Want to read my book review of Along Came a Wolf (Book 1 of The Yellow Hoods), of Breadcrumb Trail (Book 2 of The Yellow Hoods)/Snappy & Dashing (A Yellow Hoods Companion Tale, #1), or of All the King’s-Men (Book 3 of the Yellow Hoods) first? Click a link and enjoy!
Just released on October 10, 2015, author Adam Dreece’s fourth novel-length ebook installment of The Yellow Hoods series adds another layer of intrigue and adventure to his YA fantasy series. Set in an alternate-earth world (Eorthe), The Yellow Hoods series combines nursery rhymes and nascent steampunk with exciting results. While this fourth novel in The Yellow Hoods series is not as polished as Breadcrumb Trail or All the King’s-Men, Beauties of the Beast delivers another thrilling emergent steampunk tale for Dreece’s smart teen audience.
Chaos reigns as two families battle for dominance over the future of Eorthe. The Lady in Red has sundered Marcus Pieman’s designs for a technological future guided by Marcus and his family, and it appears she’s about to win it all. Villains become heroes; heroes become villains; the game board is set for The Lady in Red’s definitive defeat of a ragtag group of scientists-in-hiding. As the players from the previous novel both recover from and react to the events of Breadcrumb Trail and All the King’s-Men, all are drawn into this grand game. Superior technology is the key to The Lady in Red’s bid for world domination. With Marcus Pieman missing, the heroes’ courage and cleverness are the only defenses against Eorthe being overrun by mad (and madcap) science.
Adam Dreece’s Beauties of the Beast is richly populated with characters a reader can care about. Characters aren’t simply set onto teams of “good guys”, “bad guys”, and “other guys”. Redemption or repudiation are tied to individuals’ decisions based on both their core values and their experiences. Beauties of the Beast sets more foundation and motivation for characters’ loyalty shifts or decisions to stand firm to their principles. The stories of Dreece’s many players interweave with others often unexpectedly; individual journeys become shared journeys over the course of Beauties of the Beast.
The plot flows expertly, moving straight out of All the King’s-Men into Beauties of the Beast. Though Beauties of the Beast is written in vignettes that follow one or more characters, author Adam Dreece’s use of shifting points-of-view holds together as it has in his previous Yellow Hoods novels. it is a stand-alone novel enhanced by the previous books.
As much as I love Beauties of the Beast–and I do!–I was distracted by unexpected punctuation, syntax, and typographical errors. This is surprising, considering how polished the rest of Adam Dreece’s Yellow Hoods series is. I understand the conundrum as a published indie author: Publish or perish isn’t just for academic writers. Publishing on a six-month schedule is agonizing, but independent authors get lost in a very big crowd if we don’t knock out books like creative-writing machines attached to printing presses. Despite technical errors that make the reading experience a little rocky, Beauties of the Beast is snugged up tight with Breadcrumb Trail and All the King’s-Men as a fully-developed story worth reading and re-reading.
While I hoped to see more of the Nikolas Klaus-Marcus Pieman story line in Beauties of the Beast, their absence as core players in Beauties of the Beast works. Their shared cliffhanger in All the King’s-Men is life-and-death memorable, and I craved that denouement as soon as I started reading Beauties of the Beast. In Adam Dreece’s world of Eorthe, Nikolas Klaus and Marcus Pieman are larger-than-life individuals and catalysts for massive change. The other characters develop and evolve on their own in Beauties of the Beast, even as their concern over Nikolas Klaus and Marcus Pieman is obvious. Once the Klaus-Pieman cliffhanger in All the King’s-Men is resolved in Beauties of the Beast, it does not disappoint. From those scenes, I predict Book 5 of The Yellow Hoods series is going to be an event.
Author Adam Dreece’s Beauties of the Beast (Book 4 of the Yellow Hoods series) prepares the reader for the next installment in the Yellow Hoods tapestry and fits in neatly with this epic young-adult series. The Yellow Hoods series, which started as a mid-grade galloping adventure, developed quickly into an exciting series for its smart adolescent audience. Like its prequels, Beauties of the Beast is a fantastic, rollicking ride through the emergent steampunk genre. Adam Dreece’s mash-up of Mother Goose and machine gears is still both playful and intelligent, and Beauties of the Beast is a worthy addition to The Yellow Hoods series.
Four toothed, brass gears out of five.
The Yellow Hoods series is one to collect, read, and reread. I recommend it as a holiday or birthday gift for kids and grandkids–or even a gift for one’s self. Click the photograph to go to The Yellow Hoods store, where author-signed copies can be purchased.