Unearthly (Beauty and her Alien, Book One), by Katie Jane Gallagher
Hey guys, how have you been?
Today, I’m excited to be reviewing Unearthly (Beauty and her Alien, Book One), by talented author, Katie Jane Gallagher.
So, if you’ve got your favourite drink to hand and are all settled in, let’s begin.
Set in the snowy town of Wakpa, Montana, USA, twenty-three year old shop worker Corinne is fed up with boyfriend Joe and subsequently dumps him. However, when her father fails to return from a hunt, Corinne grows worried and goes to find him, only to encounter an alien ship and creature on board. Finding her father imprisoned on the ship, Corinne promises to stay in his stead if he is freed. Her offer is quickly accepted.
Corinne soon grows bored of spending her days alone on the ship and demands to get to know her kidnapper ‘Del’ better. As the pair get better acquainted, romantic feelings begin to swirl within Corinne, taking her by surprise.
For the sake of brevity, I’ve chosen to focus on the four driving characters of the story.
Corinne Kaminski, twenty-three, works at a kayak and ski shop in her home town of Wakpa. Her mother passed away when she was still quite young, impacting her painfully as she grew up. She lives with her loving father and until recently was dating local heartthrob, Joe (a modern day Gaston from Beauty and the Beast.) Over the course of the story Corinne proved herself to be curious and brave, taking unexpected surprises in her stride and using her intelligence and resourcefulness to see her way through trying situations. She had a memorable narrative voice, one I found myself listening to for hours in my head. There was also a subtle realism to her that helped to make her experiences come alive.
Joe, a twenty-seven year old modern day Gaston immediately struck me as the type of guy who hasn’t been told no a lot in his life. He had an air of entitlement to him, as though anything he wanted should effortlessly become his. The way he treated Corinne in this respect had me cringing and empathizing with her on a deeper level. Joe was charismatic and charming in his own way, as well as being successful, however he was also narcissistic and borderline obsessive over Corinne. It was easy to side against him as he represented a sort of anchor in Corinne’s life, one which was suffocating her and needed to be let go.
Del, the beastly master of an alien ship initially appeared the same way the Beast does in the beloved Disney classic; as closed off and somewhat fierce, with a temper that would easily drive a young woman like Corinne away. He is powerfully built, intimidating, and regal in his posture. We later learn that he is the Heir-apparent to his nation and so my initial regal impression came to make sense. Throughout the story, he proves to be more reasonable than I initially thought, granting Corinne’s requests and making the effort to get to know her when asked. I honestly went from being afraid of him, to shifting emotions around him just as Corinne did. In this regard, the author did a wonderful job having Corinne’s emotions transfer to the reader.
Finally, we come to Joanna, the alien ship’s Artificial Intelligence; a truly futuristic Mrs Potts type character. Joanna wasn’t what I had expected. When I think of AI, I think of cold, overly robotic sentient beings with no ounce of empathy or humour. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to find that Joanna was very humanistic, with a wonderful sense of humour and a helpful and compassionate nature. I loved how her different moods were captured through shifting coloured fractals on the walls of the ship. One particular thing which tickled me was her self-proclaimed, ‘At heart, I’m what you call an introvert.’ This endeared me to her right away and only added to her growing sense of humanity, despite her AI state.
I’m not sure where to begin with the number of positives there were to Unearthly. However, as usual I have included a bulleted list below of the things that stood out to me most.
- Corinne’s personality shines through the book’s narrative style, allowing you to get to know her on a deeper level.
- Deep emotions are conveyed between characters, with tension effortlessly built into the story’s scenes.
- The story’s plot and characters were equally well-developed. Unearthly was a great, creative re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, with an Alien abduction twist.
- Each main event was carefully detailed. We learn more about the two main characters, Corinne and Del, and see their budding friendship developing gradually throughout the scenes. Their relations went from icy and guarded, to warm and friendly, even romantic.
- I particularly enjoyed the kayaking scene with Del and Corinne. There was a wonderful sense of adventure, excitement, and bonding to this scene.
- Finally, I loved seeing how Del and Corinne grew closer over time; how they came to learn each-other’s secrets, to confide and trust in one-another. This was beautifully executed and warmed my heart.
One quote stood out to me throughout my reading experience.
1) ‘If there’s one thing I hate, it’s people who nod along to what you’re saying and don’t hear a single word.’
In this instance, Corinne was referring to Joe’s character and how, no matter what she said, he maintained the delusion that she would be his.
This quote deeply resonated with me as there have been times in my own life when I’ve tried to make things clear to someone, only to have them wilfully ignore every word. Because of this, I found myself more connected to Corinne once I saw this quote.
I think a lot of people can probably relate to this quote on some level as we all just want to be heard in life.
Overall, I found Unearthly to be an enchanting and gripping sci-fi retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The characters were relatable, and their emotions came to life on the page, providing me with a powerful reading experience. Themes includes difference, romance, and the supernatural.
My rating: 5 stars.
Recommended to: lovers of fairy tale retellings with a cool sci-fi twist.
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