"In an explosion of his own making, Lucius blew his arms off. Now he has hooks. He chose hooks because they were cheaper. He chose hooks because he wouldn’t outgrow them so quickly. He chose hooks so that everyone would know he was different, so he would scare even himself. Then he meets Aurora. The hooks don’t scare her. They don’t keep her away. In fact, they don’t make any difference at all to her. But to Lucius, they mean everything. They remind him of the beast he is inside. Perhaps Aurora is his Beauty, destined to set his soul free from its suffering. Or maybe she’s just a girl who needs love just like he does. "
My Thoughts: At 197 pages (at least that was the length of my ebook), this was a short read that I read in a couple of hours. The narrative goes back and forth between Lucius and Aurora's points of view, but they are very short passages, sometimes just one sentence. There's a sort of poetic quality to the writing, as if sentences are used sparingly for maximum dramatic effect.
This is a Beauty and the Beast tale, but there's a lot more going on than this (although it's one of my favorite tropes). Lucius and Aurora are both high school students going to a new school. They're both sophomores and encounter different reactions from the student body. Lucius is treated badly, both for his appearance and rumors of what he'd done to get his hooks, but Aurora is immediately accepted and well liked. The way it was written, it conveyed high school and family in a believable way. Lucius is an outsider but he didn't strike me as a real bad boy, despite what he'd done (and this book's cover). His attitude was more of an intelligent guy who is marginalized by others, but I liked how Aurora trusted her own judgment in him. I could see this happening in any high school with regular students rather than a Hollywood version of high school with the usual cliches. There's the idea of starting over, which both Aurora and Lucius have to do, going with or against the crowd, rumors, the consequences of your actions and a really sweet romance. And had a couple of laughs at Lucius's sarcastic sense of humor, especially when he goes shopping with his younger sister and is forced to discover how pitiful his fashion sense is.
When I look at other reviews for this book I see people wanting more to the story, wanted to see more of what happened after it ended, but I didn't have so much of that problem just because I knew that the book was short, and I guess I had that in the back of my mind. I think I ended liking it better than them. The only minor complaint I'd have is wanting to know a bit more about what Lucius was up to when he blew up his hands. It takes a while before we get there and when we do, his reasons behind it weren't delved into and I wish they were, but maybe this book didn't want to focus on the past as much as focus on moving forward.
Overall: I liked this quite a bit. A short, feel-good kind of read with a sweet romance in it.
Buy: Amazon | B&N
Reviews elsewhere (seems to be rated average by most, so I think I liked it a better than them. Main issue was wanting more fleshing out to the story):
Genrereviews - 3 pints of blood
Fantastic Book Review 3.5 out of 5 stars
Tempting Persephone wanted a bit more
Win it (contest ends Sept 25th) at Fantastic Book reviews
Originally posted on janicu.vox.com