Rebel Rose – Emma Theriault

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this book, which is a sequel to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (specifically the live-action one, based on certain details) set during the French Revolution.

I loved the worldbuilding, how Theriault fit the existing story into history, and how she kept us guessing about various secondary characters’ allegiances, particularly Marguerite and Bastien. Belle’s journey of learning to trust her instincts rather than constantly second-guess herself and/or let herself be over-ruled by higher-ranking male figures was compelling, though “trust your instincts rather than anyone else” is not really a great message for a ruler! The plot was tense and exciting, there were queer characters that were better depicted than what I’ve heard of the live-action movie, and the foreshadowing made sense in retrospect without giving away the whole plot. My main quibble was that we didn’t see enough passion for me to believe that [SPOILER] was a fanatical revolutionary. It would almost have made more sense if [SPOILER] was trying to take the throne rather than bring it down.

This is Theriault’s first published novel, and it’s for a very prominent IP. I was super impressed with how she pulled it off! I can’t wait to see what she does next, and what the next author will do with this series.

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