Scales : A Fresh Telling of Beauty and the Beast
Overview - Princess Eleanora is very different from her younger sister, Oralia. While Oralia is golden-haired, sprightly and adored by all the men of the kingdom, Eleanora is ebony-haired and dark-eyed, and even-keeled. Wandering musician Amber of the Lute glimpses that difference right away-and his laughter and color bring out a sparkle in Eleanora. Read more...
More About Scales by Alydia Rackham; Hannah Segura
Princess Eleanora is very different from her younger sister, Oralia. While Oralia is golden-haired, sprightly and adored by all the men of the kingdom, Eleanora is ebony-haired and dark-eyed, and even-keeled. Wandering musician Amber of the Lute glimpses that difference right away-and his laughter and color bring out a sparkle in Eleanora. But this arouses vicious jealousy in Oralia, who acquires and casts a terrible spell on her sister-one that twists both the body and the mind. A spell that can only be broken by one who can see into Eleanora's heart, and love her enough to set her free. Excerpt from Chapter Nine: "All the way across the roof, near the foot of the opposite tower, stood a person. Full in the waning white moonlight. Her face tilted toward the shrouded sky. The light shimmered against her smooth, fine scales, making them look like liquid silver, and it softened the slender curves of her body. The fans near her face had calmed, and rested against the sides of her neck. Her large eyes reflected a luminous shine as she gazed, unblinking, at the moon. Watching it withdraw behind the clouds. The black shadow of the tower fell across her long, sweeping tail. Thus, from where Amber stood, he could have mistaken her for a pale young woman dressed in blues and whites. Except for the bearing of her features. Her gaze-vacant. Barren as a waterless sea. Her mouth-incapable of speech, of smiling or frowning. Her expression blank, and immovable. She stared, without pondering. No thought lived behind those eyes, or flickered at the corners of those lips. A silver serpent. Still and silent as ice. Inhuman as stone." Reader Review from Patreon: "The subtlety here is wonderful - nothing seems overdone and like any good fairytale, the familiar elements allow us to take a shortcut to the core of the story. We're all familiar with jealous suitors and jealous siblings and handsome men with flashing blue eyes, but from poor Ailse to Amber (who listens better than he claims to), you can feel a sort of presence underneath their actions... something that is thinking very fast to reconcile the past and the future and move the people around them to the right places. Of course Oralia is the shining example here, pushing off her suitors on her sister when she doesn't want them and picking them up again when she needs to make someone jealous, but what is she really after? She surely knows the obstacles to marrying a minstrel, and she of all people seems likely to go after power, not talent. Sir Roderick thinks he knows how to drive Amber away from Oralia and have her to himself, but does he understand how Oralia works at all? And then there's Ele, and somehow by being her quiet, reserved self she manages to have a good old time in her simple dress with her enchanting minstrel friend. I was expecting her to be at the center of some sort of disaster at the feast, but she knows herself and her sister too well for that. I'm also impressed by her mother's choice to let her have her independence and not force her to play to her sister's whims. This whole cast looks to be a shade quicker on the uptake than your average fantasy court - another thing I always liked about the old fairytales. I can't wait to meet the witches and see these clever people put to the test " -Melissa