Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey
ORDER A COPY: Beauty and the Werewolf (Five Hundred Kingdoms)
Publishing Date: October 18, 2011
Hardcover: 329 pages
Rating: 3 stars
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 wise woman. 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…
Fairytales with a new spin.
Beauty and the Werewolf is the 6th book in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series.
This is a fractured fairy tale. The story is about Isabella (Bella) Beauchamps who lives with her father, stepmother and two stepsisters. She goes off one afternoon to visit and bring a basket of treats to Granny, the local old woman who sells potions and gives advise. Along the way she meets up the Woodsman, Eric, and on her way home after dark is attacked by the wolf or in the case werewolf. Starting to sound familiar??
After Bella is bitten by the werewolf, she is sent by the King and local Fairy Godmother to stay with Duke Sebastian, who is a scholarly and shy sorcerer, and who is cursed to change into a werewolf during the full moon. The King determines that she needs to stay secluded with him for three months until they can determine if she will also start to turn at the full moon.
While Bella assists Sebastian in his spells, as he tries to break the curse, she talks to her Fairy Godmother through her magic mirror, and she learns that everyone in the City is pushed by The Tradition which is an underlying force that tries to fit everyone into a fairytale storyline.
This is an interesting spin on the usual fairytales that we all know and love. I was confused if we were supposed to be following the Little Red Riding Hood story and Eric the Woodsman would save her from the dangerous werewolf; or if we were going with the Beauty and the Beast story of Bella falling for the man trapped as a beast. Since Bella seemed to spend more story time with Eric, than Sebastian, I kept going back and forth with where I thought the story was trying to lead me.
I also think story could have been a little shorter since we spent a good deal of time just following Bella around doing her chores which really didn’t progress the storyline at all.
I found the invisible servants a very clever idea and Bella’s attempt to identify and work with them very entertaining.
Received advance copy from NetGalley, courtesy of Luna. Thank you.
She lurched into a trot, just as the wolf howled again—
She had to fight herself not to run. Right now, running wouldn’t do anything but get her exhausted and make her easier prey. Instead, she dropped the useless basket and scanned the snow on both sides of the road for a fallen branch of manageable size. What she needed was something like a weapon.
The wolf howled again, nearer still. Clearly he had her scent. She couldn’t tell if that was a hunting howl or nor, but it probably was.
Fear overcame sense for a moment and she ran a few steps before she got control of herself again. She had to look strong. A weakened wolf might hesitate to try to take down something that looked able to defend itself.
She spotted a club-sized branch sticking out of the snow and made for it, pulling at the exposed end. It proved to be attached to a bigger branch, but a sharp tug fueled by fear made it yield a bit, and a second, two-handed wrench brought a satisfying crack of wood, and she found herself with a decent, sturdy cudgel.
She trotted onward, but then movement out of the corner of her eye made her freeze.
She looked up at the top of the ridge;
There, black against the moon, was the wolf, looking down at her.
He didn’t look old, or ill. He looked huge, and in good health.
That was not good.