Saturday, April 24, 2010

Persy -- Beastly by Alex Flinn

First of all, Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite fairy tales. Second of all, I'm a sucker for fairy tale retellings, even though there's a million of them and a good portion of them aren't all that great.

Beastly is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast (surprise surprise) from the view of the beast, named Kyle. He gets crowned prince for a school party, mostly because of his amazing good looks. After an argument, Kyle plays a mean trick on one of the girls at his school by telling her he wants to go to the dance with her, but then showing up with another girl instead. Later that night, the girl, Kendra, appears in Kyle's bedroom and reveals herself to be a beautiful witch. She lays a curse on Kyle (turning him into a beast, as you probably guessed), which can only be broken within two years. If he doesn't find true love within that time, he's pretty much screwed for eternity.

The way the book is layed out is pretty cool. It's separated into several sections, each one preceded by a 'recorded' conversation over the internet. It's basically a chatroom for people who have been transformed by some sort of magic. Along with Kyle (the Beast), you can recognize several other characters from classic fairy tales, which I thought was a fun and interesting little addition to the story.

Now, this isn't an edgy, 'beastly' version of Beauty and the Beast, which is what I was expecting from the dramatic (and beautiful) cover, so I was a little disappointed. The writing, while certainly not bad, didn't seem... I don't know, mature, maybe? It just felt a little juvenile, even though the book itself isn't. I wouldn't go hand it to an eleven-year-old, anyway. It's just not much of a realistic book, and I admit to liking my books with a fair (though not insanely strict) sense of realism.

The growth of the beast (Kyle) is done fairly well, though. In the beginning he's an arrogant, rich, spoiled brat. As time passes, he develops more depth, though perhaps not a lot of common sense. He starts reading a lot more (sometimes just to impress Lindy, the beauty), which I found fun since I had read lots of those books myself. I also liked that Kyle didn't seem to realizing that he was changing and losing his arrogance.

Overall, it was a good book. It just wasn't great. There wasn't a lot of originality, and it feels more like a fun book than a book the author really thought-out and planned and edited for a long time. Which is completely fine, I'm all about just having a fun time writing a story. But if you're looking for a realistic, interesting retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I wouldn't recommend this one (go check out The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey instead).

Beastly is currently being made into a movie to be released in July of this year, and will feature Alex Pettyfer as Kyle (the Beast), Vanessa Hudgens as Lindy (the Beauty), and Mary-Kate Olsen as Kendra (the Witch). Not sure how great it'll be with Vanessa Hudgens in it, but I guess we'll see.

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