Title: The Beast and the Bethany | Author: Jack Meggit-Phillips | Publisher: Egmont UK | Genre: Middlegrade | 256 pages
I was very excited to join the WriteReads gang for my very first blog tour. Turns out, my debut blogtour book was right up my alley.
What is this book about?
Ebenezer Tweezer is a youthful 511-year-old. He keeps a beast in the attic of his mansion, who he feeds all manner of things (including performing monkeys, his pet cat and the occasional cactus) and in return the beast vomits out presents for Ebenezer, as well as potions which keep him young and beautiful. But the beast grows ever greedier, and soon only a nice, juicy child will do. So when Ebenezer encounters orphan Bethany, it seems like (everlasting) life will go on as normal. But Bethany is not your average orphan . . .
What did I think about the book?
I have to admit, “The Beast and the Bethany” is different than what I had expected. Of course, by now I’m not even sure anymore what I expected. The book has sweeped me off my feet and now I could not imagine it any different from what I got.
The main character Ebenezer Tweezer is a self-centered, egoistical and unlikable protagonist and it was great fun seeing him cope with his own emotions and conscience and the unruly orphan Bethany who is just as unlikable, egoistical and misbehaving like Ebenezer.
It was great to see how Ebenezer changes during the course of the book. Even though he is pretty obnoxious and oblivious to anything but his own selfish needs, I still found him very likable.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t say the same thing about Bethany. While I know the whole purpose of the book was that Bethany was mean and misbehaved and just bratty, I still couldn’t bring myself to care too much about her.
I did understand why Ebenezer started to care for her, though, and I was very pleased with the ending of the book. You can watch the character development unfold as the story progesses and that was very satisfying.
The titular beast was mean and gross and I loved it. It was delightfully nasty and it was so much fun watching it slobber and sweat and be gross.
The book itself was fast-paced and fun. I basically flew through the pages and was sad when it was over. I could have read so many more pages of Ebenezer and Bethany’s highjinks. The writing style was quirky and had the right kind of flow. The themes and topics of the book were rather clear and straightforward but I didn’t feel preached at.
Some praise must be sung for the illustrations as well. The images are funny and lovely and I loved looking out for little details.
All in all, this book was a great and fast read. It had a ton of nasty characters with bad manners and bad attitude but that was one of the things that made this book so much fun. It’s just something new and different in my opinion. The plot didn’t feel like something I’ve read so many times before which made it wonderfully refreshing as well.
I am already looking forward to the sequel and this book is not even out yet. In the end, I’ve had a great time reading it, no matter how I felt about some smaller things and although it’s a book for younger children, I’ve had some very grown-up ponderings about it. That’s one more reason to love it.
Read this book when:
- you want to read something funny and fast-paced
- you want to read something different and new
- you usually love the bad guys more than the good guys
- you wanna feel good about yourself and your impeccable manners
Who made this book see the light of day?
Publisher: Egmont Books. Which has brought many books I like into this world, in case you were wondering.
Author: Jack Meggitt Phillips is an incredibly exciting new talent. He is an author, scriptwriter and playwright whose work has been performed at The Roundhouse and featured on Radio 4. He is scriptwriter and presenter of The History of Advertising podcast. In his mind, Jack is an enormously talented ballroom dancer, however his enthusiasm far surpasses his actual talent. Jack lives in north London where he spends most of his time drinking peculiar teas and reading PG Wodehouse novels.
Illustrator: Isabelle Follath is an illustrator who has worked in advertising, fashion magazines and book publishing, but her true passion lies in illustrating children’s books. She also loves drinking an alarming amount of coffee, learning new crafts and looking for the perfect greenish-gold colour. Isabelle lives in Zurich, Switzerland.
Of course! Thank you for giving me this opportunity, Dave. (It was my first blog tour and you made it special.) Also to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.