The beast has the finest house in the land.The Beast and the Bethany (Jack Meggitt-Phillips)
It’s so tall and long and terribly grand.
Even the Queen, with her palace so wide,
Couldn’t compete with the beast if she tried.
The beast has a face, so useful and round.
With three eyes to make sure lost things are found,
And two tongues for licking all it can find,
The beast is quite clearly one of a kind.”
Those of you who have read my blog posts for a while know that I love a good monster story. In fact, I’m really a sucker for any story with a creepy creature with a dribbling mouth and a taste for human flesh. But, I’m also pretty squeamish. So, I like my monsters with as little blood and guts as possible. And with a side of dark humor, if at all possible. Add in a lovable jerk (more on that in a moment), a child, and I’m pretty much guaranteed to enjoy it. So, of course, you can imagine how excited I was to get my hands on the series I’d like to talk to you about today: The Beast and the Bethany!
Ebenezer Tweezer is 511 years old. And that’s thanks to the beast that lives in his attic. In exchange for feeding the beast, Ebenezer is given presents, ranging from self-decorating Christmas trees and baby grand pianos to special potions that keep him looking young and handsome. It’s a pretty good deal, right? Sometimes, the beast has special requests for its meals (this takes a little extra effort on Ebenezer’s part), but generally, life is pretty simple. But, when Ebenezer’s 512th birthday approaches and he finds those pesky wrinkles cropping up around his eyes, he learns to his horror that that beast won’t fulfill his request for a potion, until he brings it a very special meal. This time, the beast wants to eat a juicy child.
Ebenezer Tweezer is rotten, selfish, and petty (my favorite kind of character!), but even he balks at the idea of feeding a child to the beast. But, no child means no youth potion. And no youth potion means that Ebenezer is going to die (and that of course, is unthinkable). So, in order to soothe his aching conscience, he decides to find a child so incredibly rotten that she deserves to be eaten. Enter Bethany. She’s a rotten, smart-mouthed little brat who hits people with her slingshot and sticks worms up their noses. The perfect main course for the beast!
Or, so it seems. Despite his most dastardly intentions, Ebenezer finds himself feeling a little guilty. And when he’s forced to spend a few days fattening Bethany up, he finds himself becoming rather fond of her. Could it be that he’s actually enjoying Bethany’s company? And if he actually wants to be friends with her, then what does he feed to the beast?
As of this writing, there are three books in the series with a fourth on the way. These stories are just the right delicious blend of dark humor and scares, making for a story that will leave readers of all ages glued to the page (but won’t cause nightmares). If you enjoy a well-paced page turner with characters you can’t help but root for, then this is the book for you.
I’d love to give you a taste of what happens in the later adventures, but I’m afraid to say too much and give it away. So, let’s just say that there are two (to three) more adventures, in Revenge of the Beast, Battle of the Beast, and (eventually) The Child of the Beast (which as of this writing is only available in the UK) for the reader who finds that the first book has only whetted their appetite, leaving them hungry for more.
Also, this is one of the few books that I almost insist that you check out with the audio. I popped in my headphones and read read along with Barnaby Edwards’ narration and have no regrets. In fact, I’d argue quite strongly that it enhanced my reading experience. So, definitely consider getting the books on audio, too!