Apr 12, 2017

REVIEW of Savage, Broken, Beautiful by Marian Tee

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Hey there Booksnakes! So it's been quite a while since I last wrote a review for a book. I've been busy beyond belief and haven't really had enough time to write for personal purposes, but that's not what this post is for, so let's move on.

When I started my blog, my first ever post was about New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author Marian Tee. I figured it would be fitting that my "comeback review", if there was such a thing, would be of her book too. I'm sentimental that way.

I am a huge Marian Tee fan, and the Marian Tee Mania series here is supporting evidence of that. So even though I've been pretty much silent here, on Goodreads, and other platforms, I've been keeping tabs on her latest book releases and updates. Last week, I've had the honor of being sent an advanced reader's copy of her newest work, "Savage, Broken, Beautiful". I knew that this was a special project of the author, and because of that, I wanted to understand why that is. And that leads us here, to my review of Marian Tee's modern take on a tale as old as time. 

Title: Savage, Broken, Beautiful: A Sexy Contemporary Rom-Com Retelling of Beauty and the Beast
Author: Marian Tee
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: April 9, 2017
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Source: ARC Given by Author

SYNOPSIS:
To save her father from prison, geeky graphic artist Arabella Blume agrees to sell herself to Aurélien Sauvage, a young French billionaire whose life is shrouded in mystery and strange and conflicting rumors. 

When she’s immediately whisked away to a remote island, Arabella braces herself for all kinds of torture. But instead, her new life is more perplexing than terrifying. 

During the day, the staff pampers her like a princess. 

But as for the nights – 

They’ve become her most precious and shameful secret. 

When all is silent and dark, Arabella succumbs to the dangerously addictive passion of her master. Night after night, he listens to her, he talks to her, he makes her laugh, he makes her forget – and later on, he fucks her. 

He fucks her long and hard, he fucks her until she passes out, he fucks her so, so beautifully, and Aurélien promises to cherish her forever – for as long as she doesn’t break his rules. 

Never talk about me to anyone. 

And she doesn’t. 

Never kiss me. 

And she doesn’t. 

And the most imperative, my beauty – never, ever try to look at me in the light. 

But Arabella does. 

She doesn’t mean to, but it happens, and that’s when Arabella realizes all along she’s been making love to an animal. 

A man with a beautiful face, sapphire eyes, and a lethally powerful body, but at the same time a beast with terrifying horns, claws, and fangs – 

Oh my God. 

La bête Sauvage. 

It’s what the islanders have been whispering about – something they’ve always known but never told her, something she thought she understood but didn’t, something that may change the way she sees him – 

Aurélien. 

Her owner. 

Her lover. 

And he seems to know this, too, as the beast – her beast – asks quietly, 

Do I frighten you now, ma belle? 

Do I disgust you? 

Do you want me still? 

CHARACTER BACKGROUND:
Arabella Blume, like most of Marian's heroines, is a kind-hearted person who loves her father purely. She also has a stubborn streak and refuses to cave in to her desires and emotions as much as she can. But unlike most of the female protagonists in the author's books, Arabella has a temper and a potty mouth, and she isn't ashamed of it one bit. She's also quite confident with her body and isn't afraid to claim what she wants -- in other words, she can be aggressive (much to my delight). 

Aurélien Sauvage also has a heart of gold, he just doesn't acknowledge it because of his "situation". He believes that he doesn't deserve to have someone by his side because it would only cause them harm. He's rich and powerful - figuratively and literally - but he's also lonely and trapped in the "beast". However, he's not afraid to take the leap and love someone. In fact, love is what he craves to give and receive - also unlike Ms. Tee's seemingly love-allergic heroes in other books. But he'a insecure and afraid, and with good reason. But will he be Aurélien the man or will he let the beast take over forever? 

REVIEW:
Confession time! I haven't watched the new Beauty and the Beast movie yet. Also, I haven't watched the original animation. Lastly, I haven't even read the book where they based the film on. But, in spite of this, I am familiar with the story and its ending - I mean, she's one of my generation's Disney princesses so knowing her is embedded in my DNA. The only difference that I can say from this situation is I at least won't struggle comparing this story to the original one. For me, this IS an original story and one that I liked a lot.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

The story starts off by showing us how it all started. How Aurélien came to be something else, how the island of St. Marianne became a home cherished by many people, and how unconditional love is an important factor in this story. I love how detailed the author was when describing the island, specifically the mansion where the Sauvage family lived. It made me feel as though I was there, seeing what the newcomers saw and experiencing what they experienced and felt. We are easily transported to a place of opulence and beauty, but one with mysteries and sadness too. 

One of the things I liked about this story is how the modern world and "fairy tale land" seemingly blended to create a unique set up for our characters. I also like how the characters can go from 1600-era to knowing Game of Thrones - it serves as a reminder that these people, no matter how disconnected they seem from the world, are still living in the same time and space we are (as far as fictional stories go, of course). 

This story doesn't try hard to be a replica of Beauty and the Beast. It's a completely different interpretation that readers who aren't familiar with the movie won't have a hard time absorbing the story, while those who are fans of the tale will find subtle similarities here and there. 

As usual, Marian Tee managed to deliver a book that is well-written. The humor is there, and the steamy scenes are heart-racing. As I was nearing the end of the book, I had a lot of questions that have yet to be answered. And so I know that there will be following installments to this story. 

Let me point one thing out, though. When reading a Marian Tee book, I already expect to shed some (translation: a lot) tears. So going in Savage, Broken, Beautiful, I figured that I'd be crying for sure. To my surprise, this book is relatively lighter than other works of the same author. I mean sure there's some violence, but all-in-all, I found that it wasn't emotionally exhausting as her other novels. Does that make it less good? No. Do I expect more heart-wrenching moments when the second (and hopefully third) book comes out? Maybe. But only because I know Marian's not afraid to put her characters through shit to make the happily ever after so much more worth it. 

This was a great read and I would recommend it to others. I honestly can't wait for other surprises from the very talented author, Marian Tee. 


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