A while back I found a list on GoodReads or somewhere that had a bunch of retellings of Beauty & the Beast. I love fairy tale retellings in general, and B&B is a fave. Entreat Me was one of the titles on the list.
It started with an interesting twist – two Beasts! Father and son, both cursed by their wife/mother. Of course, two Beasts means two Beauties. The half-sisters are very close, but the elder of the two, Louvaen, is several years older than her sister, and has grown up as the mother figure in Cinnia’s life. Cinnia, the younger sister, is stunningly beautiful, so a lot of Louvaen’s mothering has involved warding off unsuitable suitors. Their father is a kind but weak man who isn’t very good at business, and when our story starts, has lost all of their money in the latest scam of their unscrupulous neighbor, Jimenin. Jimenin is a total creep who is more than willing to write off the girls’ father’s debt… if he gives Cinnia to Jimenin for his wife. Of course Louvaen is 100% against these shenanigans (in fairness, so is her father), but they aren’t really sure what they are going to do instead.
Cinnia insists that she is old enough and strong enough to make her own decisions, and also that her suitor, Gavin, can help them. Louvaen blows her off, so Cinnia runs off with Gavin back to his home castle. Turns out that Gavin is one of the Beasts, so when Louvaen shows up at the castle to rescue/check on her sister, she gets a whole lot more than she bargains for.
All in all, the story started really strong. Louvaen was a little too abrasive at first, but after Draven convinced us that Louvaen was a strong, independent woman, she toned it down to normal-person levels. I liked the four main characters – Louvaen, Cinnia, Gavin, and Gavin’s father/Louvaen’s love interest, Ballard. The other people in Ballard’s castle are also a decent and interesting cast. Two of the servants are basically background, but the main housekeeper and her lover/Ballard’s personal sorcerer are intriguing.
Just when I was really starting to get into the story and the curse and everything that was going on, though, all of a sudden there was sex. A LOT of sex. Louvaen and Ballard went from a little bit of tension to shagging at every opportunity, and the story went out the window. Instead, all we got were the two of them either shagging or wishing they were shagging, and it was kind of awkward and weird, and didn’t really feel like it went with the beginning of the story.
After that, the story faltered in credibility. Instead of leaving the curse/breaking the curse as the main focus of the story, the author dragged the original bad guy who wanted to marry Cinnia back into the mix, which was weird and made the story jump around a lot. Then, in the end, the curse (of course) gets broken, but it makes absolutely no sense when it does.
Cinnia loves Gavin and Gavin loves Cinnia – not enough to break the spell. Louvaen loves Ballard and Ballard loves Louvaen – not enough to break the spell. Gavin refuses to kill his father, even whilst under the thrall of the curse – not enough to break the spell. So we’re at the end of the big finale and Ballard is still a beast and threatening to kill people and not responding to anyone and the sorcerer promised Ballard that he would kill Ballard if Ballard didn’t get healed up, but Louvaen has the gun, so the sorcerer tells her to shoot Ballard and she does because he’s getting ready to kill Cinnia – and then all of a sudden he turns back into a human?!!??!?! And we legit never get an explanation for that. Like, he lives because she only nicked him in the leg (although then we get this entire chapter of him being feverish and almost dying and it’s suuuper boring) but… why did he change back!?!??! I was so annoyed that after this whole long thing we never got a freaking reasonable explanation as to why the curse was broken!
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In the end, this was a low 3/5. It started really interesting and the characters were good, but then the middle really dragged and seriously, what was with all the sex?! A very poorly executed finish left me feeling pretty ambivalent towards the whole book, and I don’t see myself looking for any of Draven’s other works in the future.