Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Beastkeeper by Cat Hellison {review}

by Cat Hellison
♦publisher: Henry Holt & Co
♦release date: February 3rd, 2015
♦hardcover, 208 pages
♦intended audience: Middle Grade
♦source: from publisher for honest review
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.

Review: Cat Hellison so perfectly captures the classic fairy tale feel in Beastkeeper. I loved her writing style in When the Sea is Rising Red and while completely different, I love it here, too. It's lyrical while still feeling contemporary, you can hear that it's told by a young girl of modern times, albeit a girl that is thrust into a pretty extraordinary and lonely situation.  She's such a strong, sincere character and I can't imagine being her age (or any age for that matter!) and discover that you'll turn into a beast and possibly lose yourself inside that beast the first time you fall in love!

The mystery and magic keeps the pages flying by, and I appreciated that evil is not plain evil, good is not always good, love is not straightforward or easy, and Sarah discovers that being human is not the only way to be herself.  There is a stroke of humor to the writing as Sarah actually does become the beast and we feel her struggling to keep her thoughts more human that wild animal. 

With it's intricate twists and the way it examines such intense things, like what it means to be yourself, the love of family, and the twisted ways of love and forgiveness, I can see Beastkeeper being one story that reaches out far beyond it's middle grade audience.

Find Cat Hellison online: Website  •  Twitter  

Purchase Beastkeeper:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon


  1. Your review made me want to read this book! I love any kind of retellings but I don't think I've ever read a middle grade one. I also like when books aren't just plain black or white, good or bad, but it's a mix of those things.

  2. This sounds seriously epic ^^ I've never heard of it but I love contemporary with magic it's sweet. Plus it sounds really unique and now I must read it! Thanks for sharing this review :D

  3. I never heard of this before, but it sounds interesting! I'll put this on my tbr now. Glad you love it :)

  4. I have been on the fence about reading this one, but after reading your review, I can definitely say that I will be reading this in the near future! Thanks for sharing!