The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle Van Arsdale

Title: The Beast is an Animal

Author: Peternelle Van Arsdale

Publisher:  Margaret K. McElderry

Format: eBook

Publication Date: February 28, 2017

Overall:4.5 out of 5 stars 

Source: Edelweiss

A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.

The Beast is an Animal is an absolutely chilling, dark, and captivating read. I haven’t had that anxious pit in my stomach for a fantasy book in a long long time. The writing was very, and the descriptions were rich and lush, especially given the fact that the people in the village of Defaid were such a staid, prudish, fanatical bunch. It’s not often that you read a story that intertwines the goodness and badness of people like Van Arsdale does in this novel. The main character Alys is a perfect example of that, she is like the “soul-eaters” but she is NOT like them in ways that matter more. Alys is so refreshing to read about because she is not the perfect girl, but neither is she one of those characters that have a minor flaw that makes them a “terrible person” by the standards of the book. Alys has a darkness that she is constantly battling, the same as the soul-eater twins, but unlike them she had more than a mother who cared about her and she was not removed from the village. This meant that she has a compassion and sense of justice that the other girls don’t have, and that sets her a part.

The pacing in this book is slow, there are no epic battles and sword-fights, but there is a finale that took my breath away. You may feel like you’re constantly waiting, but it’s a delicious kind of waiting that builds intensity and tension until it finally reaches the climax of the story. That being said, there were a few times that the story felt like it jumped ahead without much warning, I think that had more to do with the fact that this book spans like 10 years, but it was jarring at times. As I mentioned earlier in this review, this subject matter is dark. This is not for the faint of heart or younger readers. These girls eat souls, and the descriptions that accompany that are absolutely terrifying although they are brilliantly written. I honestly can’t rave enough about this book, it was just what I needed to read after so much fluff, and a few duds. This book was absolutely wonderful, and I would give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

4.5/5 – Fabulous Read, Recommended

**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I did not receive monetary compensation from it.**


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“There was just a shell and nothingness, and the song in Alys’s head came fast and loud and she swore she’d never sing it again.

The Beast is an animal

It has a pointy chin

It eats you while you sleep at night

Leaves nothing but your skin.”