The Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received this free eARC novel from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.
Alys lives in a village and she goes through her everyday routine. But when it comes time to go to bed, she never wants to sleep. She wants to explore outside and see what is going on out there. One night she actually decides to go outside, defying her parents rules. On the one night that she goes against them, she meets the soul eaters - two sisters who take the souls out of humans - but more specifically adults.
The sisters see Alys and talk to her, but walk past her. Alys doesn't know what they are doing, but the next thing she remembers is waking up outside in a field of grass. She meets a traveller named Pawl and he gives her a ride back to her village. When they get there, though, all of the adults are dead with soulless eyes and all of the children are in a very deep sleep.
Pawl takes Alys to the next village closest to her home and the people of their village decide to take in all of the children since they are orphans. Alys doesn't want to stay in a village with a new family, where she is told to call them Mother and Father. She wants to go with Paul and be a traveller because she likes the way that Pawl respected her.
The children of her real home are treated like outcasts in their new village and are made to be the protectors of the village. They have to guard the Gate to let everyone know if the soul eater sisters are coming, to better prepare everyone to take shelter when they arrive. Alys and the rest of the children are to do this during the night, and have a rotating schedule. They sleep during the day and stay up all night walking the perimeter.
The one secret that Alys never told anyone was that she met the Beast - the creature that is trying to stop the soul eaters. Except that everyone thinks the Beast and the soul eaters are working together. And Alys will never tell anyone about how she felt when she saw the soul eaters the night they killed her real mom and dad...
But eventually Alys's secrets comes out and the townspeople claim her as a witch. With the help of many close friends, she is able to escape the town before they kill her, but she is not able to escape the change that is happening inside of her. Alys needs to confront what is really going on with her before it consumes her and everyone that she loves.
This book has a very "old style" feel to it. The setting alone makes this feel like a book from the past time, rather than the present or future. With the village and not having electricity. I don't read too many books like these, but I was pleasantly surprised about how much I enjoyed this book. It was a bit stiff in some areas and it definitely took me a little longer to read than normal, but I enjoyed the story and the character development that the reader got with Alys.
I was a bit confused when I first started reading because Alys was only 7 years old and I knew this was a YA novel. But after the first couple of parts to the books, I realized the author was going through many years of Alys's life.
This is something that I will definitely recommend to other readers because it has a lot of growth and depth to the story. It's not like the normal YA novels that have been published recently where they are fluffy and fun, but it has a lot about life and decisions and growing up.
I'm very glad that I got an eARC of this book and it will definitely stick in my mind for many years to come!
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