Bitterburn by Ann Aguirre


Title: Bitterburn
Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Gothic Fairytales #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, GothicMagic, Retellings
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2020


Njal and Amarrah are a fantastic and gorgeous couple in this phenomenal Beauty and the Beast retelling. Aguirre manages to combine aspects of the original fairy tale, Disney version and a whole Gothic aspect that will leave you breathless. Amarrah is that perfect balance of sweet and innocent, with tough and powerful. Unlike some of the young adult stories I’ve read recently, this didn’t feel forced or contrived, but enjoyably natural.

One of my favourite aspects of this retelling was that at no point does Amarrah want Njal to change himself to suit what others might see as a perfect man. Their slow courtship is exactly the kind of romance that I enjoy reading. The two spend a lot of time getting to know one another and conversing, way before they are able to finally see each other face to face. I love that they accept each other for exactly who and what they are.

Of course, every version of Beauty and the Beast has a curse in it that has cursed the “beast”. Aguirre’s version was wonderfully complex and brilliant. I love how there was the whole backstory of Njal’s curse throughout this is slowly unreeled. Not only do you spend the whole story hoping to race to the happily ever after. But you also can’t wait to find out what the heck happened to leave Njal in such a horrible position.

Everything about this retelling was brilliant and phenomenal. The journey Aguirre took me on was absolutely amazing. I think though that my favourite thing about this was that Amarrah doesn’t end up getting that typical prince charming – she gets the Beast man she fell for. And they, along with their two goats are able to drive off into the sunset happily ever after.

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Image source: Goodreads


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