Review: Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey

Posted November 11, 2011 by Carmel in / 4 Comments

Beauty and the Werewolf

Title: Beauty and the Werewolf
Series: Five Hundred Kingdoms #6
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Publisher: Luna
Published: October 18, 2011
My Copy: NetGalley

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.

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.

Fantasy used to be my genre of choice before I discovered the Urban offshoot. The werewolf story line and having enjoyed books by Mercedes Lackey in the past were the tipping points for my decision to revisit this type of novel. There’s definitely nothing modern about this tale between the castles, horses and petticoats but that only adds to its charm. This book blends together two classic fairy tales: Little Red Riding Hood & Beauty and the Beast, to create a spellbinding story about two star-crossed lovers. I could have done with more action or fewer pages because I did find that the plot dragged a bit but that point aside; Beauty and the Werewolf is a hopelessly romantic read that’ll have to ooh’ing and aah’ing the whole way through.

The story starts off with a few twists on the classic Little Red Riding Hood tale. Bella is trekking through the woods coming home from granny’s house when she gets attacked by the big bad wolf. His bite is more than just a flesh wound though and she’s quickly carted off to a castle where she’s forced into seclusion for three moons. Queue the cursed prince charming or duke in this case with a household full of magical servants. There’s even a floating rose at one point. I’ve always loved both of these fairy tales so it was a nice walk down memory lane getting to revisit them even if the ending was rather predictable. I deduced who the villain was pretty early on and found it mildly irritating that I had to trudge through 384 pages before the mystery is solved.

The magical side of this book is intriguing. Bella learns that she possess abilities of her own and begins to explore them more in depth. I also enjoyed the concept of the “Traditional path” and how your decisions can drastically alter your future. Picture a huge web of fairy tales that are all interconnected and your choices direct you towards either a happily ever after ending or a life of hardship. It felt a bit like one of those self-directed novels where the reader gets to make decisions except in this case it was the protagonist who’s making them. Once miss Beauchamps is informed of the Tradition she often catches herself on a less than desirable path and takes steps to redirect her fate. Which sounds easier than it actually is. It’s impossible to know all of the fairy tales and if you’re not careful you can end up in one without even realizing it!

Although I did enjoy revisiting these two classic fairy tales; the overall experience left me feeling lukewarm. I felt apathetic towards all of the characters; none of them really stood out to me. They were just… there. The plot runs almost parallel to the original two stories and in my opinion the first versions are better than this rendition. My final thoughts are that Mercedes Lackey could have done a lot more with this book. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t exactly like it either. Beauty and the Werewolf was, for lack of a better word, meh.

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I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada

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4 responses to “Review: Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey

  1. Mercedes Lackey’s covers have always attraced me. I’ve only tried to read this author once, and I only made it about 30 pages before I gave up. However, she was writing with another author, so I don’t know if it was really her writing I didn’t enjoy or not, so I may have to give her another shot.

  2. Oh dear, I’m sorry to hear that this story sort of fizzled. I LOVE Beauty and the Beast retellings so I have kind of high standards in that area. Sounds like this one might be one to get from the library.

  3. @Jennifer@The Book Nympho – It’s different, that’s for sure.

    @Vyki @ On The Shelf – Ooh well, your comment made me feel a little better about my review!

    @Emily – This one’s prolly not going to meet your standards… unfortunately.