Book: The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale
Release Date: March 7th 2017
Tags: Fantasy / Paranormal / Standalone / Young Adult / Atmosphere / Welsh Inspired / Village / Instalove
Trigger Warnings: Death / Physical Abuse / Emotional Abuse / Child Labour / Miscarriages / Religious Themes that could be seen as Anti-Religious
Alys was the only one to see the soul eaters when they came to her village. The others were sleeping. They never woke up… . Now, an orphan, Alys knows the full danger of the soul eaters. She’s heard the nursery rhymes the chidren sing about the twin sisters who feed on souls. She’s seen people disappear into the fforest and never come back. So why, then, does she find herself mysteriously drawn to the fforest? Is she what everyone around her says she is? A witch? . Alys soon finds herself on a journey that will take her to the very heart of the fforest. There she must decide where true evil lies. And face the thing they call … The Beast.
The Beast is an Animal is an atmospheric, Wells inspired book. Especially the first half of this book was really strong. I have some bits and pieces with the second half but for the most part I really enjoyed this. The first part of this book starts us of with two twin girls and showcases us how a small village deals with those that are different. For the prospect of being witches, they are cast out into the fforest. The fforest is known to be invested with all kinds of creepy animals and the Beast. It changes them. From there on out we follow Alys another child from the same village that together with the other children survives a soul eater attack on their town, leaving them all as orphans.
The beast is an animal
Hear it scratch upon your door
It sucks your soul then licks the bowl
And sniffs around for more
The beast is an animal
It has a pointy chin
It eats you while you sleep at night
Leaves nothing but your skin!
While this book isn’t scary it knows how to crawl under your skin. Not by the soul eaters or the beast but by some of the real people in the village that takes in the children. How people who are different are treated. How those that are privileged misuse it. I saw other reviews mention how the Beast isn’t all that much in the story and how that is odd as it is in the title. I don’t think that is the beast the title refers to. I would say that one could get anti-religion vibes from this book. It is very clearly based on the old ideas of towns and witch trials. But most of all these people just show their fear and do mistreatments in their god’s name. Fear is the beast and it is an animal.
Character wise I really enjoyed Alys. She was a smart girl. I loved that we followed her from the age of 7 up to the age of 15 and that it wasn’t just a chapter or two that she was 7. I loved the relationship with her new mother and her struggle with her new father. I loved seeing how their bond grew. I loved seeing how the connection to the other orphan children stayed, though that was in part also the doing of the village who set these children apart.
What bothered me a little was the instalove that we got in the second half of the book. Maybe a little unnessecary. Even so it certainly wasn’t the worst instalove I have ever seen. And I do feel that the ending was a bit anticlimactic. I don’t think the struggles with the sisters were well build up. It was just sort of there to make it easy for Alys at the end and that was a shame. I don’t think Alys really did anything that the beast couldn’t have done itself.
Regardless I think this is a atmospheric and engaging read for Halloween. It won’t scare your socks of but it will get under your skin. Or might leave nothing but your skin. Who knows…