“*A Paranormal Romance retelling of Beauty and the Beast* Blossom Frane is only weeks away from her transformation. On her eighteenth birthday, she’ll find out her future branch of society and her totem, the animal form she’ll be able to take at will for the rest of her life. Like her brothers, she’s expected to be a brown bear of the religious branch known as Terra. In the Alderwood forests, Blossom’s bear blood is a valuable asset. Any day now, a rival clan leader will step forward and offer her father a hefty bounty in exchange for her hand in marriage. Blossom can do nothing more than sit back and wait to be traded to the highest bidder. Determined to spend her last weeks exploring the Alderwood, Blossom sneaks away and manages to find Kaide Landel, a rising political star of the Pyro branch. Known for his violence and disregard for the religious teachings of the Terra branch, he’s all wrong for the bear clan’s prized daughter. But when the politician uses his wealth and influence to secure her hand, Blossom has no choice but to leave her family and marry him—if she lives that long.” Amazon.com
This is a great fairy tale retelling. I found myself zoning out and ignoring the world outside just so I could find out what was going on in Blossom’s! So let me start from the top. I was given an ARC in exchange for an HONEST review, so here it is.
This is a retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast, which also happens to be my favorite Disney story as well as traditional fairy tale. The author gives nods to both the original telling as well as Disney…(But that’s my opinion! Sure she didn’t do anything that Disney will attack for!) The world in which Blossom lives is divided up into clans: Terra, Pyro, Aero, and Hydra. Each clan adheres to a strict code and contributes to the overall well being of society….(sounds Dystopian to me 😉 ) Upon a person’s 18th birthday they attend a special ceremony to determine what their “totem” is. Blossom’s family is sure she’ll be a bear, which from what I gather is pretty elite, especially a female bear. This brings offers of marriage to her family even before she’s of age. While her father promises to protect her and not marry her off too soon, plans change when a very powerful man spots her in the woods.
Kaide is the Pyro Vice Syndicate, which makes him the 2nd most powerful person in his branch of the government, and he seems to be the heir apparent to the Syndicate seat when the old one retires. He sees Blossom and goes against everything he knows to bargain for her as his bride. Leaving her family pretty much no choice, he wins Blossom and takes her away from everything she knows. Now the girl from the quaint Alderwood finds herself in a dangerous city in a viper’s nest of corruption and greed.
This is Book 1 in the Alder Tales series, and I’m glad to know there are more on the way. I can’t wait to see how this whole tale plays out. The majority of this story is about Blossom growing up and learning to navigate the role of wife of a powerful political player. It also goes into a bit of Kaide’s back story and shows how he came to be so ruthless and cold. At first I didn’t think I would like him at all, but that’s the charm of Beauty and the Beast really, the Beast becomes lovable in the end.
I’m definitely giving this “Beauty” a 5 out of 5 Stars! I would be okay with any teens in my life reading it, as it’s fairly clean. Probably upper teens, though. I would also call it Paranormal and Dystopian, because the world in which these characters reside resembles a bit of the world Divergent calls home. The writing is good on so many levels! Technically it’s amazing (and that’s not even putting into account that it was an ARC with a few flaws to be fixed), and the characters were so real I could imaging Blossom climbing trees in my backyard! Can’t wait to read Book 2!