I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Alder Tales #1
Also in this series: Raene and the Three Bears
Published by the author (self-published) on May 31st 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Science fiction, Retelling
Source: ARC from publisher
Buy on Amazon
This is an affiliate link you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.
Blossom Frane is only weeks away from her transformation. On her eighteenth birthday, she’ll find out her future branch of society and her totem, the animal form she’ll be able to take at will for the rest of her life. Like her brothers, she’s expected to be a brown bear of the religious branch known as Terra.
In the Alderwood forests, Blossom’s bear blood is a valuable asset. Any day now, a rival clan leader will step forward and offer her father a hefty bounty in exchange for her hand in marriage. Blossom can do nothing more than sit back and wait to be traded to the highest bidder.
Determined to spend her last weeks exploring the Alderwood, Blossom sneaks away and manages to find Kaide Landel, a rising political star of the Pyro branch. Known for his violence and disregard for the religious teachings of the Terra branch, he’s all wrong for the bear clan’s prized daughter. But when the politician uses his wealth and influence to secure her hand, Blossom has no choice but to leave her family and marry him—if she lives that long.
I enjoyed this book. It was a good retelling. There were some clear parallels to Beauty and the Beast, but it was still very different. At times I had to think about which parts were like the original. It still felt like its own story, though. It was really cool to read.
I liked the dual POV, as usual. I always prefer that. I did find that I liked Kaide’s POV better though. I’m not sure why. Blossom’s POV unsettled me a little bit, I think. Maybe I just couldn’t relate to her enough. She was a very fleshed-out character, but not someone I have a lot in common with. Maybe I had more in common with Kaide, or maybe I’m just more similar to guys in general (I think this is true). But I still liked the dual POV and I think it’s important to the story.
There was considerably more violence here and more games of deception. The world-building was very good and I look forward to seeing more of it. Pyrona seems like a very dangerous place to be in, but the natural areas are cool. Alderwood seemed just as boring as Blossom thought it was.
My feelings about Kaide were pretty conflicted. I hated him at first, like Blossom did. I still don’t know how he could live with having torn her from her life and family and how he could think he could make up for that, if he was as ‘unworthy’ of her as he thought he was. His reason just didn’t seem good enough. But I grew to like him and understand a little bit. I knew Blossom would get comfortable with her new life. I think she could have brought her pet ferret, Fig, though. He could have stayed at the house. Anyway, it was good that it was so conflicting. That’s how it’s supposed to be. He’s the Beast, after all. We have to learn to love him.
The ending though. Her totem. This won’t really be a spoiler. I was just confused. It could have gone so many different ways, and I knew it wouldn’t be as bad as they thought, but it was still incredibly confusing. Like there’s something going on that we don’t know about. I’m sure there is and we’ll just have to find out. And then what happens after…That was probably the worst way it could have reasonably ended? But I bet something works out. I dunno, though, we’ll still see their story in the next book, but it would be very weird to not see it firsthand. That cliffhanger was too important to make it resolve as only a secondary plot in the next books.
Also, as a romance, the book had just the right amount of emotion and feels. There was only one moment where I shook my head at how a character reacted to something.
reaction upon finishing
this book in one word