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Of Thorns and Beauty

Summary

"You think you know the tale as old as time, but you’ve already got it wrong. There never was a beauty and a beast, only a girl who was both. And that girl was me." Zaina will never be free. She's forced into an arranged marriage to a Viking King in a castle full of secrets. But she carries secrets of her own, and the scars of her haunted past. Handed off from one monster…

Review

I received a review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

I’ve read a few fairytale retellings in my time, especially when it comes to Beauty and the Beast, and I think this is quite possibly my favorite so far. While there are enough nods to the original tale, the authors truly make this book their own and it varies enough to ensure this new tale is exciting, brand-new, and most importantly — unpredictable, regardless of its borrowed roots.

There is a blend of cultures in the book, both of which are fascinating and really help to build the characters and world, making it easy for the reader to become completely immersed. I also loved that the further you read, the more you realise that the book is carefully crafted with layer upon layer of intrigue that is linked together more than you first know. The way everything melds together towards the end of the book is expertly done, and I honestly didn’t see one of the major plot points coming.

I finished the book in one sitting and will definitely be looking to read the sequel. On that note, the book does end on a cliffhanger, though the authors’ note at the end of the book explains this was because the novel was supposed to originally be a stand-alone, then it was so long it had to be split into different volumes. I never mind cliff hangers in general, but I would have liked to see some small resolution at least, like at least a thread or two that had been tied up so you get a little closure alongside the cliff hanger.

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