I guess I’m conditioned to expect every book with “beast” in the title to be some kind of Beauty and the Beast retelling –or at least for the hero to have some kind of beastly demeanor or appearance. None of these is the case here, so if you are looking for any of those scenarios, you can move along.
Niall is called “the Beast” because he is a dangerous mercenary. He’s also the rightful laird to the family lands that were stolen from his father nearly 20 years ago. You see, his parents were betrayed and murdered by two clans they thought were their allies. Niall and his brothers escaped and went their separate ways in order to stay hidden. Now that Niall is grown, he is ready to reclaim his birthright.
Elspeth is the eldest daughter of the MacClaren chief. And from the moment she and Niall cross paths, they are drawn to each other. She has no idea who he really is or why he has entered her family’s land. She only knows she wants him more than any man she might be forced to marry for a political alliance. Niall knows his secret and his plan will devastate her, and at first he tries to keep his distance, but it’s only a matter of time before their attraction is something they’re unable to ignore.
The premise, itself, was ok, though it didn’t tread any new ground. My problem with the book was that it felt very superficial. The characters had no depth, nor emotional resonance. Niall wanted his family lands back, but I felt no real anguish or grief… or even rage. Elspeth was totally bland. She was a dutiful daughter, who is falling in love for the first time with a man who ultimately reveals an earthshattering deception. But the angst was virtually nonexistent. The betrayal, weak. Even the sexual tension was meh.
The story wasn’t bad, but it was …benign. And predictable. Even what I suspect was supposed to be a big reveal about one of the side characters, I saw coming from nearly the beginning of the book.
This is the first in a new series. I imagine the future books will feature Niall’s brothers, but I don’t think I’ll be back. I didn’t dislike the book, but it didn’t make me feel anything either.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Beast of Clan Kincaid
by Lily Blackwood
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s