Published: February 14, 2021
I received a copy of this book from Beena in exchange for an honest review.
Beena Khan lives in New York City. She is 27 years old and from Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. She currently holds a master’s degree in Developmental Psychology. She enjoys reading, writing, and Netflixing. She published her debut novel at the age of 26. She writes edgy romance novels.
“Having a witness was always messy.”
Dahlia has lived a life no one should ever be subjected to. She has fought for everything she has, and she has seen more brutality in her short years than is fair. But one night, simply being in the wrong place and the wrong time leads her to an entire world she never imagined being apart of. Vlad is the Don of one of the five mobster families in New York. His life is lavish, and he is used to getting what he wants. When Dahlia crosses his path, he wants to claim her. But at what cost?
Holy buckets!! This book was insane. As someone who has been reading Beena’s books from the beginning, I have to start this review by praising how far she has come with her writing. There is such confidence and such a dynamic elegance to every book she has written. And her books indeed keep getting better and better. I loved her Red series; the characters were so profoundly complex and well defined. Their situations were all so unique and well crafted. She fused different cultures, ethnicities, and societal issues so beautifully. As a woman of color, Beena has genuinely been a beacon of positivity and light in bringing focus to serious topics subjects. She has also intertwined so much cultural diversity within her stories that you are being educated without realizing it. Beena has taught me so much about cultures and people, and I am proof of her as an author and a woman. She is going to be the voice of our generation, and I am here for it.
This is a modern retelling of a tale as old as time, Beauty and the Beast. As a child, I always loved Belle because she was smart and uninterested in being objectified by Gaston. She repeatedly rebuffed his buffoonish attempts at claiming her. This story is much darker than the Disney movie we are all so familiar with. But the representation is there. I loved the character development. The growth and emotional arc the characters experience are so well crafted, and the power dynamic is well played.
The themes that are monumental in this book are also brilliantly executed. Beena has never been afraid to tackle difficult subjects or shine a light on serious issues, and this book is no exception. There is strong coverage of sexual assault, rape, abuse within the foster care system, and violence. And, remarkably, Beena isn’t just throwing these things around for an exciting plot, she develops these issues so intricately, and she takes her characters through the entire spectrum of feelings and emotions. The justice she serves by not shying away from actual serious problems is brilliant.
As I was reading this book, many of Dahlia’s inner monologue struck me as bananas; here she is living with a Don of a powerful mob family. A man is known for his brutality and cruelty, yet she is determined to see more in him. Their love story was unexpected and tragically beautiful.
The twist, though. I 100% did not see it coming. Beena has once again left me completely speechless. The end of this book blew my mind. And the lead up for the next book in the series was excellent. This is such a dark, bold, sexy, charming retelling of a classic story, and I cannot wait for the next book.
Thank you so much, Beena, for continuing to take a chance on me and allow me to read for you. Your talent so blows me away. You get better and better with each book you write, and you have grown immensely as an author. This book was incredible.
Find A Beauty So Cruel by Beena Khan on Amazon.