Here is the last of our read of Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey. To catch up or review, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, and Part 9.
Even with Eric gone, Sebastian’s curse remains and, with it, the question of whether or not he can control the beast and be allowed to remain near any form of humanity. The king and Godmother summon Bella to Sebastian’s workroom the next day. En route, Sebastian stops Bella to tell her she no longer has to honor her promise to wed him, but he can’t get the whole of it out and finally ends with asking her not to leave him. Bella assures him of her steadfast desire to remain with him, and they enter the king’s presence where Sebastian must prove his control of the beast. The moon rises and Sebastian manages, just barely, to take control of himself. The king grants Sebastian and Bella permission to wed and assures Sebastian of his value as a sorcerer and a shifter.
Reader Comments: Sebastian demonstrates a wicked sense of humor in his wolf form as he, after dancing on his hind legs and rolling over, threatens to mark one of the king’s guards who stands too close. I only wish I could have seen a little more of this in the book, but at the same time, until this moment, Sebastian isn’t truly free of his sorrow.
Writer Comments: In this scene, Lackey demonstrates character and relationship beyond that of the main plot. Godmother Elena refers to the king as Eddy and reminds him of his desires for his subjects in the fashion of someone who knows him more intimately than most. It’s always good to have secondary characters appear three-dimensional and real.
Sebastian comes to Bella’s father to formally ask permission to wed her. Bella’s father, in turn, has fun at Sebastian’s expense, wondering such things as if Sebastian is housebroken, if his grandchildren will need obedience training, and worried that Sebastian will turn things into frogs and other such stuff. Genevieve, Bella’s step-mother, storms in and puts an end to the nonsense and Sebastian’s nerves. She declares Bella and Sebastian perfect for each other.
Reader Comments: I sort of figured that Genevieve would react well to Bella’s engagement. Lackey hinted at her not adhering to the traditional step-mother mold for many, many chapters.
Writer Comments: This epilogue, for all its elements, in my mind, is really about Genevieve and how, through thwarting The Tradition, Bella and Sebastian have changed more lives than just their own. Bella’s father giving his consent to the marriage really isn’t a concern. By this point, we know they will marry. Bella defied a king to make that clear. But Genevieve dominates this section, declaring by her presence and actions, the most she’s taken in the whole book, that she too has stepped beyond what The Tradition tried to push her into. Ultimately, the epilogue is not to assure us readers that the heroine will get her true love, but to send one final jab at the villain, for Eric was not the true antagonist of Beauty and the Werewolf; he was merely an agent of the real villain, The Tradition.
Generally, Beauty and the Werewolf was a satisfying read. It took turns that broke from the traditional fairy tale setup, allowed its heroine to truly take on an instrumental role while still keeping her true to herself, and presented unique takes on the stereotypes: the werewolf duke with a pair of spectacles and a somewhat nervous, bookish demeanor while still exhibiting a core of strength, for example. All in all, this book was, as I have also come to understand the rest of the series is, Lackey’s efforts to break The Tradition in her own way. All in all, it was good read, and one I recommend.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this read of Mercedes Lackey’s Beauty and the Werewolf. Next Monday, we’ll start the second book of Patricia Briggs’s Mercedes Thompson series, Blood Bound. The first in this series, Moon Called, started the reads and re-reads on this blog. Until then, I hope to see you again Wednesday and Friday for further forays into the speculative and life.