Seventeen-year-old Anouk has never left her house in Paris and stares down at the 'Pretties'. She and others in the house have been enchanted from animals to humans by witch Mada Vittora. Anouk cleans the house while wishing she could leave. Then a tragedy hits and Anouk finds out that she and the others have only three days before the spell reverses and they become animals again. They set off in an attempt to save themselves while along the way they find betrayals and dark secrets. One thing Anouk finds is that she's destine for much more than cleaning houses.
What worked: I loved this twist on the animals in fairy tales. A Disney movie comes to mind where Cinderella's 'helpers' were in fact animals that were changed in order for her to get to the Prince's ball in time. In this darker version a witch changes animals to do her bidding. She's cruel and selfish. When she is murdered, Anouk and the other 'Beasties' find out some truths that has them escape Paris in their quest for help.
Anouk's character starts as a meek, humble servant of Mada Vittora. She looks upon her almost as a mother. She also has strong feelings for Luc, an older brother figure, who looks out for her and ends up going missing. The chauffeur, Beau, has strong feelings for Anouk and his struggles are very real. Throughout the novel Anouk's character grows and she totally arcs at the end.
There's so much to love about this fantasy. There's hints of romance, betrayals, dark secrets, magic, loyalty, mystery of who killed the witch, and determination to rise above the stigma of being a beastie.
Enchanting and captivating twist on classic fairy tales with a protagonist who finds the determination to find the strength to rise above being just a servant. Fans of Holly Black will devour this magical novel and want a sequel.
3. Enchanting and very engaging