So, I wanted to love this book. When I finished it, I did love this book, in fact. But the more I thought about it after I finished, the more iffy I got about it. (Maybe this is a sign of a good book, though. I was thinking about it after I finished it, so that should count for something?)
First, the plot borrowed heavily from Beauty & the Beast. (Not necessarily the Disney franchise, btw.) There were times it was distracting because of this. I kept making little checkmarks on my "Was this in Beauty & the Beast" list. I don't mind stories having similar plots to old favorites, so it wasn't a huge problem, but I feel like people should be aware of this upfront.
Second, there's a scene midway that breaks the book into halves, and it seems like during that scene, the author sort of switched courses a bit. The second half of the book felt like a completely different book altogether. It wasn't necessarily a bad course correction, but it felt a little abrupt and jarring.
Toward the end of the book, it honestly felt a bit like she was up against a deadline and had to get it done. (I'm assuming this is because it's a series, and she needed a break point.) And the ending left me with more than a few questions which I'm hoping are going to be answered in the next books.
Also, the character development was a little dicey at times. Authors sometimes forget we're not in their heads, so we do need a little exposition or explanation. Overall, though, I enjoyed the characters a lot. I felt like it was a new, fresh take on an old story, and the characters were endearing for the most part.
All in all, this book was a solid, fun read. The author is good at "showing not telling," and that goes a long way to making a good read, I think. (She's a storyteller who writes well, and that's a rare commodity. I'm a huge fan of folks who tell stories instead of writers who are writing, if that makes sense.)
I'm definitely not mad I spent time on it like I have been with other books. (Those reviews are coming, I swear!) I plan on reading the next novel in the series, and provided it's at least as good as this one, I'll likely read the last of this trilogy.
So, have you read this book/series? What were your thoughts?
Note: apparently reworking classic fairy tales is kind of this author's thing. Good to know.