My rating is 3.5 stars.
I did enjoy the story and found it entertaining. The author has a unique style and voice which captured my attention. I also liked the characters and her interpretation of the Beauty and the Beast retelling.
What I struggled with was how I felt after I finished reading it. I wasn’t in love or disappointed either. This was an entertaining read and if you like a dark retelling of a popular fairy tale, then this would be a great read.
From a writer’s stand point, I really liked how the author used different Greek and Roman mythologies for worldbuilding. I also liked the author’s characterization of Nyx and Ignifex/Shade. Fairy tale characters are so Disney-fied that when an author goes against those expectations, it’s refreshing and engaging. I really liked how Nyx was characterized. She isn’t the the typical fairy tale heroine. She’s bitter and resents that her father chose her instead of her sister to marry the Gentle Lord. She also resents her sister for being the one their father saved. I also liked how Ignifex/Shade was characterized. He is not the typical fairy tale hero. Ignifex makes bargains with mortals which usually end in some tragic way, but doesn’t feel bad about it because he is the personification of hate and cruelty. Shade is the lost prince who was not brave enough to sacrifice himself for his kingdom. These faults in the author’s characters are compelling and make for great conflicts.
I would recommend this to readers 14 years old and up. The language is clean and there is some violence but it’s in the context of dark shadows that devour you and also death ending in tragedy (not explicity described). There is some sex, but it’s only alluded to or implied. It is a dark fairy tale retelling, so do not go into it expecting the usual fairy tale characters you see in Disney movies.