Mandolin's Reviews > Beauty and the Werewolf

Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey
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Nov 07, 2011

it was amazing
Read from November 07 to 09, 2011

Though she's unaware of it, Bella Beauchamps' entire life has been guided by a Traditional Force that rules the lives of the inhabitants of the Five Hundred Kingdoms. It's cast her into the role of stepdaughter and sister to two flighty stepsisters. Luckily for her, Bella has a logical head on her shoulders and has proudly used her situation to good rather than allowing the Tradition to lead her - and her family - down an unhappy path. Until now, that is. After a visit into the forest to visit the village Granny, Bella is attacked by a werewolf and later finds herself prisoner at his castle until she proves that she, too, will not be changing at every new moon. Angry at her situation and at the King and Godmother that have allowed it to happen, she initially responds like a spoiled child and completely ignores the fact that her host, Duke Sebastian, has suffered the isolation for the years in which he's been under his terrible curse. When she finally looks beyond herself, though, she learns to appreciate Sebastian as well as his burly Gamekeeper and bastard half-brother Eric. As she does, she recognizes skills she never knew she had, including an interesting knack for handling invisible servants and for brewing potions. She might even have a touch of magical ability, too! As the days slowly pass, she, Sebastian and Eric form an unlikely bond as they search for clues to breaking the curse and freeing Sebastian to live a normal life once again. Will they succeed or will the evil force that created Sebastian's beastly alter ego destroy them all completely?

This was certainly one of the better Five Hundred Kingdoms novels, though I wouldn't suggest it for an introduction, as the author assumes a knowledge about the basic principles of the series including Godmothers and the Tradition. I loved the fact that the "villain" introduced at the beginning of the story transforms into a most likable character and found myself torn between him and Sebastian as choices for winning Bella's heart. In essence, that's an example of why this book is so good. The character development is first rate and the reader can easily become absorbed with their situations and relate to their actions. Too, I liked that the romantic sub-plot of the book was just that: a sub-plot. Lackey focuses much more on Bella's character and her internal battle against not only the Tradition but also against her own selfish nature. She's a self-aware, intelligent heroine that I admired very much. All in all, a superb read. Not that I expected anything less from Mercedes Lackey!

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