A retelling that I recommend. In fact, almost any retelling I would recommend from this author. She makes it a completely different story but still decent, and one that you will enjoy with her careful research, her descriptions and her characters.
Hana, one again I could feel her struggle. She is still blaming herself for her father’s death and did everything for it, such as taking on all the roles regardless of gender. Which to me is a sign of strength, you don’t find her complaining or even loathing her father for it. She is just doing all she can for the family, which to me felt connectable with the traditions and expectations.
As for Itsuki, I do admit that this was actually someone that managed to find his own mistakes. Even if he didn’t do anything to prevent it, and really reflected about his own deeds. And he’s a male character that had done wrong and admitted it, and at least saw where he went wrong in. Also he shared some points with the original beast in beauty and the beast. Both were arrogant and felt entitled.
As for the yuki-onna. I do like the curse that she laid upon them, her anger all she felt was realistic to me. And I might be thinking about the snow queen, seeing as how they are basically equivalents though I wonder whether the author might head in that direction next. After all, all her retellings have been on point and taking a twist with the actual characters. Hana is not a beauty, but she is a strong and self-reliant young woman although she did not read as much as Belle did.
As for the retelling, the villagers are the servants of the house, all cursed upon with them just that they tend to be more cowardly. And the curse itself, laid by Oyuki can be quite similar to what the Beast he himself had done. Although the snow maiden and a witch is quite far apart.
But I did enjoy the slow pace as it allowed me to grasp on Hana, and the story being a lot more on her development since she runs most of the changes. What happens later with her and the villagers have to be one of the best quotes in the book so far yet. As well as with Oyuki. And her goal to save her father from her own family. That had been what she had done as well.
As for the ending, it is perfect. Tied up all loose holes and left everything as it is. But not without a nice ending that I enjoyed.
Overall, I recommend this to those who have been fascinated with Japanese culture and always have been frustrated with the inaccuracies of certain books. And also, those who love retellings and want to see a feminist character that doesn’t whine to you about her life.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5