Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
DNF @ 42%
There is one fundamental problem in Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge for me, and it can be boiled down to a simple principle; and yet I realize that it's not as simple at the same time.
Trigger warning: an act of rape is the primary focus in this story (and is detailed out in the story) and this act is the focus of the discussion below.
Falling in Love
I believe that people can genuinely fall in love with a captor (above and beyond Stockholm syndrome). I also believe that people can fall in love with someone that they saw as evil or abhorrent at some point. Redemption is possible in many situations. However, there is a line for me. I can't scientifically quantify where that line is necessarily. And so, what follows is merely my opinion for which you can take or leave.
What is too far?
I think there are two distinct scenarios in which most people will never be able to forgive someone:
1) Deliberate Rape,
2) Deliberate Death of Loved One (be it parent, child, spouse, etc.).
When I refer to deliberate what I mean is that it's done: without influence of drugs, alcohol, etc., with all mental facilities in place, with the knowledge of what they were doing and how it would affect the victim or victim's loved ones. This is an important distinction in our law today and one I believe in.
So, in Beast we are given to believe that after a deliberate vicious rape, that takes the virginity of our lead gal, that it's possible for her to 'forgive' him.
Here's my problem with that, for pages after pages our leading lady talks about loathing Beast. She talks about her need/desire for revenge or vengeance. She is thrilled when he is cursed to be the Beast and derives pleasure from his pain.
Yet, we are to believe that however many chapters later that our leading lady forgives Beast? Really Lisa Jensen? This is just too far for me. I feel it's a slap in the face to victims of awful crimes and, for me, shows a lack of understanding of the emotional, mental and physical destruction a virgin rape could cause.
Given the descriptions included in the novel I just don't see any way a girl, unless afflicted by Stockholm syndrome or an equal mental illness, would ever be able to love the person that did this to her. It's dangerously close to the circle/cycle of violence that many end up in. It seems to me that the idea of love is being misappropriated here.
To be clear, that's not to say that S&M culture is included in this analysis. It's not. I myself am not opposed to pain at times. BUT, there is a difference between consensual understanding and vicious rape. There is a clear difference for me and I feel that this is not that instance (no matter what is written in the book after I stopped reading).
Given that the writing is nothing special, our character descriptions are okay and the dialogue is fairly average this would never be a stunning novel (even with the attack taken out).
Unfortunately, the only thing that stands out for me is the idea of our leading lady forgiving and loving Beast. While I did not read the book to completion there is just no explanation (including magic) that I can believe that would allow this type of forgiveness to happen. Some victims are able to forgive their abuser in some way; but I have not heard of one who legitimately falls in love with them without some concerns about what is being defined as love. It's just too far and so is a deal breaker for me.
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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