The Silver Arm: A Science Fiction Retelling of Beauty and the Beast (Rove City Book 3)

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3 Stars

It’s safe to say that I enjoyed this one just as much as the first one in this series. I haven’t read the second one yet, but we’ll get to that later. The plot flowed well; the characters were developed enough to understand. And who doesn’t like a little bit of spaceship romance. Unfortunately, even though I did like it the issues in this one made it more of a 3 than a four.

The first issue with this one was the whole beast angle. He wasn’t beastly enough. His motives for abducting Belle’s father were just enough for even Belle to agree with. Even though the beast did shout at her during the story he was also nice in the same breath. As far as beauty and the beast goes, I actually liked him. Unfortunately, the justification of the bargain to keep Belle on the ship compiled with him not being completely awful to her didn’t give that fulfilment of him not knowing how to connect with humans and gradually growing trust and telling her what he needs. This was made worse by the fact of him not telling her. This was probably some sort of attempt to keep readers in suspense but ultimately it was all this ‘why does he have her trapped on a ship when he’s going to be dead in three days’ then he ultimately can’t even come out with it. It read like the only reason for this to happen was for the Beast’s sister to have a breakdown for dramatic effect. It didn’t really work. Even in the Disney version we know that the beast has to make Belle love him before the last petal falls. The not knowing takes away from the sense of urgency to get something from her. Honestly, I forgot there was some ulterior motive.

Next the whole Belle and Gabor thing. Sigh. Her sister is 15 Gabor is 25 (I think). The very idea that she wouldn’t sit down with her sister and explain the whole predator thing to her is odd. Compile that with the fact that as her guardian since their dad is missing, she is in the perfect position to lock her in her room for a day. So she’d hate her but she’d get over it. Or not. Whatever. At least she’d have protected her from a creep for one day. Even Gabor isn’t crazy enough, from what I can tell, to kidnap someone who is not of age. It’s just so many shades of odd that when given the choice to protect her sister from a predator or go find her father she leaves not one, but both of her siblings, one who is only ten, behind and Gabor knows she left them. She has no idea where her father is, if he is even alive, or how long it will take to retrieve him but she left two underaged children alone to traverse the emptiness of space. It’s a hard line to reasonably get on board with.

Then there was the other thing. Belle overhears the Beast and his sister conversing about him not being alive in three days. Then she spends the three days wondering why her three-day deal is so important. Death is a really hard thing to forget and it was the first conversation she heard before running to save her father. Again, going back to the romanticised Disney version, because we spend time in the other characters’ views the story benefits from the heightened urgency of the petal dying and him being a beast forever. This story would’ve benefited greatly from his point of view. Conversations with his sister about how time is running out, there’s a clock counting down, and how he needs to sort out his arm situation. It would’ve given his and Belle’s time together more energy if readers had more information on his impending doom and the need to earn Belles’s trust to see if she could help him. And plot spoiler, once this bomb is dropped of course she says her expertise is in another area. All this reading not even knowing what the problem was only to find out the problem and this info within the same chapter, maybe even the same page. Can’t remember.

This brings me to the next bit of info. So this silver arm is living metal, okay. So was the beast missing an arm? Did the queen cut it off? Why is an assassin only good for 10 years? That’s real short. Like professionals stay in the game for decades. It’s a lucrative business and unless they aren’t good at the job, why bother with getting rid of them? That and why does the queen even have a squad of assassins on a floating city? I was under the impression she was an okay human. After the first book with the whole looking for new pilots no matter how poor they are was a pretty noble and good queen move. Killing assassins after 10 years and chopping off their arms, Gabor becomes one and I know he has both so there’s no way he got a new arm without losing the old one, doesn’t fit the first book impression I had of her so what happened in book two? And the whole ranking system that was introduced is nowhere in this book but it was made to seem your online numbers were the end all to be all in the first book. Where did all that go? Also, if Gabor is 25 and he just became an assassin he can be one till 35 before the queen offs him. Why then is the Beast, at 25, done since he started at 15 if it’s totally okay for someone to be a queens puppet until 35? Just too many questions around this silver arm thing unanswered which is odd since it’s literally in the title.

This book was fun enough to recommend. But the growth between Belle and the Beast didn’t exactly happen because they spent so little time together. This was also directly affected by sticking to formula and only telling the story through Belles perspective when a Beast perspective would’ve really upped the tension and anticipation. The Gabor angle didn’t quite fit either. Ultimately this story had all the set-up for something that could’ve read like a 5-star story but unlike the first in the series none of this quite made it to the payoff and then, unfortunately, the quick sudden ending happened and it was more annoying than surprising. Mostly because her father knows she’s free in three days so the only possible way for Gabor to even know what was going on is if he suddenly woke up and thought ‘I want to be an assassin’ and I find it hard to believe the queen just magically picked him at his age when she chose the beast at 15. It was just all sorts of convenient. All of these things, unfortunately, made it hard for me to more than like this story.

That being said, having read a lot of books it still reads like a story most will enjoy and ignore the flaws in for that emotional experience. But it definitely did not fit the bill of a retelling of the popular version of Beauty and the beast for me.

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