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Fantasy Friday: Beauty and Beastly by Melanie Karsak

In this tale as old as time, Isabelle Hawking must tinker a solution to a heartbreaking mystery.

When Isabelle Hawking and her papa set out from London on a sea voyage, Isabelle is thrilled. Visiting foreign courts, learning from master tinkerers, and studying mechanicals is her dream. And it doesn’t hurt that the trip also offers Isabelle an escape from her overbearing and unwanted suitor, Gerard LeBoeuf.

But Isabelle never arrives. Swept up in a tempest, her ship is lost.

Isabelle survives the storm only to be shipwrecked on a seemingly deserted island. The magical place, dotted with standing stones, faerie mounds, and a crumbling castle, hints of an ancient past. Isabelle may be an unwilling guest, but her arrival marks a new beginning for the beastly residents of this forgotten land.

Amazon Link: Beauty and Beastly

Author: Melanie Karsak

Genre: Steampunk Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

This was a straightforward traditional telling of Beauty and the Beast with a light steampunk theme. Isabella is a tinkerer and the Beast/Rhys has turned into an automaton along with everyone else on his estate, so she helps fix the mechanics and that helps bring them closer together. Although there are minor references to the Disney version, it’s actually closer to the French original. Bonus points for cool airship usage and Celtic myths.

I enjoyed it as a light-hearted read but it was a little shallow, so I wasn’t heavily invested in the characters. The dog had the most personality and the servants also had a lot of character development. The story might have been more interesting from the servants’ perspective as there are some glimpses of their private lives.

Nice for steampunk and for trying to represent a healthier romantic arc but overall, it’s not a big stand-out.

I would recommend it to fans of fairy tale retellings that are heavy on the romance element and for people who like a cool steampunk aesthetic (although this is more clockpunk, but the aesthetic is similar), not an in-depth look at a Victorian-style society. If you like Pride & Prejudice because you swoon over Mr. Darcy, this is for you.

Here is the book in my reading journal:


I'm an author, a blogger, and a nerd. I read and write fantasy.