{ARC} Book Review: Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen

January 18, 2016 Review 0 ★★★

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

{ARC} Book Review: Beastkeeper by Cat HellisenBeastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
Series: Standalone
Published by Henry Holt and Company on 2015 February 3
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 208
Format: E-book {ARC}
Source: Netgalley
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three-stars

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.

Until now, I am still making up my mind whether to categorize this one as average or good.  On one hand, Hellisen was able to weave a fresh and fast-paced tale that hooked me from start to finish.  It’s certainly an invigorating retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  It has that appeal that most of our beloved fairy tales have.  And I appreciate that there was a reversal of roles between our protagonists. On the other hand, everything felt half-baked. The story and its length, the characters, the mythos, everything.

Beastkeeper was so fast-paced that it forgot to flesh out our bunch of characters.  I managed to like Sarah but I wish I could say the same thing for her parents, grandparents, and of course, Alan.  I hoped that there were more interactions between Sarah and the rest of her family or of Sarah and Alan so the struggles that they have to go through felt more heart wrenching and believable.   I really want to feel more for them but the author didn’t give me that chance.

There was also the plot that had the potential to be really interesting but became a mess at the end. The curse placed upon Sarah’s family was intricately layered but its resolution was laughably simplistic.  Not to mention that Freya’s reason for cursing them and for not lifting the curse were so petty that I have had a hard time taking things seriously.

Sarah’s transformation to beast also took a lot of effort to suspend my disbelief. She’s thirteen and she barely knew Alan but whew, she actually fell in love with him which is ridiculous.  Had Alan returned the love, it would have been really creepy as in pedophilia-creepy because Alan’s probably more than a hundred year old and if I’m going to be really imaginative, I think that he has been inlove with Freya for almost all his life.  And you know, Freya is Sarah’s maternal grandmother.

So what can I say, Beastkeeper had some winning moments but for the most part, it’s just another gem that failed to shine.

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