Blog Tour Book Review: THE BEAST AND THE BETHANY by Jack Meggitt-Phillips (Middle Grade Monday)

I received an ARC from the publisher as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title next to image of book
Genre: Fantasy/Humour
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - first book


Book cover for THE BEAST AND THE BETHANY: title in gold on black above a

Ebenezer Tweezer is a youthful 511-year-old. He keeps a beast in the attic of his mansion, who he feeds all manner of things (including performing monkeys, his pet cat and the occasional cactus) and in return the beast vomits out presents for Ebenezer, as well as potions which keep him young and beautiful.

But the beast grows ever greedier, and soon only a nice, juicy child will do. So when Ebenezer encounters orphan Bethany, it seems like (everlasting) life will go on as normal. But Bethany is not your average orphan . . .

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


THE BEAST AND THE BETHANY is a MG debut about a hungry beast, a semi-immortal man who’s selfishly lost sight of life, and the orphan who’s about to shake his whole world upside down. It’s a very funny book, in the vein of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events tone-wise.

The story is told by a very dry, somewhat tongue-in-cheek narrator. It means the book feels very deadpan (at least, that’s how I imagined it being read), so these horrible events and terrible characters are delivered with a perfectly straight face. Oh, alright then, I’ll buy a child for you to eat. What’s this, I don’t have to pay for them? Even better – which one is the nastiest?

The scenario is just so bizarre and unthinkable, but no one reacts to it like it’s out of the ordinary. Maybe it’s incredibly British of me, but the deadpan delivery made it all the funnier.

Unusually for Middle Grade, the narrator mostly sticks with Ebenezer (there’s a few paragraphs that switch to other characters, but 95% of the focus is on Ebenezer). It’s not quite a limited third person style that would constitute a POV, but it’s close enough that Ebenezer is the main character – not Bethany.

Usually, I’d expect the kid to the main character in middle grade – you know, because they’re the target market – but it works well here. Not only does it differentiate it but the choice also highlights how childish Ebenezer is in some ways.

He’s never known hardship, frankly has no idea about the economy or the realities of life. Then he brings back Bethany and you can pretty much guess how well he manages to stay the course with a no-nonsense, attitude-y child in his life. I think the best way to describe this book is A Series of Unfortunate Events meets Despicable Me, which is a brilliant combination.

This is the first in a series, and let’s see what Bethany and Ebenezer get up to next!

Read my interview with the author here.

Read my reviews of other books by Jack Meggitt-Phillips:

The Beast and the Bethany (this series):

2 thoughts on “Blog Tour Book Review: THE BEAST AND THE BETHANY by Jack Meggitt-Phillips (Middle Grade Monday)

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