It's quite ironic that as a little girl I absolutely abhorred fairy tales. Disney's version was always too sticky sweet, not remotely realistic, but that's the point I suppose. Although I still detest the Disney fairy tale, I have grown to appreciate, and love, the retelling of the classic tales in the YA genre.
Ellison is able to re-weave the tale of Beauty & the Beast in such a remarkable way that I for once liked, no, loved it. Perhaps it was her re-imagined telling of the time honored tale, but I'm really leaning toward her multi-dimensional characters, descriptions so vivid they played out like a movie in my mind, and snippets of the supernatural. Add in witty, snarky, banter topped with an advanced (for the genre) vocabulary and I was absolutely smitten from the first chapter.
Bee is infuriating, yet endearing. Witty, snarky, intelligent, a rebel in blue jeans. The type of girl I would have loved to hate and hated to love in high school - in other words, the girl I'd want to be best friends with. Will is equally matched to both these attributes with a time honored gentlemanly flair (when he wants to). A smattering of secondary characters round out the ensemble with humor and a conscience, if for nothing else but a reminder of how good people get trapped in bad situations.
I can't for the life of me understand why this book hasn't garnered more praise, it certainly deserves it. I eagerly anticipate Ellison's upcoming novels...her writing is truly inspired and I suddenly want to learn origami.