Ann Aguirre is starting a new series of gothic fairytale retellings. In Bitterburn, she is retelling Beauty and the Beast, but has added in some elements of Bluebeard. I received an arc from the author in exchange for an honest review.
If you don’t know, a cinnamon roll is a love interest who is warm, sweet, supportive and gooey on the inside. They might also be a lot of other things, but their support for their love is unqualified. Njal is the Beast of Bitterburn, a monster trapped in the castle by a curse. He can’t die and he can’t leave.
Amarrah is the eldest daughter of the town of Bitterburn’s brewer. Winters have been getting longer and the town is starving. Amarrah’s intended died of a fever a couple of years before the book begins, and without him she has no hope to escape her father and stepmother’s house. Since the town is now too poor to send it’s annual tribute to the cursed castle, Amarrah decides to go in it’s place. It’s ok with her if she dies at the hands of the mysterious beast.
Instead, Amarrah and Njal slowly build trust, a friendship and then love. Amarrah blossoms with regular food to eat and in the presence of someone who appreciates her just for being herself and not for what she can do for him. SPOILERS: If you like monster fucking, Njal does have a monster dick, but it isn’t a focus of the sex scenes. END SPOILERS
There are some nods to the Disney movie, but this is definitely not a kid’s story. In addition to the sexy times, there are some Halloween appropriate creepy elements. Njal warns Amarrah not to go into the east wing of the castle, and there is a malevolent force in the castle.
CW: illness of a child, death of an infant goat.
Bitterburn is out Oct., 31.