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Magic is long dead in the Twelve Realms. At least this is what most believed until an innocent young woman becomes the obsession of a man who defies time by stealing the only thing that sustains his life: true beauty.

Princess Caityn is more than a pretty face. Her beauty runs soul deep, and because of this, her life is priceless to the thief. On the eve of her wedding to the high prince, Caityn is attacked. The thief’s powerful dark magic leaves her a wretched hag with an unrecognizable, shriveled soul.

Stories of old. A quest. Willing sacrifice. These are all that can save her, but doubt is a powerful weapon, and the thief knows it well. He will stop at nothing to keep the prince from undoing the curse.

346 pages, Paperback

Published March 20, 2015

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About the author

Rachael Ritchey

12 books112 followers
A Christian, wife, mom, writer, and book designer, Rachael focuses most of her energy on YA fantasy fiction (Check out Chronicles of the Twelve Realms), but you can find her dabbling in science fiction and contemporary genres too.

She has a passion for beautiful books, so book cover and interior design are high on her list of enjoyable hobbies.

She's boring and would rather talk about you and what you're up to any day of the week, but if she had to talk about her own life it would probably include her four kids and husband, homeschooling, graphic design, books, why it's important to live every day with gratitude, and whatever other topic has been on her mind ... usually to do with the topic-du-jour she's researching for her next fiction project!

What to talk? Get in touch! :)

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Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews
Profile Image for J. A..
Author 2 books31 followers
March 15, 2015
The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey took me someplace new from the very first page. Her world, the Twelve Realms, possessed a mysterious feel to it that left me wanting more, not because Ritchey left anything out, but because I rarely see these places described with such intimacy.

I felt enthralled by this new world and the colorful characters found within. The Beauty Thief (the character) was an amorphous, dark abyss to me, and I believe that made him even more of a captivating villain. Theiander and Idra were two of my favorites and of course Caityn. The journey she goes through in this book is paced well and I love each and every little transformation she goes through. Her and Theiander’s love had a timeless, fantastical feel to it. Caityn and Idra’s interactions were always sharp and witty, full of snappy dialogue, and Ritchey did an excellent job of showing their relationship and changes throughout the story.

I wholeheartedly recommend The Beauty Thief to anyone who enjoys Young Adult, fantasy, fiction, or the chance to be taken to a world outside his or her own. This book gave me a wondrous look into what it means to love and be loved, and what it truly means to be beautiful inside and out.

I think Ritchey told a story that is so very difficult to describe in words. Her dialogue was real and humorous, her vocabulary extensive and witty, and her storytelling succinct and fresh. I greatly enjoyed reading this and taking this journey with these very real, unique characters.

I am looking forward to Book 2 in the series: Captive Hope!
Profile Image for Kelli Sprowls.
79 reviews1 follower
June 30, 2015
I received this book as a giveaway in the First Reads program and must admit how happy I am that I entered. Firstly, I was both excited and nervous when I saw that it was "book one" in the Chronicles of the Twelve Realms, just because sometimes first books in a series don't stand well on their own or don't finish a story because they're just setting up the rest of the series. I'm very happy that this was a good exception because it BOTH told a complete story with a finish, and introduced us to the world and characters we may encounter later. Also, it made me glad because I really, really want to read more in this series. There are a few stylistic choices that the author makes that I could live without, mainly dealing with an overuse (in my opinion) of superlatives when characters see an old friend or family member and there is a great bear hug, or running into each others arms, or looking at each other with love and joy and pride. I understand that this may be a conscious choice by the author because the inner beauty of one of the main characters has been stolen, to help show what she has lost, but it seemed a bit too much to me personally, although not so much as to detract from the story or my enjoyment of it.
The story itself was pretty good, and I found myself wanting to just keep reading and not wanting to put the book down until I was done. The characters are well-written and fleshed out enough that I cared what happened with all of them, not just the main characters. I want to see them again and find out who gets their own story next, and how their stories progress. All in all, I am very satisfied after reading this book and I also want more. I can hardly wait for book 2.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Rawls.
Author 10 books69 followers
May 10, 2015
I give 4/4.5 stars out of 5

This is a lovely book and an enjoyable read. A new fairytale classic. It begins a little slow, depending on what you consider slow (everyone is different) and peaceful, where everything seems wonderful and a dream come true for Princess Caityn. But the peace doesn’t last long. The Princess is attacked one fateful evening, as the person known as the Beauty Thief steals away what is most precious to her: her inner beauty. And since that moment, she becomes an empty shell of a person who can barely grasp emotions or what it means to feel anymore. The race is on as her Prince and friends work to get back what was stolen and make her whole once more, before it is too late. The clock is ticking, and the Beauty Thief is nowhere to be found. Can they save Caityn’s life and restore her lost heart, her inner beauty, or is she doomed to remain this pitiful existence that knows only anger and bitterness? What perils must they face on this quest, and can they survive it? You’ll have to read it to find out! :)

The writing isn’t always perfect, but the story makes it a worthwhile read, in my opinion.

Story contains: There is sword fighting, creepy thieves, a dangerous quest, castles and extensive kingdoms inside this book and its world known as The Twelve Realms. We get a glimpse of these Realms, but there is so much more yet to lear; I hear that the sequel and following books will show us more, and delve further into these other lands. I am looking forward to that!

Characters: The villain, named The Beauty Thief, is a villain to match any of the classic fairytales’ villains with his cunning, greed and evil. The Prince, however, is more than charming; he is a strong male role model, and a person like you or me with genuine feelings and emotions; his love for Caityn drives him to the ends of the Realms to try and save her. Caityn is an interesting character to follow throughout the story as she goes from being sweet, loving and kind to bitter, harsh and unable to understand others’ feelings. She often wonders why people care about her, and thinks they are idiots for caring. Overall, I enjoyed the different characters and how they interacted.

Plot: I really liked the concept of the Beauty Thief and the lesson within its plot. It speaks of inner beauty being the most important beauty, for without it we are like empty shells and unable to understand love.

I recommend this book to all who read fairytales, and stories with princesses, genuine love, and the battles between good vs evil.

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for J.F..
Author 11 books109 followers
July 16, 2019
Want a story that shares the true meaning of beauty? Look no further.

Princess Caityn is beautiful--inside and out. Unfortunately for her, there is a being, a beauty thief, that has his sights set on her. Her depth of beauty will sustain his life for many more years to come.

The thief succeeds in capturing her beauty in an amulet, leaving her ugly and heartless. But her betrothed, high prince of the realm, made her a promise he won't break. He intends to keep his promises to her and will stop at nothing to ensure her safety and see her beauty restored.

The Beauty Thief is reminiscent of a fairy tale with a beautiful princess, a curse, and a loyal prince who loves her and is willing to sacrifice for her. And, like many fairy tales, the good people are nice and the bad people are mean...it's pretty black and white. While not true to life, the story makes a point.

If you enjoy fairy tales and want a story that captures the true essence of beauty in a fun, unique way, be sure to read The Beauty Thief.
Profile Image for Claire Banschbach.
Author 7 books179 followers
December 24, 2015
This was a really intriguing story with a fairy tale feeling. The characters were all interesting and had different personalities.

I liked the plot. It was very original and refreshing. It moved along very quickly and had several twists. Best suited I think for younger girls, but still enjoyable as an adult.

Recommended for anyone who likes adventure, romance, and fairy tale stories. :)
Profile Image for Adrienne.
159 reviews25 followers
October 9, 2017
Review also available on my blog The Shameful Narcissist Speaks.

I really wanted to like this. It had characters in royal/leadership positions who were actually decent people. The main character Princess Caityn and her brother Prince Adair were raised with the philosophy that though they were royal, their duty was to serve their country, and though the people of the kingdom might be their subjects, they would never be subjected to corrupt rule. Caityn often visits and comforts widows in addition to reading or teaching lessons at the orphanage, and her boisterous brother Adair was once punished for playing a prank on his sister by having to work "scullery in the kitchen for a week." This was an excellent way to show that the king and queen not only raised their children to show compassion towards the needy, but they didn't hold with the elitist idea that they couldn't perform "common work." Nor is this attitude unique to the royals of one kingdom. When Caityn's fiance Prince Theiander arrives for their nuptials, his mother chastises his sister the Princess Eliya for treating a groom unkindly, especially considering he was doing not only his job, but the job of another man who'd recently fallen ill.

So this book had a lot of potential to show kings, queens, princes, and princesses in a refreshingly progressive way (as progressive as hereditary monarchies can be I suppose), but I started to become skeptical at the introduction of Princess Eliya. To put it plainly, she acted like a total bitch not only to that groom (which her mother corrected her on), but most definitely to her soon-to-be sister-in-law Caityn.

“Fine. But I don’t know you, and I don’t particularly care to get to know you. I have plenty of friends and don’t need another one. I’m only willing to try for Theiandar.”

What the actual fuck? Now, granted there's a potential plot reason behind her behavior, but it so blatantly put her into the camp of antagonist that the driving force of the plot became extremely predictable. This isn't really all that egregious since it's obvious from the title that something is going to happen with Princess Caityn's beauty, and I did like how that wasn't the only thing that was stolen.

The main reason I declared this DNF was due to the conflict being washed out by the constant exposition. Everyone's feelings and state of mind are shown over and over again, and this was especially true for Adair after the story's catalyst. He's constantly thinking and saying how despite Caityn's predicament he loves her anyway, which is great, but it doesn't need to be repeated ad nauseum. Caityn is guilty of this, as well, with the inner workings of her mind being on constant display. There's no surprise, no divining what the characters are thinking from their actions, and the over exposition really stalled the flow of the story.

What was odd was the beginning didn't suffer from this at all. The examples from Caityn and Adair's past did a great job revealing how they were raised from their conversation. It seemed natural that siblings who hadn't seen each other for a while would reminisce about their shared childhood. It was also clear that Theiandar would fit in perfectly with this family upon his introduction, and the book really had the potential to be a sweet, fairy tale like adage about beauty's truth.

The only X factor I can think of that lowered the quality is the conflict itself. All of the above showed a well working family unit ready and willing to welcome another kindred spirit into their ken, but I think the author had trouble incorporating a contrarian cog into their midst, and then when the main character became an even more contrarian cog, the clash was too much.

Add to this that the book has a Christian lean to it, and it further explains why I had issues getting through it. I'm obviously not against Christian Fiction/Fantasy, but I lump it with urban fantasy i.e. it's really hard for it to hold my interest. That seems anathema since it's common knowledge how much I love religious symbolism, but that's the thing. I love religious symbolism. I don't like when the motifs are overly blatant, especially if it's overly blatant and the most common religion. Christianity is already deeply woven into the public sphere. Its major holidays are celebrated on a federal level, and even people who aren't a part of it know about it, because it's impossible not to.

So when a book is too heavy handed with it, I tend to lose interest quickly, unless it's symbolic. I loved Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet A Wrinkle in Time which has a number of religious allusions in addition to promoting the author's love of science (the latter which is possibly a big point in its favor), and C. S. Lewe's The Chronicles of Narniais a straight up religious allegory with a lion Jesus and the last novel a YA re-imagining of the Book of Revelations. Nor do I really need to mention my beloved Final Fantasy VII (though obviously I am), which is another religious allegory that symbolically utilizes all of the 7 Seals and Four Horseman in addition to a myriad other things. It's not really so much a matter of a book being Christian Fantasy, it's more about the story using the symbolism in a way that's not trite.

I'm not going to judge The Beauty Thief on the religious aspect since that's more of a personal preference (in the same vein as my view on FPS games), but I will rate it based on the tell vs. show logistic, which is the main reason I decided to put it aside.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Jaye Marie.
Author 18 books56 followers
January 25, 2019
It was the amazing cover, created by the author herself, that compelled me to read The Beauty Thief, a modern, yet classical fairy-tale with a nasty twist.
This is the authors first novel and intelligently written. It soon grabbed me by the back of my neck as the tension develops.
Although it has a typical beginning for a fairy tale, a handsome prince and princess, the story builds into a fascinating yet disturbingly dark world.
Such is the quality of the writing and the spell cast by the characters, I knew I was in for one hell of a ride. All of the characters come alive with complex emotions, wit, and charm, especially Caityn, the main character. She handles her sad fate with such dignity.
This story ends with a great cliff-hanger, reminding us that there will be more to come.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Beauty Thief and look forward to the next book in the series.

Profile Image for Lizzy Baldwin.
216 reviews10 followers
May 10, 2021
I must admit from the very first page I felt a sense of warmth rise from the pages of this book, it has a real sense of wit and humour created mainly through the beautiful understanding and creation of Caityns character. She’s blunt, honest, witty and a genuinely true character. This is brilliantly contrasted with the turnaround of Caityn’s character after the change; she has an empty soul and the author devises this wonderfully, it feels bare and naked and you can’t help but feel for the main character. The book hangs on this and therefore it is incredibly important that this distinction comes across with skill and understanding. I think what was additionally really well done was that Caityn doesn’t take on the weak or feeble female character profile but instead she still feels real and you can see the true Caityn despite her changing. I really think that Ritchey made this come forward and take centre stage and that takes real ability and dexterity. In terms of writing the book is told in third person past tense and does come from a number of different character perspectives and although the majority of the story comes from Caityn and Theiander there are a number of minor secondary characters who push through and take their place especially a number of the villains.

What was additionally really carefully built up was the idea of the fictional world and the twelve realms with each known for a different landscape, family or export. It really helps to sink the world into a slot of reality and makes it feel genuine. It’s difficult sometimes with fantasy to get the balance between the two, magical and wonderful but additionally genuine and authentic. The language and the use of bows and arrow against swords and shields really helps to enforce the fantastical genre feel without it feeling to forced and to obvious; it’s a real skill and one that should really be emphasised in this review. The colourful land and the exciting characters kept me enthralled throughout. The dialogue is snappy and witty with colourful exciting language full of quips and comedic anecdotes. In contrast The Beauty Thief is dark and nebulous it’s definitely a thought through concept.

So would I recommend this? Yes, yes, yes. If you love YA fantasy fiction you need to pop this on your TBR straight away. If, like me, you’re not quite as much of a true fan of the genre I think this is a great breakthrough fantasy fiction read. It really made me sit up and think and the beauty thief concept, although I haven’t delved into it too much in the review because I want you to explore it for yourself, I think is really original and in the YA fantasy fiction world that isn’t all to easy to find. I honestly can’t wait to see what this author writes next!

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Dan Absalonson.
Author 37 books31 followers
May 13, 2016
This was a beautiful fairy tale. It was really fun to sink into a world of princes and kings and castles and princesses. I think a lot of young readers of fantasy will love this book. The story starts off as a perfect fairy tale but then something goes very wrong.

It was great to go along the journey with the characters as they deal with the horrible crime that happened to the princess having her beauty stolen. The heroes go on a quest to get her beauty back. I thought it was really cool the way the author made the magic work. Her outward physical beauty wasn't the only thing stolen. It affected her inner beauty too. So instead of the traditional character arc where the character starts out with some flaws we start out with an almost perfect princess. She's beautiful on the inside and out. But then her beauty is stolen from her and she not only looks different but becomes a different person entirely. Her loved ones almost don't recognize her not only from the physical change but from the way she speaks and acts. So that part was interesting and great.

I really liked the last part of the book too. It was a fun rescue adventure that took some interesting turns. I really felt for the character who gets put in a really bad position. I'm not going into detail because I don't want to spoil anything.

So if you or your child is looking for an awesome fairy tale with magic, a dark villain with a cool evil lair and magical powers and an awesome rescue quest give this book a try.
Profile Image for Rosie Amber.
Author 0 books118 followers
June 28, 2015
The Beauty Thief is a YA fantasy most suited for young readers of this genre with its fairy tale style storyline and dialogue to fit. Caityn is a Princess of Taisce a Kingdom which is just one of twelve in the realm. At just 18 years old she is about to marry Prince Theiandar when a dark entity steals her beauty. She awakes as an old grey haired, wrinkled hag, her outer beauty has been stolen and her inner beauty too. She is no longer caring, loving and compassionate, instead she is cold, angry and rude.

Determined to get back his love, Theiandar sets out to find the answers to the ancient spell. First from the historic records office and then in a search for a ruby to pierce an amulet. Caityn travels with Theiandar and his constant love helps slowly to restore her outer beauty but he must destroy the amulet to return her inner beauty.

The thief wants Caityn's beauty to give him longevity, in a ritual he will perform at the lunar eclipse. A race is on to find the thief and the components to stop him, and save Caityn.

This is the first book in a series with more adventures with the thief expected.
Profile Image for Aurelia Casey.
Author 5 books44 followers
May 14, 2015
I loved this book. Reading it was like going to the ballet to see Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty. It’s definitely a story I would read to my children, alongside the classic fairy tales (Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, and others).

Caityn is someone I think most of us can relate to. I think we all feel the way she does at some point in our lives. Her struggle to overcome her lack of inner beauty closely mirrored my own struggle to find meaning in my own life.

Thieander is a classic honorable, chivalrous prince. He is passionate about serving his country and keeping his promises to Caityn and his family. He is a fully-developed, real prince charming. The kind that could exist, but that so many little girls grow up to believe is merely imaginary.

The Beauty Thief is a wonderful story about what to do when you’ve had a happy childhood, everyone around you loves and supports you, but then something happens that you are entirely unprepared for. Something that only you can remedy, no matter how much your friends and family wish they could fix it for you.
Profile Image for M.J. Mallon.
Author 15 books194 followers
April 11, 2018
I really enjoyed The Beauty Thief. It ticked all the boxes for me - a curse, a fairy tale feel to the narrative and a great villain! I appreciated the reflective, thoughtful aspect to the novel - how beauty is more than skin deep - that there is a beauty within the soul that one can't see but this unique essence makes the person beautiful.

I would say the strongest character was the Beauty Thief himself. He might be diminutive in size but don't let that fool you. He has an ugly soul! My only slight reservation with regards to characterisation is I wanted more! And perhaps less characters - there were so many! I wanted more feels, particularly with regards to the main characters Caityn and Theiandar. I felt that the beginning of the novel the main characters came across as being a bit stereotypical - a bit too good to be true, too nice, too loving. This even extended to the sibling relationships between Caityn and her brother and Theiandar and his sister. Perhaps this was the writer's intention to create a fairy tale beginning with these perfect people and then introduce the shock factor in the form of the evil Beauty Thief. It worked to a degree but I personally would have engaged more with the characters if they had been a little different.

The novel became more engaging and exciting as the narrative progressed. There is a short Epilogue with a quieter pace after the excitement and thrills.

Overall an enjoyable book. I look forward to reading more in the series.
Profile Image for Annemarie.
1,197 reviews18 followers
February 6, 2017
I wanted to like this so very much, but in the end, I just didn't. I started out thinking the story was overly cheesy, but that improved a bit once the plot started moving forward. This felt like a fairy tale and while I do like fairy tales, it was so much rooted in the genre that it all felt so predictable, so obvious. The characters all felt rather shallow, with little to separate them from each other. They all loved the princess a lot. That's all we get. The only character that is different is Simon. Yet he appears and disappear abruptly, having no real purpose other than add a little drama, and his motives are never made clear. Maybe in other books of this series. I will not be picking those up.
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,253 reviews36 followers
June 24, 2017
I was hooked from the very beginning. The Beauty Thief hints at fairytales, but is its own unique creation. Wonderful, suspenseful story.

The times that they were SO CLOSE and still missed the object of their pursuit drove me NUTS! It's good writing, but horrible for the reader.

Caityn is the princess of Taisce and is betrothed to the High Prince Theiander. I liked the little back story and how much they love each other. It's sweet, but not unbelievable like a normal fairytale.

With two days before their wedding, something happens to Caityn - her beauty, outward and inner, is STOLEN!!! What?!?! How do you steal beauty?

There is creepy little man (reminds me of an evil Rumpelstiltskin) who, every couple hundred or thousand years, has to steal the beauty of a maiden to renew his life. Caityn was quite the prize for him.

Well, Theiander and Caityn's family are not going to stand by and do nothing. Thus ensues a quest for information on the Beauty Thief and ultimately, the return of Caityn's beauty. Because her inner beauty was stolen along with her outer beauty, Caityn cannot feel anything. She cannot love, she cannot care about this quest. All she feels is empty. Ritchy does a fantastic job delving into Caityn's lack of emotion because her beauty is gone, as well as the love Theiander possesses for Caityn, even when she may never be the same again.

Theiander's love restores Caityn's outward beauty, but her inner beauty can only be restored by a risky maneuver.

I really liked how love and inner beauty was treated with such importance. This is not your normal "medieval fairytale" type romance/adventure. The discussion of love, feelings, compassion, and self-sacrifice are woven in with a distinctly Christian worldview. The characters seek the help and wisdom of the Most High, but this does not mean that they don't question, fear, doubt, and almost crumble. They are very relatable characters.

REALLY, REALLY enjoyed this book! I'm already well into the second one and it's just as good so far :)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Brittany.
8 reviews
September 18, 2023
I don't typically read anything with romantic elements--but that might change if I keep reading stories like this one. This was such a pleasure to read! It had plenty of action, adventure, suspense, danger, and tension to keep me engaged, and the romantic elements between Caityn and Theian were so beautifully done that I ended up appreciating their relationship so much. Theian was a fantastic character, reminding me of someone like Aragorn from LOTR--powerful, brave, heroic, dedicated, but also gentle and compassionate. My favorite kind of hero. His "brotherhood" with the knights was also fun to read. I have a soft spot for brotherly relationships.

I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves knight-in-shining-armor business, who love to see heroic men risking everything to save the women they love. I personally enjoy stories like that--bring on the heroic men! Young YA readers should be perfectly safe with this one.

I will be grabbing the follow-up books~ I'm more than happy to spend more time with these lovely characters~
Profile Image for Joy E. Rancatore.
Author 5 books106 followers
June 21, 2018
The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey spins the tale of Princess Caityn, a deeply gorgeous young woman both inside and out. Just before her wedding, the princess has both types of beauty stolen from her. Can her prince remember his love for her despite the deep changes? Can they find a way to retrieve the beauty that matters most ... before it's too late?

This YA fantasy book is the first in a trilogy of good, clean, well-told tales of magic and adventure, love and life. I would recommend this to any friends who love to read fantasy, whether they are adults or older teens.
Profile Image for Emily.
560 reviews39 followers
November 7, 2020
The Beauty Thief is a middlegrade and YA fantasy novel that is very much like a fairytale.

The beautiful Princess Caityn is robbed — not of gold or jewel, but of her beauty, both inside and out.

I enjoyed The Beauty Thief very much. One of the first things I remember about it was the writing. It was simple, making it appropriate for younger readers.

The second thing I remember most was the concept of beauty. Caityn had her beauty stolen, but it wasn’t just her external beauty but her internal beauty. She became bitter and selfish, unkind to the friends and family who loved her very much. She was also unwilling to help herself, and so those around her stepped in to get her beauty back and return her to the women they knew. (Even in her unlovely state they loved and sacrificed for her, but they did want to catch the thief.) I really appreciated how the author portrayed beauty. That it wasn’t only a beautiful appearance but a beautiful heart and actions. I’m glad there are authors who portray this so vividly to the teen and preteen girls who might read this.

I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to teen and preteen girls who like fairytale-like stories.

I received a complementary copy of this book. All opinions are my own, and I am not obligated to provide a positive review.
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