by A.Z. Green

5 out of 5

The bloody, raw meat was tantalizing her; calling to her. She hated it and yearned for it all at once.
Stop, she ordered. What are you doing?!
So hungryyyyy, snarled a primal voice deep within her.
Don’t you dare! she screamed back.
But the primal hunger ignored her pleas and took over her body, forcing her rational voice deep within the crevices of her mind.

What would you do if you discovered you weren't human? That you turned into a bloodthirsty monster against your will?
What if your instincts, emotions and desires were torn between your own and the dark, dangerous animal lurking inside of you?
If it could make you yearn for someone you shouldn't, make you say and act in ways you wouldn't and overwhelm your whole existence?
If everything you'd ever known about your life was a lie?

In a world where a deeply hidden community is swathed in mystery, deadly secrets, betrayal and murder, Jaz Barker struggles to fight against the dangerous Beast within her and the emotions and desires it thrusts her way.

When tensions ride high and people she cares about are put in danger, she will have to decide how much of her newly awakened animal-side she's willing to let in.

And if it is worth the risk...

Jaz is content with her lot in life, she has reasonably normal parents and a small but loyal group of friends.
Even with her severe iron deficiency that leaves her struggling with fatigue and on pills for the rest of her life is ok.  The nightmares and regular visits to a therapist means that her life is far from perfect, but Jaz has accepted all of this, and is making the most of her life.
Until she is kidnapped and dragged into a world of Weres and shifters she never knew existed.

I thought this book was fantastic and thought-provoking.  Oh, and not for the faint-hearted; if you want a cozy read, go elsewhere.
I realise that I have a habit of giving slightly shorter reviews when I actually like a book, because I'll let you in on a little secret - sometimes I struggle to explain what I like about a book without giving away plot and details, I like the idea of the reader going through the same process as me.
But with Beasthood, Green has given more to like than just the story itself.

First of all, the originality.  Yes, this book feels like something original and new in a category that is currently overflowing.  There's a lot of love for werewolves, paranormal, and paranormal romance at the moment.  But Green throws all that away and doesn't allow herself to be influenced by current trends.  This.  Is.  Original.

I also love how dark this story is.  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't class it as a horror, but it feels real.  Which is a refreshing change after all the eye-roll-inducing fluffy pieces where girl meets bad wolf, is terrified + fight (a.k.a. sexual tension) = rainbows.
When Jaz is kidnapped, it is a completely terrifying experience.  She is drugged and examined, and the whole scene made me sick.  At no point does Green romanticise something as terrible as kidnapping.

Jaz is a great character.  She's falling into a crazy world,  with new politics and rules that she can barely grasp; instead of curling up into a ball crying, she survives with a quiet (sometimes not so quiet!) strength.
Her human moralities and upbringing casts the world of Weres in a very harsh and unforgiving light.  She sees them as the monsters they are, and she's in no rush to join them.  She is truly repulsed by what's inside of her.

The "romance".  Yes, there is the romantic aspect of the "creepy but hot" Driver, a guy that unsettles Jaz and not in a good way.  Add the fact that he was involved in her kidnapping, and has the brutish Were morality mind-set (plus some other negative tidbits); you have a very unappealing hero.
There were times that I held my breath, wondering if Beasthood would copy so many paranormal romances where the woman overlooks all the flaws to be so totally in love.  All I can say is congratulations on that front; the outcome was more than satisfactory!

The not-so-brilliant bits:
The major issue I had that dropped it a star, was with the flow of the story.  The chapters jumped around on the timeline - sometimes I felt for no real reason.
One moment you're with Jaz today; the next you're with her aunt last year.  One moment you're with Fraya next week; the next with Jaz "the evening before".
Primarily, I found it hard to work out what day it was.  The chapters are titled with "the day before", but it didn't always click with me the day before what, until halfway through the chapter.
I understand the author wants to add a bit of background, and that certain information should only come to light at certain points; but it just broke the flow for me.

Ok, so anyways, this comes out at about a 4-4.5 for a cracking debut... Oh hell, let's round this up to a nice 5.  It is a very confident piece for a new author and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series!

Goodreads link


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