Beauty and the Werewolf (Five Hundred Kingdoms Series #6)

Beauty and the Werewolf (Five Hundred Kingdoms Series #6)

by Mercedes Lackey

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The eldest daughter is often doomed in fairy tales. But Bella—Isabella Beauchamps, daughter of a wealthy merchant—vows to escape the usual pitfalls.

Anxious to avoid the traditional path, Bella dons a red cloak and ventures into the forbidden forest to consult with "Granny," the local wisewoman. But on the way home she's attacked by a wolf—who turns out to be a cursed nobleman. Secluded in his castle, Bella is torn between her family and this strange man who creates marvelous inventions and makes her laugh—when he isn't howling at the moon.

Bella knows all too well that breaking spells is never easy. But a determined beauty, a wizard (after all, he's only an occasional werewolf) and a little Godmotherly interference might just be able to bring about a happy ending.…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373803460
Publisher: Luna
Publication date: 05/29/2012
Series: Five Hundred Kingdoms Series , #6
Edition description: Original
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 597,858
Product dimensions: 4.26(w) x 6.42(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Mercedes Lackey has written over one hundred titles and has no plans to slow down. Known best for her tales of Valdemar and The Five Hundred Kingdoms, she's also a prolific lyricist and records her own music.

Read an Excerpt

The door opened, spilling out light and heat and laughter and a snatch of music into the darkened street. It closed again, and Isabella Beau-champs shivered with delighted anticipation.

"Come on!" she urged her twin stepsisters, as they hung back a little. "It sounds like the dancing has just started!"

"I still don't think—" said Amber.

"It's so…declasse—" said Pearl.

"Of course it is," Bella replied, laughing. "That's why it's going to be fun! For once, you're going to come to a dance and enjoy yourselves!" She seized each of them by the hand, and tugged them to the door of the Wool Guild Hall.

"But what if someone—" said Amber.

"Recognizes us?" finished Pearl.

"You're wearing your masks, for one thing," Bella replied, logically. "And for another, those are last year's gowns. Would anyone believe you'd wear last year's gowns?"

"No!" they replied in chorus, and then giggled behind their free hands. "They'll probably think I'm Jea-nette," said Amber. "And Pearl is Marguerite."

"Very likely. Now come on!" Providentially, someone opened the door once more, and Bella pulled them through it before they could object again.

Last year's fashions had included a vogue for "shepherdess gowns," although these looked like no shepherdess that Bella was familiar with. She had successfully managed to get them to keep the gowns rather than giving them away as they usually did when the fashions changed, arguing that they would make good fancy-dress costumes.

Both gowns had short skirts that showed the girls' feet in embroidered dancing slippers, trim little ankles in silk stockings and a hint of ruffled pantaloons. There were only three ruffled petticoats and no crinolines. The undergowns were of silk, embroidered with sprigs of flowers—though only in the front, where it showed. The draped overgowns were of silk-satin, trimmed on the hems with silk roses and three layers of ruffled lace. The bodices were tight-fitting, but not so tight that they wouldn't be able to breathe—unlike several of the girls' more fashionable outfits—and were made of the same satin, lace and silk roses as the skirt of the overgown. Pearl's was pink, Amber's was lilac. When she had first seen the gowns, Bella had thought privately that they looked less like shepherdesses and more like cakes with girls stuck in the middle. But then the vogue for all things bucolic had brought a set of porcelain shepherd and shepherdess figurines into the house, and she realized that this was how people who had never seen a living sheep thought their minders looked—and the fashion copied it.

Once inside she dropped their hands and paused, waiting for the impact of the room to fade. At the far end of the Hall was a raised platform, and the entire platform at the moment was covered in musicians. Not content with hiring just a few, the Guild had hired every decent musician for miles around, and even paid them to rehearse together. There were fiddlers, flute players, a drummer, three harpists, four lutenists, a trumpeter and players of instruments Bella couldn't even name.

Just now they were playing for a Running Set dance—and both of Bella's sisters made identical little Os with their mouths and clasped their hands together with delight. They'd never seen anything like this, of course. It wasn't the sort of dance that their dancing master would teach or approve of.

It was at times like these that Bella really adored her silly little stepsisters. They might be frivolous, they might think far too much about fashion and far too little about virtually everything else, but they had good hearts. Where girls who put on airs would look at this gathering and turn up their noses and sniff with disdain, they looked at people having fun, thought it wonderful and wanted to join.

The musicians were sawing and plucking and blowing for all they were worth, and keeping up an exhausting pace. Those who weren't dancing were clapping and stamping in time. And as Pearl and Amber were about to discover, anyone could join the dance at any time. Bella grinned as she spotted three stalwart lads separating themselves from the crowd on the sidelines and heading straight for them.

The Wool Guild had far more male members than female, and even with the addition of daughters and other relatives, unattached women were thin on the ground at a gathering like this one. Add as these three unattached women were young, shapely and what showed under their masks was comely enough, she was not at all surprised to see three more young fellows detach from another part of the crowd and head for them, too.

Bella never did see how they sorted themselves out. She had already chosen her partner from the six as they approached, and maneuvered herself so that he was the first to get to her. He was quick; he grinned as he saw her coyly reaching for him and he seized her hand, swinging her into the Set without a single word. She had no fear that her sisters would get into trouble, not here. The matrons of the Guild stood as chaper-ones to every young woman who entered the Hall tonight, fierce dragons ensuring not only the safety of the girls, but that their boys were not ensnared by a young woman who was "no better than she should be." This allowed the young to enjoy themselves to the hilt in freedom—limited, but still freedom—and let them revel in the anonymity of their masks.

Bella loved to dance. Especially country dances. The fancy nonsense taught by their dancing master was too mannered and contrived to be fun. You had to think too much about the steps, and the music was as mannered as the dances. The Running Set left her just warmed up, and when another partner presented himself for a Chardash, she was more than ready to step out. She did keep a bit of an eye on her seventeen-year-old stepsisters, but they were having the same innocent fun that she was. They never had the same partner twice, they never spent too long in the company of any one young man and when they finally got winded—much sooner than Bella did, but then they didn't get nearly the exercise that she did—they repaired to a bench big enough for only two, where they were surrounded by young men eager to bring them cups of punch and flirt harmlessly with them. Pearl's careful arrangement of curls was beginning to come down, but for once, she was indifferent to the disintegration of her perfection. In fact, the next time Bella came around the floor, she saw that Pearl had pulled out her hairpins and taken a ribbon to make a simple headband with a flower tucked into it. Privately, Bella thought the effect was much more flattering than the overdone hairstyle that she had been sporting.

The musicians signaled that they were taking a rest by ending the dance with a special flourish. Without being asked, Bella's partner escorted her to her stepsisters. There wasn't room for her on their bench, but she didn't mind; she stood behind them and accepted a cup of punch from yet another young man.

"I don't have to ask if you're having fun," she said, pulling a fan off her belt and vigorously cooling herself with it.

"I don't know when I have ever had such a good time!" Pearl whispered, as Amber giggled and sipped punch demurely. "No one has this much fun at the parties we get invited to."

The twins had caught their breath by this point, and allowed new partners to carry them off into the dance. For a moment Bella found herself without anyone to chaperone and without a partner—

"Alone and defenseless. Just the way I like them," purred a voice in her ear.

Reflexively she stomped her neat little heel onto a set of booted toes, thrust an elbow behind her and nimbly leaped over the bench the twins had been sitting on. Since the current dance was a very lively Dargason, this went entirely unnoticed.

There was a muffled yelp and an equally muffled curse as reactions to her assault, but when she turned, whoever had accosted her was gone already.

She knew who it was, however. There was no mistaking that voice. Duke Sebastian's Gamekeeper—who was rather too superior to allow anyone to call him a Gamekeeper to his face, insisting on the loftier title of Woodsman. He was, without a doubt, taking advantage of the fact that this was a masked ball to try his luck and his charms on girls who were here with- out Guardian Mamas. Well, too bad for him, the dog; he'd found a bitch who would bite back. Serves him right, she thought, seething a little. She didn't seethe long, though; a moment later the musicians struck up "Jenny Pluck Pears" and a partner materialized out of the crowd, and she was back to doing what she loved best.

Much earlier than she would have liked, but about the time it was prudent to take leave, she and the twins met at the bench again in a similar state of happy, panting, overheated exhaustion. "I really do not think," Amber puffed out, "that another round of punch is going to restore me one little bit."

"Me, either," Pearl panted, though she looked wistful.

Bella nodded. "All right, then, they've just brought a fresh bowl out. Let's slip away while there's a mob for punch."

About this time of night people started slipping something a bit stronger than wine into the punch, too. Not that, given the enormous bowl that was kept filled, one bottle of brandy was going to have much effect—but it was better to leave while the only unpleasant spot on the festivities was that wretched Gamekeeper, Eric.

Once out in the night air, they were glad of their cloaks. Things were very frosty. "I think it will snow again soon," Bella remarked, as the three of them hurried through the silent streets to Henri Beauchamps's handsome house. "If you don't mind people knowing it's us, we can go skating on the pond by moonlight as soon as the ice is hard enough. There's usually a bonfire and chestnut sellers and mulled cider and music."

At nearly four years older than her stepsisters, Bella had been sneaking off to these dances long enough to know exactly which ones were going to be great fun, as this one had been, and which were ones that it was prudent to stay away from.

Bella unlocked the private door into the garden and gave each of the girls a little basket she had waiting on a shelf above where most people would look. "We're home!" she called up the staircase. "The girls found some nice things."

As she expected, it was Genevieve's maid that appeared, not Genevieve herself. "Mistress would like to see you when you have all changed into something more comfortable," she said, with the little sniff that told she meant cleaner.

"Of course, we brought her a few things, as well. We'll be there in merest moments," Bella said breezily, ignoring the snub. She didn't at all mind; it meant that Genevieve was not going to be asking why the girls were in their shepherdess frocks when the gowns were no longer the mode and were rather unsuitable for scrambling about in their father's warehouse.

Henri Beauchamps was a merchant trader, as his father had been before him, and his father before that, coming up from a mere peddler with a single donkey; at the moment, he had a thriving business in furs, although at one time or another he had dealt in practically anything that wasn't living and couldn't be eaten.

Bella had always had the run of the warehouse and the freedom to take anything she pleased, but when she had asked the twins if they wanted to go to the dance, she had hit upon the notion of saying they were going to the warehouse with her.

Now, the reason Bella went combing through the old stores was because she had an uncanny knack for finding forgotten treasures there. Many had been the time when Genevieve, Amber or Pearl would look at some bit of lace, panel of delicate embroidery or other little addition to her gowns and ask where she had got it. If she answered "the warehouse," there would be much sighing, for this meant it was not likely there was any more of it, nor would be ever again.

Genevieve was consequently quite happy to allow her girls to go rummaging through the building—which was not at all dusty and dirty, though you could never persuade her of that. Thus, a perfectly reasonable explanation for why the girls would be out after supper. Bella had, in fact, made the selections in the three baskets yesterday.

They all hurried up to their rooms. The twins' maid was one of Henri's household, and was completely loyal to Bella; no fear there that the twins would be tattled on. And Bella herself did without a maid; she had elected to do so as soon as she was old enough to dress herself, and saw no reason to change unless the gown she had to get into was more complicated than the simple things she usually wore. When she was comfortable in nightgown, dressing gown and heavy plush robe with matching blue slippers, she picked up her basket and went to her stepmother's room.

Genevieve was sitting up in bed, like an expensive porcelain bed-doll on display, surrounded by the boxes and jars and cabinets full of the pills she took for her many—mostly imagined—ailments. Genevieve fancied herself an invalid. She kept three doctors busy—

Well, she would have kept them busy if they had actually been treating her. Instead, they were pretending to treat her, honest gentlemen that they were, giving her harmless concoctions made of flowers, simple herbs that could do no harm and even bits of baked cookie dough. They charged her father almost nothing, and yet, because they knew Genevieve so very well, they were alert to anything that might be an illness, serious or otherwise. He in his turn kept these old friends well supplied with the finest wines and brandies that he came across in his trading ventures, so it was a good arrangement all around.

"It's Genevieve's hobby," he had once told Bella, when she made some scornful remark about it. "It's harmless enough since I am not actually paying my friends anything, and she is not being dosed with things that really would make her ill."

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Beauty and the Werewolf 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 126 reviews.
ldosch More than 1 year ago
This is the 6th book in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series. This is a fractured fairy tale. The story is about Isabella (Bella) Beauchamps who lives with her father, stepmother and two stepsisters. She goes off one afternoon to visit and bring a basket of treats to Granny, the local old woman who sells potions and gives advise. Along the way she meets up the Woodsman, Eric, and on her way home after dark is attacked by the wolf or in the case werewolf. Starting to sound familiar?? After Bella is bitten by the werewolf, she is sent by the King and local Fairy Godmother to stay with Duke Sebastian, who is a scholarly and shy sorcerer, and who is also cursed to change into a werewolf during the full moon. The King determines that the needs to stay secluded with him for three months until they can determine if she will also start to turn at the full moon. While Bella assists Sebastian in his spells, as he tries to break the curse, she talks to her Fairy Godmother through her magic mirror, and she learns that everyone in the City is pushed by The Tradition which is an underlying force that tries to fit everyone into a fairytale storyline. This is an interesting spin on the usual fairytales that we all know and love. I found the invisible servants and Bella's attempt to identify and work with them very entertaining. Received advance copy from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms. Lackey's latest addition to her Five Hundred Kingdoms adventure-romances offers the qualities that have made the other stories in the series such fun to read: intelligent and likable characters, clever adaptation of classic fairy tales and legends, solid storytelling, and a wry sense of humor. As is typical for her work, history and mythology fans are likely to appreciate the attention to detail and background. While reading it in sequence with the rest of the series will make it a richer experience, I think it also works well as a stand-alone novel. Heartily recommended (as is the rest of the series) for anybody who enjoys adventure, romance, magic, or who has ever wondered what would happen if the characters in fables and tales stopped to question their traditional roles.
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 STARS I liked Bella and how she thought, did not give up. When I first reading I thought it was a version of Cinderella then red riding hood or Beauty & the Beast. It makes sense when you get into the book why it had different bits of different fairy tales. Bella has a step mother and two younger step sisters. Her father is a business man. Bella has run the house since she was 10. She is very intelligent and likes to care for others. She is learning about healing plants from her Grandmother in the woods. Bella gets taken and made to stay with the Duke Sebastian for at least three months. She is upset but makes the best of it and doesn't mind telling the Duke or others off. Bella finds ways to make herself useful and learns a lot of new skills. I don't want to ruin the story surprises by saying to munch but did enjoy them. The story keeps my attention and would read more books from Mercedes Lackey. I was given this ebook to read in exchange for honest review from Netgalley.
cer-2 More than 1 year ago
More a re-imagining of Beauty and The Beast than Red Riding Hood (and definitely not a werewolf or paranormal tale). A good read. Ms. Lackey always writes well. Not what you would expect from the book cover description/excerpt. The Red Hooded Cape makes exactly one appearance and the werewolf three very minimal/short appearance. While actually a surprisingly more interesting take on the fairytale retelling than I was expecting, I think this one had more an air of author's Elemental Masters series than her Five Hundred Kingdoms (a well brought up dutiful young lady encountering magic but still a part of her small-town, class dependent, family/village possibly why I got that feeling). Excerpt made it sound like action packed with all these characters fighting the bad guys/magic/curse whatever in defiance of The Tradition (if you are unfamiliar with series, a big part of Five Hundred Kingdoms worldbuilding with "The Tradition" being a force manipulating persons along the lines of familiar tales) with a fairytale romance/aspect ongoing and fairy godmother involvement. Actual book (I read ebook edition so have to give it to you in percentage reads), The Tradition was not even known to Bella until about 75% thru book; no whiff of romance until 90% thru (other than avoiding some unwanted advances from potential villains and not wanting to just be married off like other village lasses), no love interest/romance until 97% thru. Actually, most of the real Five Hundred Kingdom stuff with royalty and godmothers and (even though I did like the read I have to say not the fastest paced thing) nearly all the action packed into last 3% of book. I think I would have rated 4 stars with a little more action and a little less the sweet-natured village lass wondering about a castle, befriending servants, putting the stillroom to rights, being polite to her captors ... and most other characters pretty minimally drawn. The main character and the plotline, not as original as I would have wanted. But still a good read and I am still a Mercedes Lackey fan and likely to read the next Five Hundred Kingdoms entry
MCHEATH More than 1 year ago
I had fun reading this book. Story is definitely not Disney which makes it even better.
AnnArborPam More than 1 year ago
Ms. Lackey has produced a good read. Light, entertaining and not demanding too much of her readers. Many ages will enjoy this book. That's the good stuff. The bad stuff is quibbling at the edges. She is obviously not trying to produce world class literature that will survive the ages. She is producing a "good read" and she has. Her characters are not developed in depth, her villain is pretty obvious from the first and the plot is a variant of Beauty and the Beast. This book does not have the lovely light humor of "One Good Knight" or "Fortune's Fool". It does not have the depth of character or situation of "Phoenix and Ashes". These books show that Ms. Lackey (one of my favorite authors) has the skill to produce both humor and depth, but she has not chosen to do so with this book. Read it on it's own merits - a "good read". Book clubs may find it interesting to contrast this book with Beauty and the Beast whose main point is the struggles of the Beast with the help of the Beauty to overcome his own weaknesses and to grow as an intelligent being with this book where no such struggle exists.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Isabella Beauchamps tries to get along with her stepmother (Genevieve) and two stepsisters (Amber and Pearl). However, she is unhappy as she feels like the outsider with her dad Henri the merchant paying attention to his second wife and her two daughters. One day wearing a cloak of red Bella journeys through the forbidden forest where she meets Eric the woodsman as she brings goodies to Granny the wisewoman and heeds her advice. On the way home, a werewolf attacks and bites her. The king sends Bella to stay with reclusive sorcerer Duke Sebastian to determine whether she is a full moon shifter. Her reluctant host is also a werewolf trying to find a spell to remove the shifter curse. At the same time she assists the duke with his experiments and also struggles to identify his servants, Bella, using a mirror, consults with her Fairy Godmother who explains none can buck the universal Tradition force that insures everyone fits inside a fairy tale. The latest fabulous Five Hundred Kingdoms fantasy (see The Sleeping Beauty and The Fairy Godmother) is a terrific entry as Mercedes Lackey once again satirizes the Tradition roles of society in which those stepping outside the box are condemned as heretics rather than pioneers. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action while there is plenty of humor as Bella attempts to break out of the Tradition expected of the oldest daughter. Harriet Klausner
WitchyWriter 16 days ago
This was my first Mercedes Lackey book. I know, I know. How can someone give their graduate lecture on fairy tale re-tellings and NOT include some Mercedes Lackey? In my defense, there are just way too many fairy tale re-tellings out there. I couldn’t hit them all. This particular one is a clever mishmash of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, primarily. There are some other tales referenced as well, but those are the main ones. The protagonist has a strong will, and enjoys her independence–something you would expect from the Beauty trope. She’s interesting, and there are enough subversions of normal fairy tale stories that you’re kept guessing, and intrigued. There were times where I had strong suspicions about the final outcome, only to find myself doubting those again in the next chapter. Lackey keeps you on your toes, definitely, trying not to give you the same predictable tale you’ve heard a thousand times. The first half of the book was more enjoyable for me than the second in some ways. Around halfway things start getting sort of…well, meta. The characters aren’t so much aware of being in a book as they are aware of an outside force dictating their destinies to make them align with traditional fairy tale paths/endings. It felt a lot like Lackey was using her characters to describe the difficulty of writing this kind of story–being so tempted to take it in one easy direction, but managing to rebel and take it in another. Still, that awareness on the parts of the characters meant that they tried even harder to choose their own destinies, working for what they actually wanted rather than accepting the first easy path that came along. That felt genuine and gave them complexity and good motivations, so I ultimately enjoyed it. One thing that was done exceedingly well was the werewolf parts. I don’t think I’ve encountered any other Beauty and the Beast retelling where the beast is a werewolf, though it makes so much sense I have to imagine someone else out there has done it. It was a delightful play on the story, and the transformative nature of werewolves meant that the character got to be human and interact normally with the protagonist most of the time, which helped make their relationship relatable and interesting. There was also enough of the fairy/magical elements to keep me comparing this work to others of a similar nature, like Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses or Pattou’s East. This is the first of the 500 Kingdoms books I’ve read (and the first Mercedes Lackey I’ve read), but I’ll definitely be seeking out more now. She’s a very good writer, with clever ideas and solid execution.
TheLostEntwife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There are times a girl just needs to have some mindless fun. When those times hit me I head straight for this series. Beginning with The Fairy Godmother and working all the way through various fairy tales these books by Mercedes Lackey never fail to make me laugh, coo a little bit in romantic bliss, and feel as if I've done something that is decadently delicious when I close the cover. These aren't serious literature and that's a good thing. I've read the Grimm's Fairy Tales and the Romantic Fairy Tales by Teick, Fouque, and Brentano. So when I picked up Beauty and the Werewolf, I delighted in the fact that I was about to dive into complete silliness and fun.And I wasn't disappointed. While Beauty wasn't my favorite of the series (One Good Knight holds that honor), I still thoroughly enjoyed the book. Honestly, I think I'd enjoy any book in this series as long as it contains my beloved unicorns, which had me snorting with laughter yet again.This is a great series to give, or to read, or both! Perfect for the people in your life that you want to introduce to fantasy, and perfect for those days when you need just a little pick-me-up.
cfk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really, really needed an upbeat romp and this book fulfilled that need beautifully. Magic, mystery, romance and treachery!
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with a few twists, in Lackey's Five Hundred Kingdoms setting. There are also hints of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood.Bella, a capable young woman who manages her stepmother and silly stepsisters as well as the household, is returning from a visit to the Granny in the local woods when she is bitten by a werewolf. Abruptly bundled off to be observed for the next three months to see if she will also turn, she finds invisible servants, a charming young, absentminded magician of a Duke, and an arrogant, womanizing Gamekeeper.Not a lot of plot, but enjoyable. Halfway through, I began to suspect who had put the curse on the Duke--and I was right.
jjmcgaffey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very nice. A much quieter story than most of the rest - there are implications of greater danger, but they remain no more than implications. Though I thought the villain was blindingly obvious - so much so that I wonder if power was used to obscure the involvement? Sebastian wouldn't have spotted it, but that neither Bella, the Mirror Servant, or Godmother Elena ever so much as displayed the slightest suspicion is suspicious in itself. And the servants were under control, apparently not consciously applied... Anyway. Fun story - I like Beauty and the Beast, though this isn't quite that. Touches of four or five stories, including Red Riding Hood and several gothic romances; conscious and unconscious resistance of the Tradition; magic applied in clever ways, interesting characters, the reappearance of it. Not my absolute favorite Five Hundred Kingdoms story, but in the top few.
rhonda1111 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
4 STARSI liked Bella and how she thought, did not give up. When I first reading I thought it was a version of Cinderella then red riding hood or Beauty & the Beast. It makes sense when you get into the book why it had different bits of different fairy tales.Bella has a step mother and two younger step sisters. Her father is a business man. Bella has run the house since she was 10. She is very intelligent and likes to care for others. She is learning about healing plants from her Grandmother in the woods.Bella gets taken and made to stay with the Duke Sebastian for at least three months. She is upset but makes the best of it and doesn't mind telling the Duke or others off. Bella finds ways to make herself useful and learns a lot of new skills.I don't want to ruin the story surprises by saying to munch but did enjoy them. The story keeps my attention and would read more books from Mercedes Lackey. I was given this ebook to read in exchange for honest review from Netgalley.
Bodagirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting and endearing mix of "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Beauty and the Beast." I love the world that Lackey has created, especially the idea of the Tradition, but the plot was expected and the characters weren't all that interesting.
sukino on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of the 500 Kingdom series so when a new one comes out, I read it as soon as I can. This is the 6th in the series and a spin on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale (with a dash of Little Red Riding Hood thrown in). It's about a young woman named Bella who finds her life twisted upside down when a trip home from Granny's turns from ordinary to terrifying when she runs into a werewolf.I really enjoyed this installment in the series. I admit there were a few instances where I want to give Bella a kick, but they were few and far between. The flow of the book seem to be paced well and ended way too soon though! I can't wait for the next 500 Kingdom book.
jwitt33 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received an ecopy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.First off I have to say that I absolutely adore Merecedes Lackey and I jumped at the chance to read this book! It's definitely different for me because I haven't read any of the Five Hundred Kingdoms books before, but I still really enjoyed it. I wasn't blown away like I have been by some of Ms. Lackey's other books, but I did have a good time reading it!Bella has a step-mother (not evil, just vain and kind of lazy), 2 step-sisters (again, not evil) and dons a red riding hood to take a basket of goodies to visit old Granny's house in the woods. There she is bitten by a wolf, and her whole world is turned upside down! From Goodreads: "But on the way home she's attacked by a wolf¿who turns out to be a cursed nobleman! Secluded in his castle, Bella is torn between her family and this strange man who creates marvelous inventions and makes her laugh¿when he isn't howling at the moon."She is taken by the King's men to said secluded castle, where she is to stay for three moons to make sure she's not going to change into a werewolf herself. While there, she learns a good many things, including the fact that there is something called The Tradition, which is basically the world's way of trying to force people into following the path that characters follow in fairy tales. Once she learns of this, from the Godmother no less, she is determined not to be manipulated into following a path not of her choosing. I enjoyed the flow of the story, the characters, and Bella's willful nature - she refuses to follow tradition and knows her own mind. She's not a scared little girl who will just do what she's told. She's a very strong woman, and it was a pleasure to watch her grow as the story unfolded. I really liked Duke Sebastian, too - kind of an absent minded professor instead of your usual tall, dark, strong hero. Watching him come out of his shell was really fun to watch, too. All in all, this was a fun book to read, and I'm definitely going to go back and read the first five books in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series:D
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Practical Isabella Beauchamps manages her household while her stepmother and stepsisters engage in their beloved social outings and shopping excursions. However, on a visit to Granny in the forest, Bella is bitten by a werewolf¿who turns out to be Lord Sebastian, whom no one has seen in years. Well, being a werewolf is more or less a good reason for someone to be a recluse. In order to determine whether or not Bella will turn into a werewolf from the bite, she must live at Sebastian¿s place for three full months. While there, she discovers the existence of magic and The Tradition, and the fact that Sebastian¿s under a curse. Can this young lady, new to magical understanding, be the one to discover who wishes Sebastian harm?I know that Mercedes Lackey is a long-established fantasy writer, and I¿ve enjoyed her unique take on fairy tales and magic in other Five Hundred Kingdom books, but unfortunately, BEAUTY AND THE WEREWOLF didn¿t quite do it for me. I was expecting more, but mostly what I got was a lot of people sitting in a castle, talking and reading about magic.It¿s not that there are things wrong or bothersome about the elements of the story. I like Bella well enough: she is the type of strong and capable protagonist I can relate to. Bella¿s interactions with the invisible spirits of Sebastian¿s castle are pretty neat as well, good for a few chuckles. And Sebastian is a total sweetheart, the kind of slightly socially awkward love interest that is endearing in the midst of so many testosterone-fueled, my-bicep-is-bigger-than-your-bicep fictional romantic interests.Unfortunately, I¿m not really sure if there are many more unique aspects of this book to recommend it besides for the aforementioned details. When I said earlier that the book consisted of people sitting in a castle, talking and reading about magic, I was not really exaggerating. Confined to the castle, most of what Bella does is learn more about magic, and The Tradition, Godmothers, the curse¿ The majority of the book is one very long and drawn-out information dump on magic.What could have been a more original story instead turned out to be an info dump disguised as the main character beginning to understand her new perspective on the world¿which is weird because, as this is the sixth book in the series, there should be no info-dumping necessary for readers. Not, sadly, Mercedes Lackey¿s most impressive story. In fact, I wonder if, without her established name on it, this book would¿ve gotten by agents and editors at all.
JacobsBeloved on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed every book in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series by Mercedes Lackey, and I eagerly waited for her to cover my favorite fairy tale, that of Beauty and the Beast. This book combines my favorite fairy tale with Little Red Riding Hood and a dash of Cinderella, all with its own unique twist characteristic of the series. While I had the ending predicted quite early in my reading, I still enjoyed following the character development and watching it all play out.Bella is very much the modernized damsel in distress, as she finds a way to do her own saving, and chooses who she would rather fall in love with, rather than let the Tradition dictate her actions. As she learns about the manipulations of the Tradition, she also realizes her own way of unconsciously dealing with it and the power she has over it. I loved her intelligence and creativity in solving the daily problems that riddled her life, especially with the invisible servants at the Duke's residence.Duke Sebastian is an interesting character -- a wizard werewolf with hermit-like habits -- he is the direct opposite of the type of character I expected to play the role of "Beast" in this fairy tale, but I like him all the same. His devotion to his craft makes him absentminded about everything else in his life, and except for when he is a werewolf, he likely would not hurt a fly. Bella's interactions with him draw him out and show him that he can have so much more in his life.I also enjoyed Godmother Elena's part in the book, along with her mirror servant, as they cemented this book into the series and reminded me of some of the details that I had forgotten from previous books.
seekingflight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting retelling of ... Cinderella? Little Red Riding Hood? Beauty and the Beast? All of these? None of these? Bella is reasonably strong-willed, independent, and competent, but is living a relatively mundane life. She manages her stepmother and stepsisters as best as she can. They're occasionally exasperating, but can't really be compared to Cinderella's family. Bella's life is turned upside down, however, when she's attacked by a wolf on her way back from visiting the Granny who lives in the woods. This is the sixth book in the 500 Kingdoms series, and I was somewhat disappointed by the earlier books in this series. I did love the idea of the Tradition, the force that rules this world of Lackey's, where energy builds up any time someone's life is going in the direction of any of the well-known fairy tales, and they are subtly 'encouraged' to fall into the same patterns in their own life. However, I didn't think the earlier books pulled this off quite as I would have liked. So I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. It's particularly interesting mid way through the book, where Bella is explicitly told about the Tradition, and encouraged to think very carefully when she finds her life mirroring the plot of any of the stories she knows, so as to make sure that she's acting in accordance with her own true preferences, and not simply being pushed and pulled about by the Tradition. An enjoyable light read. The one down side was that I felt the resolution was so obvious that everyone should have seen it coming.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down, read the whole thing in a day and was sad when it ended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If only Lackey would stop cranking out books as fast as she can. She really does have a way with words. Lately her books all seem to be clones of each other, preachy as hell, & have endings that feel forced. Endings that feel like she's thinking "oh crap, i've gotta finish this up, here's the fastest, easiest way i can think of" the reader knows exactly who did what & why before you reach chapter 3! The main character is yet another near-perfect person, but irritated me immensely. The scene where she's talking to the kitchen servants really got to me. She essentially was saying, "even though you are smart enough 2 do all this cooking, are smart enough to be upset at how much food is wasted, etc, arent you lucky i'm here now, to do all the thinking for everyone!? Aren't you grateful?". She also has the same speeches & lectures that she has in EVERY BOOK! Doesn't matter what series it is, she has the same lecture! It gets really old! If Lackey doesn't take some time off, & let her imagination come out & play again, i just might have to stop reading her new books altogether. I never thought i'd have to say that .Please? Bring your old skill back, no more clones?
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