This is actually the second book I’ve read this year that is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. This one is only okay. I liked the concept but I’m only meh on the result. Arcadia was once ruled by a line of wise Kings until about 900 years ago when the King died and the Prince was overtaken by the Gentle Lord, aka the Prince of Demons. The Gentle Lord cuts off Arcadia from the world, covering the sky and granting citizen’s bargains that never go as they hope. Nyx’s father was one of those who thought it he could bare the price. He asked for his wife to bear children. The Gentle Lord agreed to help and granted her with twin girls. For payment for granting him his wish, one girl would live happily ever after but the other girl, would have to become his bride on her 17th birthday. If he did not hold up his side of the bargain, the Gentle Lord would kill both girls. Nyx’s father, who is the leader of a group set out to destroy the Gentle Lord so for 17 years, Nyx has been groomed to a weapon to bring him down. In those years, she has become bitter and full of hatred for her father, her aunt and even her sister who loved her. So Nyx goes to the Gentle Lord’s castle as his wife, with the full intention of destroying him. Two things that Nyx was not prepared for is finding an ally in the Shade, a shadow of the Gentle Lord, and the Gentle Lord himself. For all the monstrous deeds, the Gentle Lord is nothing like she expects. He doesn’t force himself on her nor does he grant her freedom. He gives a choice every night. Guess her name and she will be free. Guess wrong and she will die. As time goes by, Nyx starts to realize that the Gentle Lord is not who everyone thinks he is and like in Beauty and the Beast falls in love with him.
I liked how Nyx isn’t an innocent. She’s angry and doesn’t try to shy away from her dark thoughts. All her life she has wanted to be loved. For someone to tell her that she doesn’t have to do what is planned. That her sacrifice is appreciated. To have the love of her father that her sister has. To love her for who she is and surprisingly she finds that in the Gentle Lord. I wanted to root for them as a couple but I never really felt connected with them. The introduction of the Shade was an attempt to create a love triangle into the story but Nyx was never really in love with him and all of their scenes felt forced. (Note to YA authors: not all books need a love triangle.)
I really wanted to like this book. It’s not that I didn’t like it but it wasn’t as great as I hoped and so I was disappointed. I guess not all books can be great.