{Leah Reviews} The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

Posted March 3, 2017 by Leah in Reviews / 4 Comments

{Leah Reviews} The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle van ArsdaleThe Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale
Pages: 352
Published on February 28th 2017
by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: Gifted
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.

2 Stars

My book club was given ARCs of The Beast Is An Animal from the publisher to discuss. I scare easily (I probably shouldn’t admit that freely :)) but I appreciate horror, and this book looked creepy. That being said, this is one of the hardest reviews I’ve had to write.

The tone of The Beast Is An Animal reminded me of the film The Witch. It’s atmospheric, gritty, and reads like a dark fairy tale; it was my favorite part of the novel. There were times when I was reading at night that I scared myself. Fortunately the scares are scattered throughout so I could reign in my overactive imagination.

Image result for blair witch gifs

Historical elements are also used to build the world of Byd: there are witch hunts and superstitions. Alys survived a horrific incident in her hometown, and after being taken in by a couple in the neighboring village of Defaid, suspicions grow to hatred. The people are concerned about entities known as the soul eaters, twin girls who haunt the forests, and the mysterious Beast. I appreciate how all of these details were woven into a fresh take.

Some things kept me from truly loving the book. Major events happen off the page. Conflicts arise with no reasoning. After Alys is accused of witchcraft by the Defaiders, tragedy strikes, but we only hear about it. Not that we don’t empathize with Alys–bad things happen to her and it’s not easy to read, but I really wanted to be there when it happened. Show, don’t tell. Alys falls in love and it all happens quickly. The road to what should have been an epic showdown loses its way as it introduces subplot after subplot. 

The supernatural elements are also, for the most part, left unexplained. It’s left to the reader to draw their own conclusions. How are the soul eaters connected to the Beast? What is the Beast? There was a whole story there that could have been the primary focus. Answers never happened.

Image result for the witch gifs

Even though I have a lot of issues with The Beast Is An Animal, I did like the writing and atmosphere a lot, so this is a good critical review? If you’re looking for an introduction to horror, this is a decent start.

Leah
Leah

Leah

Co-Blogger at Quite the Novel Idea
Leah has always been a bibliophile. An avid fantasy fan, she has spent many hours imagining magical worlds and wondering what it would be like to wield a sword. When she's not dreaming up her own standalone fantasy stories, she enjoys watching movies, traveling, and eating chocolate. She lives in California.
Leah

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4 responses to “{Leah Reviews} The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

  1. I just started reading this book this morning, and I was creeped out from the very first part introducing the two girls, so I have high hopes for the rest of the book (although I’ve seen so many reviews saying that it isn’t exactly a scary story afterall). I’m a huge horror fan so I guess I thought this would be terrifying all throughout. I’m sorry that it wasn’t everything you hoped for, but you did such a great job reviewing this in such a great way. I hope your next read is better!

    • Leah

      I thought it was going to be scary throughout, too. I appreciated the horror elements presented but I wanted more of them.

      Thank you, I always try to be detailed and constructive with my reviews. 🙂

  2. Ooo I don’t think I would have guessed that this one was so creepy/scary! That cover is gorgeous, so I wouldn’t have expected it. lol! I’ve read a few books that made me a little scared to turn the lights off at night. haha! Sorry to hear that you didn’t end up loving this one more. Hope your next read is better!

    • Leah

      There are a few scary elements in here that I really liked, even if they did force me to turn the lights on. 🙂

      Thank you!

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