Tuesday, September 21, 2010

BR: Beastly

by Alex Flynn

Is it completely shallow to say I picked up this novel because I found Alex Pettyfer in the movie trailer attractive? Yes? Okay. Sue me. Oh, and I read a great review at Voracious YAppetite a while ago which made me want to read it more.

Summary (me):
Beautiful, perfect and popular Kyle Kingsbury is a cruel and shallow person.. until one night he takes it too far and messes with a witch. Turned into a human beast, all his outer beauty is gone and he has 2 years to find a person to fall in love with, and vice versa. Beastly is a modern day re-telling of the beloved classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast.

**
My Expectations: I hoped it would be good, the trailer actually looks really awesome and it’s a fairy tale re-make-ish thing.

Delivery: eh, it was engaging but not mind-blowing.

Put-down-ability: I read the teaser chapters online then went out and borrowed the book, must mean good things. 4/10
**
My Thoughts

Beastly is satisfactory on all levels, which sounds like a cold and meaningless comment but I’m not sure how else to put it. I never found myself annoyed with the characters, yet I never fell in love with them. Kyle’s personality at the beginning is loathsome but I thought Flynn handled his development after the spell/curse surprisingly well. There was the predictable moping and vanity, and after the ‘acceptance’, I’m glad he didn’t immediately become a saint. It took two years for him to gradually change into a person worth respecting, with the help of Lindy.

Lindy was Belle, probably my favourite Disney Princess xD She was smart, hard-working and sweet, and she just has that likeability to her that makes her awesome. Since both characters toed the edge of stereotypical, I fully expected the romance to be cheesy, overdone, and groan-worthy but it was (to my surprise and pleasure) totally not. While it might not have been completely un-creepy (part were reminicent of The Collector by John Fowles...), it was still convincing and nice.

What can I say about the story? It was charming; it didn’t feel like a whimsical Disney movie, but more like a gutsy, real version told from the Beast’s point of view. I liked how the plot progressed and was especially fond of the rose garden aspect. Writing was smooth; it was engaging and refreshing to have a male narrator and imperfect characters. I liked how the story immediately sucked me in and left me wanting more.

Parting Thoughts: Time for the movie? I think so ;) I wish I were less shallow…
Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable

7.8/10 – because while it was an enjoyable, quick read, I never really loved it. It had a strong overall package but the tidbits that make me love a novel weren’t there. I couldn’t quite commit to the characters, and the fairy tale re-telling only moderately worked for me. I would recommend this novel to most people, especially if you are interested in fairy tales, different types of plots, and male narrators. B

5 comments:

  1. This review, I think, was well said. I've always had a thing for fairy tale re-tellings and the trailer does look really good. :)

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  2. haha I admit I picked up the book last week as well because of same reason. Dude! Alexy Prettyfer is HOT like HOT HOT HOT :P

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  3. The movie trailer already has me mad because it is nothing like the book. The boy was suppose to be a beast (mentioned in the book) not a tattooed freak. To me its like Superman..Clark Kent has glasses on and you couldn't tell that it was superman...LOL This beast guy the only difference in him from his old self in the movie trailer is that he has a shaved head and tattoos, but she don't know who he is???? Oh well I will probably watch it anyway.

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  4. Your review seems spot on to me. I enjoyed the book, thought it was well-executed on all levels, but never really fell in love with it. (And I do have a soft spot for retellings.)
    Agree that the movie looks SO different from the book. Like they were really trying to go anti-Disney.

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  5. Great review, Audrey. I think it would be nice to read a retelling from the Beasts point of view.

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