Book: Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy #1)
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: YA Contemporary (Retelling with elements of Fantasy)
Release Date: 18th February 2020
Purchase Link: Book Depository
Will the princess save the beast?
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.
I had such high hopes starting this and Sandhya did not disappoint! I absolutely loved this desi retelling of Beauty and the Beast! I adored Jaya and Grey, and hopefully we’ll get to see much more of them in future books in this series! Whilst this is a part of series, it has the perfect ending and can be read as a standalone.
Jaya was an amazing character and I feel like she captured what it feels like to be a part of a desi family properly. She mentions it being a responsibility as she’s royalty but at the same time it could apply to most desi families and their expectations of the women in desi families, minus the publicity. Like, the rules aren’t the same and I adore how Isha (Jaya’s sister) is her own person.
I will mention that it would have been nice to have Jaya mention some traditions or maybe even foods that she loved. I would have loved to see more of her Indian background shine through as she was raised in India. However! I’m going to make a point of adding this since I saw people reducing their ratings due to it. Sandhya does NOT have to discuss the racism against or struggle of being a POC in this book or any book she writes! Not all of our stories need to teach an important lesson or discuss something so serious. This was a great book and it is my favourite retelling of Beauty and the Beast to date because of it’s diverse characters and wonderful story! I adored all the main characters and cannot wait to see more from Sandhya!
And Grey. Oh, Grey. I love him. He’s the perfect, brooding ‘beast’ in this retelling and I adored seeing him pop out of his shell! *spoiler alert* I also love how the toxic family aspect of Grey’s story was handled. The curse was so well dealt with, the way it ties into the story is seamless and great! I also adored how Grey wasn’t an a-hole and justified being thus as he’s the “beast”. He doesn’t mistreat anyone which was amazing to see.
Sandhya also brought the side characters to life and I loved that! Leo, Rahul and Daphne Elizabeth were amazing friends and I looked forward to any scene featuring them! Hopefully, they’ll have their own stories to share in future books in this series! The ‘Gaston’ of this story was pretty clear to me but I didn’t know how it would be resolved and it’s safe to say that there were n-
Just kidding! Can’t spoil this for you guys, but I definitely recommend reading this book! It’s amazing and one of the better retellings I’ve read!
Another thing I’d like to add is… I hope the other books in the series are retellings as well, but I’m not too sure. It would be great to see more fairytales (I’m thinking Anastasia and Tangled!) in this series!
And finally, I’d like to end this by saying thank you to Kate Keehan and Hodderscape for sending me an ARC of this book to read and review in advance of the release date!