Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Review of Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen

Title/Author: Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
Publisher/Date published: Henry Holt and Co, February 3rd 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: 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.

I just love discovering a new-to-me author who manages to suck me into a story! This is one of my favourite things about reading! And Cat Hellisen managed to do just that.
One thing that diminished the experience of reading Beastkeeper for me has nothing to do with Cat Hellisen's writing, but with me working 36 hours in 3 days and not having any time or the ability to focus on a book. So I read some of it in bits and pieces and I didn't get as lost in it as I would have wanted, but that's all me, cause once I settled down with it for a longer period of time, I did connect with the story.

I picked this up because it sounded like a really cute MG, but with a little dark undertone. And guys, it's exactly that! It reminds me of the original Grimm fairytales, as in it's not all sparkly and bubbly and actually a little gritty and not the kind of happily ever after you'd expect. And I really liked that! Sarah has a LOT to deal with in Beastkeeper and she's just a girl! She just lost both of her parents and got dumped with her grandmother and OMG, I really don't think I would have handled everything as she did. That's one strong girl with a big heart!

I totally loved the concept of Beauty and the Beast but with a little added something AND with the girl as a beast! It's all so intricate and pretty harsh in the end and I just felt for Sarah as she was trying to figure it out and save everyone, including herself. And I really liked Alan, the boy in the forest who is more than he seems. I liked seeing him and Sarah form a friendship.
Towards the end I was like, surely my e-ARC is missing some pages cause how are they going to figure things out with so few time left?? There were shocking twists and turns and the ending was satisfying, but it did feel a bit rushed. I could have done with a bit more of an explanation and I just want to know what happens with Sarah after The End!

My rating: 4 stars


  1. Oh, I like how it sort of turns the original story on its head. Very cool!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  2. Oh, I was definitely surprised by how much I enjoyed Beastkeeper. I agree with you about how it captures the feel of a Grimm Brothers fairytale - still magical, but also kind of dark. It's an interesting take on a fairytale, and I liked it too :)