Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn

Beastly Beastly by Alex Flinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are many different versions of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale out there and many of them have been novelized. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley is probably my favorite one, but there are a number of others. It seems like every time you open a review journal these days you see another retold fairytale, be it Beauty and the Beast, or some other one. Stories like this are timeless and that is why we continue to rework and retell them, even setting some of them in our time and world rather than the far off time and place of the originals.

Beastly is another retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but unlike many of its processors, this novel is told from the perspective of the Beast. We finally find out, what he did that caused him to become the Beast. Set in modern day New York City, Beastly is the story of the young man who is cursed by a witch to be a beast until he finds his true love, and can make her love him in return. Kyle Kingsbury had everything, wealth, power, and good looks, until one fateful night when a witch sees him for what he really is and curses him.

I do like these retold fairy tales. I like to see how authors can take a story that I am completely familiar with and create a new story, or tell me things I didn’t know about the old one. I do admit, however, there has been one exception to my fascination with these retold tales. I have never really been fond of any that take place in modern times. I found combining magical with the mundane world a daunting task for most authors, and had trouble believing it. In many cases I have trouble following the story—I want my fairytales to be “once upon a time” not the here and now. Alex Flinn, however, just might have converted me. It seemed so natural the way she incorporated the magical in to our modern world. I could even believe that a frog could be part of a discussion forum.

In the end, I loved this story. It was interesting to see the story from a new perspective, and it seemed natural that it should be set in the modern world. Alex Flinn did an excellent job!

On another note, they are making Beastly into a movie by CBS Films. It should be out in theaters in July 2010. Here is the link for the movie trailer from Alex Flinn’s website: Alex Flinn's Beastly Trailer

Cautions for sensitive readers: I don’t recall any offensive language in this book, but there is some mild sexuality. Kyle is a teenage boy and he briefly mentions encounters and urges—no descriptions are given though.
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