A Beauty and the Beast retelling full of murder, mystery, and romance.
Author: W.R. Gingell
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Young Adult, Fairy Tales
Date published: 1 February 2015
Publisher: Amazon-Digital Services
Review Rating: 5/5
Author/Publishers Recommended Reading Age: 15 +
Synopsis: Old maids! Murder! Masked Beast Lords!
Lady Isabella Farrah didn’t expect a proposal from a masked man at the Annual Ambassadorial Ball—nor did she expect a murder.
She got both.
Happily, for society at large, Isabella is of the opinion that noses were made for sticking into other peoples’ business, and she is delighted to do just that in the service of the murdered man—and perhaps in service of a certain Beast Lord, who is not as grateful as Isabella thinks he ought to be.
Now it’s just a matter of finding a murderer in a society of malcontents, traitors, and bad dancers.
It’s a game of masks, and the Beast Lord isn’t the only person hiding behind one…
Honestly, this was a great read. A re-telling of Beauty and the Beast with the added twist of murder and mystery. What’s not to love. Lady Isabella “Belle” Farrah is a diplomat who, along with her father, is trying to secure a military merger with a neighbouring kingdom. When a member of her household is murdered she takes it upon herself to investigate the occurrence and solve the mystery, much to the dismay of Lord Alexander “Beast Lord” Pecus- Head of the Watch. With sharp tongues, witty exchanges, and much mischief making this re-imagining of Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s classic is highly entertaining and your reasons for picking it up are below.
1) Lady Isabelle Farrah is a strong-willed, strong-minded, witty, charming, and an enticingly fun character. She thinks on her feet and uses both brains and her femininity to gather the answers she seeks.
2) The characters are flawed. Belle is smart, rich and pretty but has the magical ability of a newt. Lord Pecus is one of the best there is in wielding magic, has money, power, and high status but has few friends, no visible good looks and the population is scared of him. I love that despite their various backgrounds not a single one of Gingell’s characters are perfect, AND even better, they all make mistakes throughout the novel. Bliss.
3) The language used in the book is beautiful. There have been occasions where I’ve read a novel centred within a Victorian-era theme where the character linguistics just don’t match the thematic portrayal, but not in Masque. In this wonderful novel the descriptions, character speeches, portrayals and text are eloquent and fit the theme of the novel perfectly. Even the snark between characters is pretty to read.
4) Bloody death. Gingell promised murder and murder is what you got. There are enough deaths, death threats, attempted break-ins, attempted kidnappings, and mental instabilities to keep a reader well engaged. Masque was engaging and action-packed from beginning to end, just how I like my reading material.
There was only one issue I had with this novel and that was Lord Topher and Lieutenant Trophimer Holt. I had some serious trouble trying to remember which was which, especially when Trophimer became shortened to Trophy. I know it seems easy to tell them apart now but trust me the names muddled me badly toward the end while I was trying to beat Isabelle in figuring out who the murderer was.
Seriously though, that’s my only complaint. So, if you’re looking for an action-packed murder mystery which also just happens to be a re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast then grab a copy of Masque. I think you’d be a complete fool not to.