.” (ARC 39)
I was full of anticipation when I first started Beastkeeper, only to grow slowly bored by it. Beastkeeper starts off when Sarah’s mother leaves and five chapters (aka about forty-four pages later) later, the book is still focused on the aftermath of Sarah’s mother leaving. I personally feel that that forty-four pages was a little too long to spend all that time about Sarah’s past before she learns about the curse. Please note, my ARC of Beastkeeper is only 200 pages long.
Things slowly picked up when we readers discover how the curse started and how it works. From then on, everything moved in a semi-fast pace, which was a relief after the very slow first half of the book. There were some confusing things happening that took awhile for me to register in my mind, but overall, the last part of Beastkeeper was a quick read.
“What,” Sarah said, very slowly, “is going on? Tell me now and tell me everything…Or I will wring this scrawny neck of yours, you see if I don’t.” (ARC 80)
The “romance” in Beastkeeper – if you can even call it that – was cringe-worthy. Yes, I know that Beastkeeper is a middle grade book which doesn’t tend to focus on the romance and yes, I’m well aware that Sarah is thirteen, but that didn’t make the romance any less cringe-worthy to read. Basically, Sarah meets a guy, talks to him a couple of times, and falls in “love” with him without realizing it. There was no chemistry, no hint that Sarah was seeing him other than a father-like figure, nothing, not to mention that the guy she “loves” is also a jerk. The romance is basically cringe-worthy all around.
Overall, Beastkeeper was a decent Beauty and the Beast retelling, but it was certainly not the best one out there when you compare it to ones like Beastkeeper. I don’t know if I’ll recommend Beastkeeper, but after some thinking, I’m sadly leaning towards no.