Beastly by Alex Flinn
Series: Kendra Chronicles #1
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: December 29th 2009
Genres: Young Adult, Fairy Tales & Folklore, General, Fantasy & Magic, Social Issues, Adolescence
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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.
I love fairytales in general and Beauty and the Beast in particular, but I was hesitant to read this. I’m not a big fan of YA, and I wasn’t sure how a modern retelling of a fairytale would work. I ended up enjoying the story, though I had to set aside a large chunk of disbelief to make it work.
The problem is this is written as a contemporary novel with the witch’s curse as the only fantastical element. That made the Beast’s imprisonment of Beauty harder to take, since, in the modern-day world, a young girl being forced to live in a house alone with a monster would be hard to hide. Especially since she was a high school student who attended a very posh private school on scholarship. I had a hard time believing no one noticed she was missing or went looking for her.
I wasn’t really sold on the romance. In part, I think, because this is told in first person from Kyle/Aiden/Beast’s point of view. Lindy was essentially kidnapped and forced to spend time with him, so, while I felt a friendship form between them, I didn’t really buy into the everlasting love they supposedly felt.
Still, the journey of self-discovery the Beast took was interesting and made for a good read. His selfish, awful actions in the beginning were well written, which made his eventual transformation from evil boy to gentle beast believable and wonderful.
I did like the story enough that I may search out the movie. My daughter watched it when it was first released and really enjoyed it. I will say she really enjoyed the book when it was first released, so it may be a case of me being a bit too old for this.
One thing I’d like to note is how terrible the editing in my copy was. I downloaded this for my Nook when it was a temporarily free read, and the number of typos and misspellings was ridiculous. I’m surprised a bestseller that was optioned for film wasn’t cleaned up better.
2.75 out of 5