**Visit All Things Urban Fantasy today for her Deadly Destination tour with Gina X. Grant & enter for a chance to win a copy of any ebook from The Reluctant Reaper series**
Deadly Destinations visits a dark, dystopian retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay will be released on July 23, 2013 from Delacorte Books for Young Readers/Random House. Want to know our thoughts on this book? Read Bridget’s review here.
Enter for a chance to win a hardcopy of Of Beast and Beauty, an Of Beast and Beauty cover button (2 by 3 inches), and some assorted swag.
REMAKING THE WORLD
So often, on our planet, the first world and the third world can feel very far apart. In these places—in the suburbs, or in cities where the rich and poor are separated by neighborhood—it can be easy to forget that, according to the World Health Organization, roughly one third of the population of our planet is starving.
Starving. And even more are living in extreme poverty.
That’s a pretty staggering statistic, and, when I read it, it really put my petty stresses about having an aching back from working at my desk too much or not fitting into my “skinny jeans” anymore into brutal perspective. First world problems, man. Boy am I lucky to have them.
When I set out to create the world for my twisted retelling of Beauty and the Beast, OF BEAST AND BEAUTY, I knew that I wanted to bring a teenager from the first world and the third world of this particular planet together. The moment from the fairy tale when the father steals the roses from the castle seemed like the perfect time to have my third world hero taken captive by my first world heroine.
I had already decided to flip the script and have Beauty be the one to take Beast captive, so I took things a step further and made the roses part of the magic that sustained the domed city where Beauty lives, something my beast character believes will help alleviate the suffering of his starving people, bestowing upon them the abundance of the first world.
Once Beast is Beauty’s prisoner, however, and they begin working together to create a new garden, they both realize that life on the other side of the divide isn’t all they thought it would be. Beauty learns how sheltered she’s been. At seventeen, she still feels like a child, while, at only nineteen, Beast is already a father. She learns that no set of people is more deserving or well-suited to suffering than any other, and develops a deep sense of compassion for the monstrous boy from the desert and his people. For his part, Beast learns that Beauty’s privileged world is no paradise. It is a world of dark compromises and extreme cognitive dissonance, in which the privileged perform elaborate mental gymnastics in order to justify their lavish abundance under the dome while, just outside their gates, infants are starving to death.
It’s an extreme situation, but one too often mirrored in our world: in the ten story mansions in India that tower above the profound poverty of the slums, and in other places throughout the world where the super rich are getting richer while more and more people slip below the poverty line. There is something deeply wrong with a man driving one of his seven 200,000.00 cars through a street full of starving street children, but in our world the injustice can feel too insidious or the problem too big to ever hope to conquer.
But that’s the beautiful thing about writing fantasy. In a fantasy, I could remake the world and give the starving a chance at a better life and the privileged the peace of knowing their abundance isn’t coming at the cost of the lives/well-being of others. It was one of the things that made writing OF BEAST AND BEAUTY such a lovely experience.
And the romance, too, of course. The romance was imperative to the transformation of this world. It was only through love that Beauty and the Beast could break the spell that had gripped their planet, and only through love can we hope to change the injustice on ours.
Stacey Jay is a recovering workaholic (or at least working hard at recovering) with two small children, and a passion for playing pretend for a living. She’s been a full time mom-writer since 2005 and can’t think of anything she’d rather be doing. Her former careers include theatre performer, professional dancer, poorly paid C-movie actress, bartender, waiter, math tutor, and yoga instructor.
In her very limited spare time, Stacey enjoys cooking elaborate dinners and eating them very slowly, dressing up in costumes with her sons, and drinking wine with her husband. She loves to hear from readers and personally answers every single email she receives.
Want to read more from Stacey Jay?
This giveaway is provided by Stacey Jay
One lucky reader will win a hardcopy of Of Beast and Beauty, an Of Beast and Beauty cover button (2 by 3 inches), and some assorted swag
Available July 23, 2013 from Delacorte Books for Young Readers/Random House
About this Book:
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…
In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.
Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.
As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.
Click HERE to read an excerpt
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