Bastien (The Beast, #1) - Alianne Donnelly My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...

When Alianne warned in her blog post that if you’re squeamish, you might not want to read Bastien, I should’ve heeded her warning! Lol But, I really wanted to know how Bastien actually came to be cursed and I couldn’t help digging in... Oh boy, as I finished the book, I didn’t love him. I was disgusted and left reeling by the extent of his depraved personality and crude words and demonstrations. I felt no love, respect or sympathy for him, even not when he was cursed... so, to be totally honest, he deserved it and more. I can only say that Alianne penned Bastien’s story with a very vivid, raunchy, no holds barred characterization of the man himself. When you read this story, you only see Bastien. Not because it was written from 1st person POV but the force of his depraved character just steals the show.

In my review of The Beast I had a few questions, like why he was cursed, what happened etc. That book gave me some vague ideas behind Bastien’s fate. In this book, we get to learn about his background. Bastien is a lord and a prince too, with one of his distant relatives being a dead king. His parents passed away when he was very young. Bastien’s life was essentially empty; he had no one but the servants to look after him. His ever vigilant butler Jacques, whom we also meet in The Beast, was the one who tutored him as a kid. But as Bastien grew up, he just turned into this immoral bastard who is rude and mean with almost everyone. Women are as dispensable to him as dirty dishrags. They’re always throwing themselves at him (I couldn’t believe some virgin girls would slip into his bed it the dead of the night!) and Bastien was ever the conceited arse about his prowess in bed. The example of his meanness and depraved nature starts almost from the first chapter as he corrupts a daughter of some lord, who was a virgin prior to the liaison. Bastien never promised her anything but the stupid girl thought she can make him bend. Yah well, that never came to pass, trust me!

No one ever expected anything from him, let alone something good and honest (as far as I got it), and so Bastien just did what he felt like doing to alleviate the boredom of his stagnant life. His routine was to f*ck every kind of women (that was not a problem since they were always available to him, came to him too easily). Bastien has no shame to speak of (duh!) and keeps the memoir of one of his lover’s, a madame of a brothel (remember one of the pornographic books he forces Lysette to read to him in The Beast?), in his library and cherishes the book that describes their liaison, alongside the madame’s other lovers. He’s always bored and constantly looking for amusements. He’d drink and engage in all sorts of mischief with his small gang, which consists of his best friend Louis. One day, they meet at a tavern and the gang sets off to the gypsy village, looking for amusement. There, they meet this hag with half young and half old body who reads tarot cards but doesn’t talk. None can see her face but feel her eyes watching them. It seems like she’s been waiting for Bastien. Louis knew this woman from before and soon, after a confusing but scary session of card reading, they step into a curtained space inside the hag’s tent... and enter to the Faery Court (ta-da!). Louis has been here before and soon, Bastien finds out that he’s absolutely enamored of Lilith, the slutty Faery princess. The b*tch, of course, sees a potential prey in Bastien and dumps Louis like a bug. You can guess where that leads to! In her mirror infested bower, they go at it like bunnies. Well, ummm... can’t tell you that I liked reading it. The b*tch makes Bastien drink this potion from a black flower-made cup which made him horny as a goat... hmmm, I was trying my best not to contemplate anything about it at all! After the bouts of hard f*cking, Lilith again gives Bastien another drink, this time from a white cup. Afterwards, he drifts off. In his dream, Bastien sees something he has never seen before; a painted scene at night where he’s alone, a wolf is howling nearby, and a woman with a single rose, who has auburn hair and blue eyes. Bastien can’t really see her well but somehow, she made his heart ache with some sort of yearning, a feeling he can’t name because he has never experienced that feeling in his short, pathetic life.

Upon coming out of the Faery Court, he has to come through that curtained door and finds a blood red rose but the hag was nowhere to be seen. He soon finds out he has spend an awful amount of mortal time at the court, even though it was only a few hours by his estimation. At home, Bastien finds his friends worried over his disappearance. Soon, it’s plain to see that something also happened to them in the court but no one would speak of it. Louis is mad at Bastien because the fool thought Lilith and his relationship was something special. *rolls eyes vigorously here* After that, Bastien is kind of friendless as his ‘friends’ are tight-lipped in front of him, avoiding him as much as they can. When he sees Louis at his home kinda forcibly, Bastien is warned by Louis that his liaison with the slut won’t end well. But Bastien doesn’t really care. And he goes back to Lilith a few more times, his reason, to see the Lady with the rose once more. It’s the Lady of Strength. There was more card reading with the hag. He recognizes the woman’s face that seems to come alive in the card of strength, along with the other cards. He also sees the hermit, the moon, the lover, the lady of the cups etc. which of course hinted at his doomed future. I was as confused as Bastien over the whole tarot card reading. Bastien had no idea what the hag is hinting at since the woman never spoke. He sees the lady again after drinking from the white cup. He tries to communicate with her but she’s always slipping away. But after the last time with Lilith, Bastien doesn’t see the lady of the Strength again. Now he is all the more confused as to what this whole thing means.

Bastien keeps brooding about this lady and then discards her as a figment of his imagination. We learned about the young servant girl, Jocelyn from The Beast and her obsession with becoming Bastien’s ‘savior’. The poor fool actually gets mauled in return by Bastien, which I can’t but term as ‘semi-rape’. I was staring at the book with utter disbelief after reading this! She was sort of a source of amusement for Bastien before this because of her obvious innocence. The servants, especially the girl’s aunt Aimee isn’t at all happy about it but they don’t speak up. In Bastien’s way of thinking, if Aimee wanted to keep the girl safe, why did she bring her here in the castle? Yep, he had explanations for everything he did. Bastien decides to ignore Lilith once and for all, which doesn’t sit well with the ‘high and mighty’ slut. Of course the b*tch makes trouble and one day, visits him in human disguise. When Bastien spurns her offer to return to where they were, she curses him... Bastien transforms into the Beast, who is the opposite side of his persona; someone with kindness and a conscience; who can love but with his beastly visage, it’s very apparent that no one will ever love him back. And he needs to find love in order to break it. He, alongside his servants, doesn’t change a day beyond the day they were cursed. But I was laughing about something altogether different while the slut cursed Bastien on the basis that he’s ‘a heartless monster with a pretty face’. I was like, oh really b*tch? Go and take a look in the mirror! That’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard!!!

Anyway, this Beast, whom we get to meet in The Beast, is a different story altogether. He knows Bastien, their memories are the same... they can even influence each-other but somehow, they both hate one another as well. It can be confusing to explain, unless you read both stories to get the idea. The Beast hates Bastien for what he has done in his life. Louis, upon hearing, comes to visit him. He’s still a good friend and keeps on visiting Bastien. But what none knew that Bastien would rise again in the full moon. When he does, Bastien scoffs at the Faery Curse and finds Louis posthaste to go to a brothel and f*ck the night away with as many women as he can get................ no comments from my side since it was horribly disgusting. But soon, he is made aware of his misconception that the curse is broken, in that very brothel, in the middle of f*cking. Oh joy! That was fun!! straight face

Soon the Beast concedes to the fact that there’s no escape. He would never find someone to love him, let alone the lady of Strength. Louis and Jacques are very enthusiastic at first but that wanes soon enough as time passed by without any change: 27 days as the gentle Beast and transformation of Bastien, the monster of a man, for three nights of full moon. The servants have to keep Bastien is chains because the more time passes by, the crazier, angrier and bolder he becomes. The Beast volunteers to keep himself in chains when the full moon appears. Bastien does everything to be free, threats, curses, cajoling, promises of bribe... whatever it takes for an escape. Sometimes, Jocelyn the fool would sneak in with the key and create disasters. She got killed once, but was brought back to life soon after, because of the curse. The angry servants kills Bastien more than once, vexed by his behavior, but the man is back soon after, just like Jocelyn.

These parts of the story were very intense and at times, confusing too, with the despair of the Beast about the possibility of never being able to break free of the curse. A curse that would go on ‘til eternity. I hated, just HATED Bastien by now and didn’t know how I ever found him sexy in any way (in The Beast). So, would it have been better if I didn’t know about his past? Bastien doesn’t think of the lady anymore for a long time. Time passes by as it should (years... centuries in between). People around them start changing. Louis gets married, has a family soon enough... one day he’s an old man dying and introduces his eldest son to the Beast. Louis’s son in time introduces the Beast to his own son and like this, the Beast becomes the secret of the LaFarge family. It was all going ok, sort of, until the very recent LaFarge, Jean, whom the beast didn’t like from get go. This man reminded him much of Bastien; a cruel and vain man with foolish pride. Jean visits the Beast only because he’s an obligation and in no way likes him. One day, he brings his new bride to meet the Beast, something none of the other LaFarges ever did. I knew this would bring some trouble, as the Beast did, since the woman keeps giving him eyes. And soon enough, somehow at night, when there’s full moon, the woman finds Bastien chained in his room. He was expecting the woman too because the bastard just knew she’d come seeking sex, and he’s not disappointed. Bastien has been sex starved for a long time (though I didn’t get what he meant by ‘when he’s not here’) and the woman assuages his hunger immediately.

Anyway, I just don’t want to remember the details (what little was there) of this liaison, but that it ends really badly. I totally blame Bastien for it, just for the sake of it. She, at first, dumps him when she finds herself pregnant with Jean’s child (sure it was Jean’s because Bastien took precautions always). It was a first for Bastien, of course, and he feels the sting of being rejected for the first time in his pathetic life. I actually felt great that he was feeling something different other than the urge to f*ck!! But Jean gets the wind of it soon enough and as I said, it ends horribly. This time Bastien can’t ignore what happens to this woman, as the Beast continuously keeps on blaming him. After this, Bastien changes, even if a little... His (also the Beast’s) thoughts, again, suddenly drifts towards the lady of the Strength, whom, by now, he knew is to be his only salvation. He dreams of her again. The Beast tries in vain to draw a portrait of her but with his great paws, he can’t. Bastien knows of the Beast’s intention of course, and so, when he’s out in the full moons, he spends the time secretly creating a masterpiece of this phantom woman whom he’ll never get to meet. He surprised me here, mind you, with the fact that he’s a really good artist. The SOB totally knows that he is and has no qualms whatsoever to strut about it, just like his endless past conquests. I found this part kind of odd, that the way he treated women, this on and off obsession with this woman was totally out of his league. I couldn’t really believe, even till the end that he’s capable of any emotion other than hatred and lust. More times pass, I’d say several years (almost 300) and one day, a merchant, while passing close to Bastien’s estate, gets trapped in the snowstorm and takes shelter in the estate... I didn’t mention but Bastien ordered to plant roses the day he first had vision on the lady of Strength. The merchant makes a foolish mistake and for which, he has to pay by striking a bargain with the Beast.

Before I finish the review, have to mention some things here. I can’t really recommend a reading order myself since I’ve found, upon re-reading The Beast directly after Bastien, that it helps you connect with some incidents very well. All I knew that if I read Bastien before, I might not have felt the sympathy and attraction I felt for Bastien when I finished The Beast. My suggestion is, whatever you do, read the books back to back.

I also found some mismatched information in the book. One was Jocelyn’s hair; it was blond in The Beast and not dark. I tend to keep these kinds of information in mind always, in any book I’m reading, especially if it’s about a recurring character. Also, in the end, when the Beast strikes the bargain with the poor merchant, it wasn’t supposed to be Lysette from the start as it was portrayed here. It was supposed to be Marguerite, Lysette’s more beautiful eldest sister. She went to confront the Beast on her own so that Marguerite doesn’t have to.

Overall, great job! 4 stars.

PS: I still think that now Lysette and Bastien need an epilogue. I just have to see this changed man and the lady who played such vital role in his life, together, without all these troubles chasing them for once! They didn’t really get to be together in that sense IMO.

Thanks to Alianne that I got the pics of the model she used for Bastien’s cover. Oh, I see that, the killer Bastien eyes! Ooh-lala! wink


This copy of Bastien was provided to me by the author herself in exchange of an honest review. I’d like to thank her for it.