Review: The Beast and the Sibyl by AJ Adams

Reviewed by Ronelle

When a vicious Beast is dragged into the village, Bliss knows she should mind her own business. After all, everyone knows that the Beasts are violent and dangerous…but he is still a living creature and her conscience won’t let her turn away from the cruelty of the villagers. And so she steps in, unknowingly putting her on a path of life-changing consequences.

When Siv first lays eyes on Bliss, he knows she’s one of them. That pale hair and those big blue eyes are Skraeling through-and-through. He wants her and is determined to have her as his mate, objections be damned. The time he spends hidden in her home, healing from the horrible wounds inflicted by the villagers and their Patriarch, is time he can use to convince her to leave with him…or so he thinks.

An act of betrayal by the people she’s helped her whole life leaves Bliss with no choice but to follow Siv back to his people. Days at sea with nothing else to do but talk to each other will ignite their desire, but just when their happy ending seems to be within reach, Bliss has a vision that threatens everything.

***

This is one of those times where I have to wonder if I read the same book as everyone else, and honestly, if I hadn’t known how great AJ Adams can be (Fletcher was AMAZING), I’d have DNF’d The Beast and the Sibyl before the halfway point. And even though I did finish, I never got invested or fell in love with the characters.

It took a long time for me to stop utterly disliking Siv and Bliss, and they will never be on my list of favorite fictional couples. Together, they were childish, hypersensitive to EVERYTHING the other did or said, and their conflict/tension felt forced, manufactured to explain a romance between two people with zero chemistry. Their transition from at each other’s throat/hating each other to Siv deciding he wanted her and would have her no matter what was very abrupt and unexplained. It was all very snip-snap-snipe-you’re-terrible-but-now-we-should-fuck and I wasn’t feeling it.

Another odd thing about these characters was how rapidly they changed their minds from one extreme to another. Both had extremely racist attitudes towards the other’s people, but those were easily swept aside at times the author needed them to be. Their opinions in general were so changeable and easily swayed as to be laughable, and Bliss’ powers were sort of a Deus ex Machina. How very convenient that she couldn’t read Siv at certain times and that she received crystal-clear visions when the plot needed her to. There was also a disconnect between actions and consequences, which was worsened by the unrelated/scattered quality of their internal thoughts. Sometimes it felt like one sentence had nothing to do with what followed. However, I will say that once they reached the Skraeling village, Bliss, at least, showed a surprising amount of insight and handled some tense situations with much more poise than she’d previously displayed.

One of the things I did enjoy about The Beast and the Sibyl was Ms. Adams’ ability to paint a picture, set a scene, and eloquently describe a character (“It was like seeing a pig mounted on a unicorn” to describe Courtney). There were some great, vivid action scenes, too, and I enjoyed them more than the romance. Ms. Adams also knows how to craft a sweet, satisfying ending.

While I received a free copy of The Beast and the Sibyl in exchange for my review, I ended up purchasing a copy because the ARC formatting was so bad. I think this is probably an issue with the combination of Kindle app + Book Funnel, so I’m not holding it against Ms. Adams. However, I am holding the typos against her, and there were a number of those. Incorrect word choice (to vs. too, for example) and extra (“I’d had seen”) or missing words (“too dark tell up from down”), or words out of order (“and there if there were any”) occurred frequently enough to be distracting.

Bottom line: Sadly, this particular entry in the Prydain series was just contrived and unpolished, with a romance forced on two characters with zero chemistry. While I would never recommend The Beast and the Sibyl, I do recommend giving this author a try.

Rating: C-

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Beast and the Sibyl
by AJ Adams
Release Date: March 10, 2017

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