Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Of Beast and Beauty Read-Along: Week 2 Discussion Questions

Welcome to Week 2 of 
the Read-Along for the bestselling
YA novel, Of Beast and Beauty,
brought to you by
A Night's Dream of Books and
The Read-Along will run from 
April 1st to April 30th, 2014!!

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

1.) The Smooth Skins live under a dome.  Why is that?

The dome is made of specially treated glass that blocks the sun's rays.  This is necessary because the sun in this part of the galaxy is much stronger than  the one in our solar system.

The dome keeps the city from being too hot in the summer, and too cold in the winter.

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

The Smooth Skins would probably try to repair it as soon as possible.  Unfortunately, if this were to happen in the city of Yuan, Isra's advisors would also take that as a sign that she, as queen, would have to make the ultimate sacrifice, in order to ensure that the city would continue to be protected in every possible way.

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

He's told her that he has a lot of knowledge about plants and herbs, especially healing ones.  So she wants his help in planting healing herbs that will cure mutations, as well as prevent them from happening in the first place.

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

At first, he doesn't want to spend any time with her, but has no choice.  Since he's her prisoner, he has to help her with the garden.  He pretends to know more about plants than he really does, in order to get a chance to be outside and possibly get to steal some of the roses, then escape and take them back to his people.

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

They start to learn more about each other.  Gem begins to see that Isra is not at all cold and cruel, as he had originally thought; she's really very sweet and compassionate.  Isra begins to see that Gem is not the animal she had thought he was.  He's actually very gentle, as well as intelligent.  In short, they gradually begin to like and respect each other.

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

Bo is, I think, a pretty confusing, as well as confused, character.  I don't think he himself really knows what he wants.  He is very easily manipulated by his father, Junjie, who was the late king's chief advisor.  Bo appeared to have a crush on Isra, at first.  But I think he really doesn't have any romantic feelings for her; it's just that his father expects him to marry her, so he's tried to love her.  It seems that he simply likes the queen as a person, but is not madly in love with her.  

7.) Discuss how mutated Smooth Skins are treated.

They are outcasts, confined to the Banished camp, which is located  on the outskirts of the city.  They are fed and watered like animals.  Also, they're not allowed to own shops or work in the orchards, nor are they allowed to have children or seek the help of the city's healers.  
8.) What are the reasons behind Isra's tea poisoning?

This was done 'for her own good', in order to keep her from seeing the true state of affairs in the city of Yuan.  It was especially supposed to prevent her from seeing how the Banished were being treated.

9.) How long do you think this has been going on?
Isra remembers the day of the fire in the tower.  During this incident, she hit her head on a table, and lost consciousness.  Shortly after that, she lost her sight.  She was 4 years old at the time.  So the poisoning must have begun right around that time.  She's 17 now, which means the poisoning has been going on for 13 years!

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

At this point in the book, I'm not sure, but I suspect it's because of male chauvinism.  The kings of Yuan have probably selfishly saved themselves at the expense of their wives' lives.  After all, look at the way Isra has been and is being treated -- as someone who really is incapable of ruling.  Junjie and her own  father are indirectly responsible for Isra's low opinion of herself.

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

Because she wants a cure for her own 'taintedness'.  She doesn't think the people will respect or listen to her, since they despise mutations.  Therefore, they will think her unfit to act as the ruler she is supposed to be.

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

The dreams help her remember things about her mother that she had forgotten.  I also think it's her unconscious mind's way of trying to get important information to her conscious mind. 

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

It was absolutely beautiful.  The author describes the feelings of these two people so well!  Her words just made me sigh and melt..... Everything about the kiss was just so perfect, so wonderful!  I wanted to be Isra, and be kissed -- as well as kiss -- like that....

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

Knowing how he's always doing what his father wants, I think he might alert Junjie.  On the other hand, he does care for Isra, at least enough that he doesn't want any harm to come to her.  So maybe he'll have some of the guards search the area around the tower and gardens, without telling his father.  If he decides to do this, I think he'll ask them to keep quiet about this, too. 

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

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
May 1st

Maria's Discussion Questions
for Week 3
1.) Gem's people believe that dreams are messages from their ancestors.  What do you believe about dreams?  

2.) What do you think about Bo's accusations toward Isra, when she returns to the tower?

3.) How would you contrast the Smooth Skins' attitude toward their women, with the attitude of the Monstrous toward theirs?

4.) What do you think about Isra's relationship with her nursemaid, Needle?

5.) Were you surprised when Isra's sight suddenly returned?  Why or why not?

6.) Why do you think Isra's feelings about what her people think of her have changed?

7.) Why do you think Isra was so reluctant to see herself in the mirror?  

8.) Why is the covenant between the city of Yuan and the Dark Heart a binding one?

9.) How did the first covenant come to be signed?

10.) After reading Chapter 20, what do you think of Junjie?


Don't forget to visit Vonnie to see 
how she responded to this 
week's questions!
We hope you are all enjoying 
this read-along!



  1. Hey chica, sorry for not replying sooner. My computer got a virus so it was being fixed the past few days. So I'm answering on my phone.


    Great responses again. We are pretty much running in the same wave length especially when it came to the kiss.

    Also, you are absolutely right about Bo being being manipulated by his father. Junjie is just a shady person. I wouldn't be surprised if he were behind of all the things that happend to Isra. He probably also killed the king. It's obvious that he wants the throne and he would do anything to obtain even if it's his son on it.

    I can't wait to continue reading it. I took a pause to catch up on some reviews. This book is too good to stop!

    1. Hey, Vonnie!

      No worries.....I figured something was going on!

      I'm glad you liked my responses! Thanks for the compliment!

      Ohhhhh, that kiss was absolutely heavenly! I haven't read such a beautiful description of a kiss in quite a while!

      I saw pretty soon that Bo was a weakling. He desperately wants his father's approval, even if he has doubts about the rightness of Junjie's actions. He can't even think for himself! He's not really a bad guy, but his weakness makes him an instrument of evil.

      Junjie is just a power-hungry madman. He is totally evil and corrupt. He doesn't care that he's manipulating his own son to get what he wants. And he secretly feels contempt for Bo.

      I agree that this is a TERRIFIC book!! It's now one of my favorites! I'm going to be checking out her other novels!

      Thanks for your super nice comment!! : )


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