Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: The Subtle Beauty by Ann Hunter

ISBN: 9780989203425
Published: January 2nd, 2014
Publisher: Afterglow Productions
Read from February 22nd to March 2nd, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A cursed prince. A vain beauty. Glory is the seventh daughter of Balthazar, High King of the Twelve Kingdoms. Glory hopes that - of all her sisters - she can escape the fate of a loveless marriage. But on the night she plans to elope with the royal falconer, her world comes crashing down: Her father announces Glory's betrothal to Eoghan of the Blood Realm - a prince no one has ever seen. The prince is said to be a recluse, cursed and deformed by the gods for the sins of his power-hungry father. Yet when Glory is trapped in Blackthorn Keep she discovers that not everything is what she expected. An insulting gryphon, a persistent ghost, and a secret plan to usurp the prince keep Glory reeling. Can she overcome her vanity to learn that what you want isn’t necessarily what you need—and save the cursed prince?


I went into this book not really knowing what to expect but being intrigued by the idea of a book that involved Celtic elements. It wasn't until later that I realized that the book is basically a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I absolutely love Beauty and the Beast, so I really wish I had enjoyed this book more. I honestly can't say I was a fan though.

It started off on a not so great note for me with the prologue. This book is pretty short with ten chapters plus a prologue. The prologue takes up a much larger chunk of the book than the any prologue should ever take. I felt like I was at least a fourth of the way through the book before we even met the main characters. I know that the author wanted to reveal the backstory, but there were so many better ways to do it. With the length of the prologue in comparison to the book, it might as well have been a book on its own. As it was, I was really confused because of how long it was taking to get through the prologue, and I had no idea when I was going to get to the actual story. It makes matters worse that the prologue jumps around a fair bit and just tries to cover way to much into it than any prologue should have. I honestly think it would have been better to keep it as a book one and book two type of thing, but even better would have been breaking up the backstory and using it in the story.

The reason I think breaking up the backstory and using it throughout the story would have been helpful is because the actual story itself seemed to brief. It wasn't helping that it's easily compared to its massive prologue, but everything felt too brief. Things went to fast for me to sympathize with the characters, and I didn't feel like I was supposed to be rooting for Glory and Eoghan because I just wasn't given enough time to see why they should be together. It happens too quickly and should have been expanded on. In the same vein, Glory seems to change too suddenly, and it didn't really seem believable to me.

That was my biggest problem with the story. I think I could have enjoyed it a lot if it had been longer and actually expanded on the story. As it was, it had a prologue that was much too long and detailed for a prologue even on a much longer novel, only this one was on a much shorter story. Then the actual story was too brief and unbelievable to really get into. I suppose you could use the argument that it's supposed to be a fairy tale more than anything, and fairy tales are often like that. I don't like that argument though because even fairy tales should be believable. I just wish that there had been more to the story so that I could have actually connected to the characters and enjoyed their journey much more than I did.

I received a copy of this book for free from Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.

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