Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Of Beast and Beauty Read-Along: Week 1 Discussion Questions

Welcome to Week 1 of 
the Read-Along for the bestselling
YA novel, Of Beast and Beauty,
brought to you by
A Night's Dream of Books!!
The Read-Along will run from 
April 1st to April 30th, 2014!!
You can still sign up (in the Linky below), 
so come on in and join the fun!!

Of Beast and Beauty
Hardcover, 400 pages
Delacorte Press, 
July 23, 2013
Dystopian Fiction, Fairy Tale Retellings, 
Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, 
Young Adult Fiction

Week 1 Discussion Questions
"In the Beginning" - Chapter 6
A Night's Dream of Books
April 9th

1.)  In the prologue, which is titled "In the Beginning", who is the voice that speaks to the young princess Isra?

It's the "Pure Heart", which is the good half of the planet the ancestors landed on.  The other half is known as the "Dark Heart".

2.)  Do you think the Pure Heart is as good as it wants Isra to believe it is?  Why or why not?

No, it's not.  When the Pure Heart finds its pleas for compassion ignored by the newly-arrived humans, it takes revenge by cursing them --  the Smooth Skins as well as the Monstrous.  The curse on the Smooth Skins is a much worse one -- many children are born with missing body parts....  So this half of the planet is not as "pure-hearted" as it would have Isra believe.

3.)  What kind of roses grow in the royal gardens of the city of Yuan?

They are enchanted roses, imbued with a dark and deadly magic.  They're not just plants, but are actually alive.

4.)  Why does Isra feel compelled to  walk through the rose garden at night?

She has been blind  since the age of 4, but when she goes into the rose garden, the flowers help her see.  This happens in a very sinister way, however; they only do this after she allows their thorns to prick her flesh and draw blood. 

5.)  Why does Isra believe she's "tainted"?

Her skin peels constantly.  This leads her to believe that she has inherited Monstrous characteristics.  She also believes that she's very ugly.  Since she can't see herself, she has no way of disproving this perception.  As for her skin, she can, of course, touch it and confirm that it's peeling.

Another reason Isra believes she's tainted is that she's taller than the average citizen of Yuan.   

6.)  What is your impression of Gem, the Monstrous captured in the garden?

At first, I believed the things the Smooth Skins said about the Monstrous, so I perceived Gem as nothing better than an animal.  However, this perception quickly changed as I got to know him through his first-person narration.  He's actually a very brave, intelligent, noble, gentle young man, and I love him!  However, he's also consumed with hatred for the Smooth Skins, because he believes they are responsible for his people's suffering.  As he and Isra  start to become better acquainted, he realizes that not all Smooth Skins are the same.  He actually comes to respect and admire Isra.  At the same time, he starts falling in love with her. 

7.)  Why did Gem enter the city of Yuan?

To steal some of the roses for his people, so they can  harness the roses' magic for themselves.

8.)  What is your impression of Isra?

I like her tremendously!  She's a very intelligent, independent, brave young woman.  She's also very compassionate.  She's been kept unaware of the horrible situation in the city of Yuan.  But from the very beginning, in spite of her blindness, she has been determined to escape her tower, to be free.  That's one of the things I really like about her -- she never feels sorry for herself, but does the best she can with the circumstances she  finds herself in.  Emotionally, she grows so much throughout this story!  Her  increasing love for Gem helps her understand that something is terribly wrong in Yuan.  

9.)  What do the rulers of Yuan have to do, in order to ensure that their city will thrive?

According to a covenant between the city and the Dark Heart (the evil half of the planet), the city's queens have to be sacrificed to the roses whenever anything starts to go wrong in the city, such as poor harvests in the fields.  Isra is next in line for this.  

10.)  Why do the Monstrous and the Smooth Skins hate each other?

The Smooth Skins think of the Monstrous as beasts, incapable of reason or civilized behavior.  They fear mutation, as well, and are horrified by the physical appearance of the Monstrous, because they have scales and claws.  

As for the Monstrous, they hate the Smooth Skins because of their easy life in the domed cities, while they (the Monstrous) have to live outside the domes, in the desert.  In  the last few years, they have been slowly starving.  

This novel shows how powerful the irrational force of prejudice can be.  The Smooth Skins and the Monstrous are both human beings, but, because of their strong prejudice against each other, are unable to see that they are in fact members of the same species.   

Post and Reading Schedule
for the Rest of the Read-Along

Week 2 Discussion Questions
Chapters 7 - 13
Vonnie's Reading Corner
April 16th 

Week 3 Discussion Questions
Chapters 14 - 20
A Night's Dream of Books
April 23rd

Week 4 Discussion Questions
Chapter 21 - "In the Beginning" (Epilogue)
Vonnie's Reading Corner
April 30th

Wrap-up & Reviews
A Night's Dream of Books
Vonnie's Reading Corner
All Participants
May 1st

All participants should post reviews
for the wrap-up on May 1st,
and are encouraged to
hop around and comment
on each other's reviews.

Vonnie's Discussion Questions
for Week 2
1.) The Smooth Skins live under a dome.  Why is that?  

2.) What would happen if the dome ever got damaged?

3.) Why does Isra want to spend time gardening 
with Gem?

4.) Why does Gem want to spend time with Isra?

5.) What is actually happening as they spend time together?

6.) What are your thoughts on Bo?
Are his feelings for Isra genuine?

7.) Discuss how mutated Smooth Skins are treated.

8.) What are the reasons behind Isra's tea poisoning?

9.) How long do you think this has been going on?

10.) Why is it only the women of the royal family 
being sacrificed to the roses?

11.) Why is Isra so desperate to find a cure for the mutations instead of changing the laws like Gem suggests?

12.) What is the significance of Isra remembering 
and dreaming about her mother?

13.) What did you think of Isra and Gem's first kiss?

14.) After Bo discovers that Isra is not in her room, what do you think will happen? 



If at least 10 blogs sign up to participate,
(you can still do so at the 
bottom of this post)
Vonnie and I will hold 
a giveaway, so
please spread the word!!
You will get THREE entries
in the Rafflecopter if you 
help to bring in participants!!!


Don't forget to visit Vonnie to see 
how she responded to this 
week's questions!

We hope you all enjoy this read-along!
Don't forget to grab the button
and banner for your own posts, and
add your blog to the Linky below!! 



  1. Chica, I love your responses! I kept nodding and saying, "Yes!" many times. It's funny how you were able to voice my thoughts on many of these questions when I had no idea how to express my thoughts. You complete me :) hehehehe

    You know...I find it interesting how it's the women of the royal family who get sacrificed. In other stories, it's usually a virgin or simply a woman who's not powerful who get killed for sacrificial purposes. I figure that more will be explained as I read further into the story.

    Well, here's to another fun read-along!!!

    1. Hey, Vonnie!

      Oh, thank you!! I see that we're on the same wavelength regarding this book! I liked your answers, too!! We DO make a great team!!! YAY!!

      Now that you bring up the topic of the royal women being sacrificed, I see you're right. It's really surprising that a queen would be sacrificed. However, I suppose the Dark Heart gets a lot of satisfaction about that -- it gets ROYAL blood, which it thinks is better than commoners' blood. This book really contains a lot of indirect, as well as direct, criticism of the evils of prejudice, of thinking that one human being is worth more than another, that the members of an entire group are all evil, etc. This is what makes this novel such a powerful read, among other things!

      Another fun read-along!! I'll drink to that!! Lol. Thanks for such a nice comment!! : )


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