Friday, June 28, 2013

Review: Belle Noir: Tales of Love and Magic by Ava Zavora

Belle Noir: Tales of Love and Magic
*Received a free copy in exchange for an honest review

Enter a world of dark beauty…

This collection of enchanting and disturbing stories ranging from fantasy to speculative fiction will leave you spellbound! (Includes retellings of Beauty and the Beast)

Transfigured - The Beast has changed back to a handsome prince, yet Beauty finds out that although some curses may be broken, they are never completely destroyed.

No Loyal Knight and True – In this modern-day retelling of Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott, a boyhood encounter with an odd girl who lives in a tower alters the course of Ryan’s destiny.

Belle Noir – Young Jane flees from her abusive father into a seemingly perfect marriage only to find that the darkest hearts are never revealed until it is too late.

Grotesque - A woman hardened by a difficult past witnesses a horrifying tragedy and undergoes a magical transformation.

Mirabilis (A Novelette) - Rosaria's life changes the day the veiled and mysterious Lord Devlin hires her to cure him of a terrible curse.

***Some stories contain mature subject matter. 18+***
Helpful Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Website

My Review

Every since I was a little girl I have been a fan of fairy tales. I have them to thank for my romantic ways. But we all know how fairy tales end, Happy Ever After. When I was first asked to read Belle Noir: Tales of Love and Magic I was immediately intrigued by the darkness that was hinted at through the synopsis. 

And as I read through the compilation of stories I was not disappointed as each story took what I expected from a fairy tale and turned it on its head, delivering a darker, more realistic and pessimistic view. 

With every story Ava Zavora transported me to another place in time as each story felt like it was told from an ancient time.

Though I enjoyed all the stories in this collection, my favorite had to be Mirabilis. It leaned slightly more toward a traditional fairy tale, but it still had a dark edge. I found that I couldn't help but have hope for a happy ending as I read the story of Lord Devlin and Rosaria. The story of Mirabilis was reminiscent of the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast, but with wonderful twists that only made the story better. Just like in Beauty and the Beast you can't help but route for a happy ending. Especially after all the not so happy endings in the other tales. 

But there were times where I felt that the way the stories were told also confused the stories, often giving you the sense that the tenses changed throughout the stories; causing some stories easier to follow than others. 

Despite that, the stories in Belle Noir: Tales of Love and Magic definitely give the readers a twist on the usual fairy tales and delivers the reader to a time when things didn't always seem to end with happy ever after. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a darker take on fairy tales. 

Belle Noir: Tales of Love and Magic will transport its readers to another place in time. A place of undeniable odds, a place of magic, and a place where you never know the ending. 

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