Calysta and the Beast
by Joanna Alonzo
Series: The Sacred Scarred #1
Published by Paradoxa Press
Publication Date February 17, 2018
Genres: Christian Fiction, Clean Romance, Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy
Setting: New York, Virginia Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 15-17, 18-24
Written for: High School/Young Adult, Adult
Life yanks Calysta Daniels out of her comfort zone when an odd request from a stranger becomes the only option to keep her father out of jail. The request? She has to live four years under the roof of a beast.
Brendan Keefe is perfection-turned-beast. The last thing he wants is to grovel at the feet of this imperfect young woman, who happens to be the only way out of the curse he got himself into.
Will Calysta's history and brokenness help reach out to a beast who considers himself beyond redemption? Or will Brendan's stubbornness deprive him of the love he so desperately longs for?
Both beautiful, both broken, this beauty and this beast embark on a journey to discover a love greater than themselves, a love powerful enough to heal all scars and give beauty for ashes. If only they would believe.
I would like to thank Joanna Alonzo for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
He makes all things beautiful in His time Ecclesiastes 3:11
I can sum Calysta and the Beast up in one word. Wow! There is so much depth to this story. The theme of Beauty and the Beast appears in so many places in this story, not just in the main plot. The verse from Ecclesiastes describes this book’s theme so well.
Calysta has always felt that she didn’t compare favorably to her older half-sisters. They were so beautiful and she was just herself, the illegitimate daughter. Driven to cutting herself to attempt numb the pain, nothing seems to be quite right in her life until she discovers the love of a God who will never fail her.
Brendan’s arrogance and self-centeredness lead to him lashing out at those around him. His thoughts about others are just about how they can fill his needs. Until he is cursed to become on the outside the beast he has been on the inside.
I have read many retellings of this classic tale. This one is quite different. The fantasy aspect of it is just in the way that Brendan really does end up cursed with the appearance of a beast. Every other aspect of the book takes place without magic or fantasy, in the world we know.
The focus of the book is on redemption, specifically the redemption that can only come from God. While the story deals with some hard subjects, such as cutting and human trafficking, it does so in such a way that it is not heavy or painful to read. There is so much hope woven throughout the story.
I am looking forward to reading more books by this author.