**3.5-stars rounded up**
I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast Is Me is a debut YA Horror novel from Jamison Shea.
This story explores the uber-competitive world of professional dance; specifically, ballet. The setting is Paris and our MC, Laure Mesny, is just finishing up her training and is beginning her professional career.
Even though she has consistently been top in her class, Laure is constantly overlooked and she feels like she can never stop proving herself.
As a Black girl in a vastly White girl profession, Laure doesn’t fit the mold of what society expects its ballerinas to look like. Because of this, she has to fight extra hard for every achievement. She’s used to it, but that doesn’t make it less emotionally draining.
Unbeknownst to her, Laure is about to find a way to change her position. She’s going to gain a power that will help her achieve everything she’s ever dreamed of.
Lured by a new friend, Laure ventures deep into the heart of the infamous Paris Catacombs and strikes a deal with a primordial river of blood.
((Cue Danse Macabre))
As she passes her bitter peers is status and fame, Laure keeps in mind the way they treated her before. She hasn’t forgotten and trust, she certainly hasn’t forgiven.
She’s not the only one with claws though and these dancers are willing to fight back. How far will Laure go, and what price is she willing to pay, to achieve ultimate power?
I liked this. I think as a debut this shows a lot of promise. The topics explored were compelling and the level of creativity was impressive.
I did find some areas of the narrative to be a little confusing, particularly in the second half and there were moments that slowed way down, which I didn’t find quite as interesting.
Overall, I do think this is a strong debut though. The descriptions were vivid and I enjoyed going along with Laure on her journey. She did undergo quite a transformation over the course of the story.
There is a romantic subplot that I could have done without as well. I would have preferred if it had remained focused on ambition and the relationship dynamics between the female characters, but that is 100%-personal taste.
I would be interested to see, if there is another book, where it goes from here. There’s definitely a lot of possibilities following this ending.
Thank you to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m looking forward to reading more from Jamison Shea!!