New Release Review: Depravity (Beastly Tales #1) by M.J. Haag

Crushed on by Kelly BookCrushin, on June 20, 2015, in Giveaways, New Releases, Reviews / 1 Comment

New Release Review & Giveaway:
Depravity (Beastly Tales #1) by M.J. Haag

I am excited for this new serial release of a mature retelling of Beauty & the Beast, Depravity (Beastly Tales #1) by M.J. Haag! This is the first in a lengthy 3-part serial that will be releasing once a month this summer! Grab your copy now while it is on sale for only $0.99, for a limited time! Also, I will give away one kindle copy to one lucky person all you have to do is leave a comment below about what you love about Beauty & the Beast or fairy tale retellings!


depravityDepravity (Beastly Tales #1) by M.J. Haag

Category: New Adult, Mature, Fairy tale Retelling
Publication: June 16th, 2015
Purchase: Amazon

A classic fairy tale with a new twist, the Beauty and the Beast saga begins with Depravity…

Sixteen year old Benella is concerned with two things–avoiding the two village boys who torment her and scrounging for food to help feed her family. Unfortunately, the best wild fruit and vegetables are near the walls of the estate, a dark misty place inhabited by an unforgiving beast.

When her tormentors lock her behind the massive gates, Benella knows her fate is sealed. Yet, the fate isn’t one she expects. Her encounter with the beast starts a bizarre cycle of bargaining for her freedom, a freedom the beast seems determined to see her lose.

Note: Intended for mature readers due to sexual situations, violence (attempted rape), and moderate language.



Kelly’s Spoiler-Free Review:

[book rating=4.5/5.0]  

You may have noticed a trend in books these days; retelling of some of the oldest stories out there, whether fairy tales, Shakespeare or fables, they all take a little or a lot from the original material and spin a new novel for readers to enjoy. M.J. Haag keeps a lot of the feel of the original Beauty and the Beast but she definitely spins this tale in a way that is all her own! This book is dark, mature and completely intriguing!

I immediately was drawn into the world building. Depravity gives us a good vision of what early century life might feel like, especially the division of the classes. Benella lives in a small cottage in a small town with her father and 2 older sisters. They are poor and work is rare. Benella seems to be the only one capable of hunting and scavenging for food to help keep her family from starving, even at 16 years old. We also discover that there are a couple of village boys who give her a hard time and she winds up being bullied into the enchanted Estate that is guarded by the unmerciful Beast.

Yes, times were different, and 16 is an acceptable age to be married off and the boys and men of the village are all banging down her door – so to speak – so Benella literally has to run and hide at the one place she has found a tiny form of sanctuary, the Beast’s estate. This is where Benella’s innocence is really adorable and we grow to despise her sisters & the villagers and love Benella! She is so strong and willing to accept her circumstances and do whatever it takes to help better the lives of her family, even her 2 ungrateful sisters.

I highly recommend Depravity! This is part 1 in a 3 part serial release, but this installment is almost a full length novel at almost 200 pages and you will be hooked and dying for part 2, Deceit, which releases soon! I was immersed in this book and was so sad when it ended especially since it ended in a cliffhanger, which is totally expected of a serial release, but luckily we don’t have to wait too long!

This is the first adult release from the YA paranormal expert Melissa Haag, so she is released this series under a pseudonym of M.J. Haag! I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review.


Sara’s Review:

[book rating=4.0/5.0]


M.J. Haag’s newest release, Depravity, is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it is definitely not a Disney version. I have never read Beauty and the Beast in any format, so I went into this novel with no preconceived notions, except for maybe expecting a candlestick and clock to start talking to the characters every once in a while.

The story follows Benella, our 16-year-old beauty; her two sisters, Bryn and Blye; and, her father, a schoolteacher seemingly more interested in his books than his family, though he is kind to his daughters. Benella is a smart, resourceful girl who is often tasked with the responsibility of finding food for her family. The beginning of the book finds her being tossed into the gates of the beast’s enchanted castle by two village bullies. When the beast releases her, Benella is confused and intrigued, and thus begins their relationship.

One of M.J. Haag’s greatest strength is world building. She creates vivid landscapes that are realistic and beautiful. I love reading her descriptions of everything, from the buildings and the streets to the castle and the clothing. I lost myself in Benella’s world very easily.

The characters in Benella’s world are often cruel and selfish, and I was very upset by many of their actions, a sure sign of good storytelling. I sympathized with Benella’s struggles and hoped for her successes.

Because this is a retelling geared for adults, there are some explicit scenes in the story. I thought the book would have been just as effective without them and found some of them a little off-putting, but that is my personal taste and I’m sure other readers won’t mind.

Be warned that the book ends on a cliffhanger, as it is part of a serial.



deceitDeceit (Beastly Tales #2)

Pre-order on Amazon
Publication: July 21st, 2015

Safely hidden within the estate’s enchanted walls, Benella no longer has time to fear her tormentors. She’s too preoccupied attempting to determine what makes the beast so beastly. It might be the taxing visits from the aged enchantress who cursed him or his growing vexation at not being allowed to touch Benella.

In order to gain her freedom, she must find a way to break the curse, but first, she must help him become a better man while protecting her heart.


devastationDevastation (Beastly Tales #3)

Publication: August 25th, 2015

The anticipated conclusion to the Beastly Tales…

Abused and rejected, Benella strives to regain a purpose for her life and finds herself returning to the last place she ever wanted to see. She must learn when it is right to forgive and when it is time to move on.





Leave a meaningful comment about what you love about Beauty & the Beast or fairy tale retellings (Have you read any? What do you like? Why? etc) and I will pick one person to win the ebook of Depravity from Amazon! Open until June 30th!



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One response to “New Release Review: Depravity (Beastly Tales #1) by M.J. Haag

  1. Shamara

    I love the seeing new twists on the original story, I especially enjoyed Cruel Beauty, which was a Beauty and the Beast retelling and The Lunar Chronicles

    sweetsindy93 (at) gmail (dot) com