I received an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of The Beast and the Bethany: Revenge of the Beast by Jack Meggitt-Phillips. Since this version is just a proof and not the final version, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general. (There will be minor spoilers for the ending of book one.)
In Revenge of the Beast, the sequel to The Beast and the Bethany, Ebenezer Tweezer and Bethany are determined to stop their selfish, prankster ways and become good people. They don’t have the first clue how to do that, though, but they’re willing to try. However, Ebenezer misses the way things used to be when he didn’t have a care in the world, and was going to live forever thanks to the beast’s magical gifts. And Bethany finds that no one in town trusts her, and so her attempts to do volunteer work are stymied. Meanwhile, their friend Claudette, a talking parrot, is feeling under the weather after swallowing the beast…
This series is so weird, but I have fun with it.
This story picks up not long after the end of the first book, and we see that although Ebenezer and Bethany have certainly started down the path to being nicer people, they still have a ways to go. Both are flawed, but well rounded, and still sympathetic. Their conversations, even when they butt heads, are still clearly grounded in genuine affection for each other. Their friendship is the core of this story, and it’s actually quite sweet, despite all the bizarre trappings.
Claudette is a lovely character, too, and the side characters like the bird keeper, Gloria, and Geoffrey are fun. The world feels tangible with them, and no one feels like an afterthought. I’d like to see more of them in the future, so they have a chance to shine as well.
I thought the way the beast sought to exact revenge was intriguing, if a bit creepy. However, the fear factor isn’t anything beyond what kids could handle, particularly if they like this genre or read the first book. Plus, the action is exciting and the pacing is perfect. And the ending, just enough of a resolution to wrap up this installment in the series, but with plenty of promise for future drama and thrills, was fantastic.
In the end, Revenge of the Beast is so odd, but oddly fun. I love that this book explores how working to be a better person is difficult, but worth it, as well as how true friendship is based on being a team, rather than following orders. The supernatural elements are strange, the plot rather suspenseful at times, and the ending pretty nail-biting. Ebenezer and Bethany’s bond is really cute and wholesome most of the time (when they’re not calling each other “gitface,” of course), and you’ll root for them the entire story. I’m looking forward to seeing what they face in book three!
Revenge of the Beast will be published on March 22, 2022!