5/14/15

Beastkeeper

Author: Cat Hellisen 
Pages: 208 
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She’s grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn't know that it’s magic her parents are running from. 

When Sarah’s mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents—people she has never met, didn't even know were still alive. 

Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast . . . unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever.



My Summary: Sarah is used to strange. Her parents have a habit of moving whenever it gets cold out, and they don't do things the way other parents do. She grows up immersed in storybooks, hoping that one day she'll get to have an epic adventure like the characters in her books.

But when her mother walks out and her life begins to spiral out of control, all Sarah wishes for is for things to return to normal. As she watches her father becoming more beast-like by the day, Sarah can't help but wonder just what kind of secrets her parents have been keeping from her, and if her life has resembled those of her favourite characters all along.

Abandoned by her father at the door to a crumbling castle, Sarah isn't quite ready for what she discovers: her family is cursed, and she is next.

My Thoughts: This book enchanted me from start to finish. I loved every second of this retelling - especially the Gothic atmosphere and the wonderfully complex characters. Sarah herself was amazing, and the plights of the two witches showed just how badly we can corrupt love even with the best intentions.

Hellisen's writing style was perfect for this retelling and read almost like prose. It flowed perfectly and was simple yet powerful. She's found a fan in me, and I'm hoping for more incredible novels from this incredibly talented writer. Not only is this a fairy-tale retelling - it's also a coming-of-age novel and a story about the power of love.

And can we just take a moment to talk about that cover? It's beautiful! I love the way it looks on my shelf and the way it perfectly illustrates the feeling of the novel. 

Final Thoughts: This was a lovely read, and I can definitely see it belonging to multiple genres - children's, MG, and YA. The Gothic feel and fairy-tale feel will have you hooked in seconds.

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