**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-book of this book in exchange for an honest review.**
Title A Curse of Thorns
Author Nicole Mainardi
Description from Amazon
In order to repay her father’s debt to the Regime and save her sisters from a terrible fate, Belle Fairfax—an eighteen-year-old girl with a love for forbidden books and the thrill of the hunt—must risk everything to find the reclusive Beast and steal the ring that cursed him.
But the Beast is not what she expects.
A young king cursed by a witch and forgotten by his village, all Bastian wants is to win the heart of the forest girl with the silver scars. But he’s a hideous Beast that abandoned his people for the sake of vanity, and he knows it won’t be easy to earn her affection.
But there’s more to the girl than he thought.
Belle only has one purpose once she makes it to the Beast’s castle: find the ring, take it, and leave the Beast to rot. But as she comes to know about the Beast, she realizes that she has more to fight for than just her family. Bastian knows he’s left his people in the hands of the corrupt Regime, and the guilt of their suffering gnaws at him. The more time he spends with Belle, though, the less he hates what he’s become.
With Briar on the brink of falling completely under the control of the Regime, Belle and Bastian find that, together, they may be the key to freeing their home from the reaching grasp of the tyrannical Emperor.
I was super excited to have been chosen for this review tour by Read and Review Book Tours. Since I am new to the bookish community, I am eager to meet new book lovers and connect with authors. Being chosen allowed me to chat directly with Nicole Mainardi via email (and that was so exciting!). Anyway, this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and I absolutely love fairy tale retellings. Needless to say, this story sounded amazing.
Although I have this as an e-book, and shelf appeal doesn’t really apply here, I really like the cover. Classic imagery that comes to mind when I think of Beauty and the Beast includes the Beast’s castle, books, roses, teapots, candelabras, etc.. I loved that this cover strays from the conventional. Rose petals (instead of roses), the castle in the background, and, most importantly, Belle featuring her silver scars. The cover immediately evokes the feeling of Beauty and the Beast without being cliché.
I can’t express in words how much I loved the setting of this story. Unlike the original story, this telling of Beauty and the Beast is set in a version of the real world. I really enjoyed the references to Pride and Prejudice, Hamlet, and France in general. It grounded the story in a way that I found incredibly refreshing.
Additonally, I thought the introduction of the Regime was a great plot element. It is something that can transcend this book and continue into more books in a series.
I am a huge fan of historical fiction and the Regime gave me World War I/World War II Germany feels. Not sure if that was specifically the author’s intention, but I loved the dystopian/historical fiction vibe that it created.
I loved all of the references to other fairy tales in this story. I think Nicole Mainardi has set up a fantastic setting that could easily be spun into other stories. I would read any other stories she writes that are set in this world.
I loved this book! I read it all in one sitting (always a good sign). I think this series has so much potential and I can’t wait to see what else Nicole Mainardi comes up with. This was a fantastic Beauty and the Beast retelling with elements of so much more sprinkled throughout it.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Recommendtions for Further Reading
- Thief of Cahraman by Lucy Tempest – this is another fairy tale retelling where several tales are spun into one setting. There is a Beauty and the Beast sub plot featured in book 4 of this series.
- Frostblood (and the entire series) by Elly Blake – although the main plots are quite different, both A Curse of Thorns and Frostblood feature a Beauty and the Beast romance theme. Definitely give this series a try if you liked A Curse of Thorns.
- Fawkes by Nadine Brandes – I absoutely love Nadine Brandes’s writing style (for many of the same reasons I fell in love with Nicole Mainardi’s). Fawkes has another Beauty and the Beast vibe to it with a magical/historical fiction backdrop.