Author: Alex Flinn (site)
Published: October 2, 2007 by HarperTeen
Pages: 336 (Paperback)
Price: $6.22 Book Depository $6.99 Amazon
Synopsis: A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly. (Goodreads)
Initial Thoughts: I picked this up after Michaela read and loved it. We both love fairy tales, original or retold, and this one sounded fantastic. Beauty and the Beast from the beast's perspective? Brilliant. Not to mention the beautiful cover and the prep-school setting.
Review: The problem with classic tales retold is that you're usually not in for much of a surprise. You know that he angers a witch, acquires a girl because of her father's wrongs, and then lets her go because he loves her (but she returns, of course.) However, Flinn managed to put enough twists and slight differences in this story to make it fresh and even suspenseful. The first big twist-it's all from the Beast's point of view. And he certainly is a beast. I really hated him for the first part of the book. I love that he only slowly, grudgingly became a guy worthy of having the curse lifted. There is no overnight personality transformation. He's still a rich, selfish jerk who doesn't appreciate anyone (except that now he's hairy and gruesome.) However, as his father cringes away from scandal and eventually abandons him, he is forced to re-evaluate who he is and what he deserves. By the time he gets his chance with the girl, he's been humbled. As he gets to know her and realizes how amazing she is, he starts to want to be a better man. (I know, a bit sappy, but it was beautifully done.) The separation is much different and the ending is sudden and scary. I thought I had the whole thing figured out from the beginning, but there's quite a bit of new material at the end. I really enjoyed this one, although it was more of a quick, light read. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes fairy tales, jerk-gets-his-comeuppance stories, or chaste romances.
Quick Review: While remaining true to the original story, Beauty was full of fresh twists and written in a very readable modern (male) voice. A fun, quick read with a satisfying ending.
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