Beauty and the Werewolf
By Mercedes Lackey
Published 2011, LUNA
Hardback, 329 pages
The eldest daughter is often doomed in fairy tales. But Bella— Isabella Beauchamps, daughter of a wealthy merchant—vows to escape the usual pitfalls. Anxious to avoid the Traditional path, Bella dons a red cloak and ventures into the forbidden forest to consult with "Granny," the local wisewoman.I have enjoyed every book in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series by Mercedes Lackey, and I eagerly waited for her to cover my favorite fairy tale, that of Beauty and the Beast. This book combines my favorite fairy tale with Little Red Riding Hood and a dash of Cinderella, all with its own unique twist characteristic of the series. While I had the ending predicted quite early in my reading, I still enjoyed following the character development and watching it all play out.
But on the way home she's attacked by a wolf—who turns out to be a cursed nobleman! Secluded in his castle, Bella is torn between her family and this strange man who creates marvelous inventions and makes her laugh—when he isn't howling at the moon.
Breaking spells is never easy. But a determined beauty, a wizard (after all, he's only an occasional werewolf) and a little godmotherly interference might just be able to bring about a happy ending.…
Bella is very much the modernized damsel in distress, as she finds a way to do her own saving, and chooses who she would rather fall in love with, rather than let the Tradition dictate her actions. As she learns about the manipulations of the Tradition, she also realizes her own way of unconsciously dealing with it and the power she has over it. I loved her intelligence and creativity in solving the daily problems that riddled her life, especially with the invisible servants at the Duke's residence.
Duke Sebastian is an interesting character -- a wizard werewolf with hermit-like habits -- he is the direct opposite of the type of character I expected to play the role of "Beast" in this fairy tale, but I like him all the same. His devotion to his craft makes him absentminded about everything else in his life, and except for when he is a werewolf, he likely would not hurt a fly. Bella's interactions with him draw him out and show him that he can have so much more in his life.
I also enjoyed Godmother Elena's part in the book, along with her mirror servant, as they cemented this book into the series and reminded me of some of the details that I had forgotten from previous books.
The Cover: I like the cover, but it has one major error -- the main character Bella is actually a blonde.
First Line: "The door opened, spilling out light and heat and laughter and a snatch of music into the darkened street."
This is beautiful imagery to open with, beginning the book on a lighthearted note.
Favorite Quote: "I must say, though, this may be the first time in history when the Royal gift to the bride and groom is going to include the Royal crest on a big leather collar, a leash and fleabane --"
Read For: Just for Fun Challenge, Finishing the Series Challenge