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Beast Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2004

4 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer
"Stars Above" by Marissa Meyer
With nine stories - five of which have never before been published - and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer's upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In a narrative as glittering and richly detailed as a Persian miniature, Donna Jo Napoli interprets and amplifies the tale of Beauty and the Beast with startling originality. We've seen her keen psychological insights, surprising viewpoints, and clever twists on traditional fairy tales in previous novels: Hansel and Gretel in The Magic Circle, Rapunzel in Zel, Jack and the Beanstalk in Crazy Jack, and Rumpelstiltskin in Spinners. Here she uses the intriguing setting of ancient Persia in a glorious retelling of the now-Disneyfied favorite--a bold undertaking with which authors from Robin McKinley to Francesca Lia Block have also challenged themselves.

Napoli, however, brings a fresh slant to the story through the eyes of the Beast, Prince Orasmyn, who has been transformed by a curse into a lion--and can only be redeemed by the love of a woman. From this four-footed perspective, the young prince struggles to learn how to survive as a beast while retaining his humanity in devotion to Islamic moral principles. Fleeing his father's hunting park, he travels as an animal across Asia to France, where he at last finds an abandoned chateau. There, using paws and jaws, he plants a rose garden and prepares the castle for the woman he hopes will come to love him. Enter the merchant, the plucked rose, the brave Beauty, and the story wends to its traditional end--but this time with compassion and a new vividness. Into this sumptuous tapestry Napoli has woven a wealth of lore about Persian literature, the tenets of Islam, rose culture, animal behavior--even a leonine mating scene. This level of detail makes for a leisurely pace and a novel that may be more appropriate for older teens who are willing to savor the journey rather than the destination. After all, we all know how the story ends. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Despite its wonderfully imaginative premise, this refashioned Beauty and the Beast falls curiously flatAit is more cerebral than romantic in tone, more laborious than lush in its execution. Unlike Robin McKinley, whose Beauty and Rose Daughter focus closely on the heroine, Napoli (Crazy Jack; Zel) concentrates on the Beast. He is first met as Orasmyn, son of the shah of Persia. As the royal family prepares for a sacred feast, Orasmyn makes a grave error in permitting a scarred camel ("a beast who knew suffering") to be sacrificed in a holy ritual. Although the sacrifice has been offered to God, it is a djinn (a spirit that can take on disguises) who takes offense and curses Orasmyn, who awakens the next day to find he has been turned into a lion. The bulk of the novel is devoted to Orasmyn's life as a lion, everything from his probing of the complexities of his fate and his Islamic prayers to his constant efforts to obtain food and his inability to resist other animals' kills. More attention seems paid to the mechanics of Orasmyn's strange existence than to the narrative logic; the storytelling strains when Orasmyn walks, by night, to the South of France and finds a beautiful castle that has been abandoned and left unplundered, presumably because it is rumored to be haunted. When Orasmyn finally meets Belle, they fall in love over the Aeneid, which Belle reads aloud to him in Latin (quoted here, without translation). At her father's, Belle misses "reading and praying together" with Orasmyn; love is mentioned but not emphasized. The weight of the historical and cultural settings overpowers the mysteries and enchantment of the original plot. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series, and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. Pre-order the official script book today. Kindle | Hardcover

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 630 (What's this?)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (July 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689870051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689870057
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For all information about Donna Jo Napoli (books, events, biography, awards, contact information), please go to http://www.donnajonapoli.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book was a first for me, in the sense that I have read a number of renditions of Beauty & the Beast, but have just now read one from the Beast's point of view. Of course, like other Napoli works, it isn't the traditional European/Disney tale we know. Exotic in location and plot, this Beast is not a product of wicked magic, at least not as it normally comes. His sin, pride, is in line with other tellings of this story, but the theme is much more religious and therefore, unique.
As much as I loved both of Robin McKinley's Beauty & Beast novels ("Beauty" and "Rose Daughter"), I was glad to see the exploration of what makes up a beast: violence, hunger, killing. The bloodshed is handled well - nothing graphic or tasteless - but it is not avoided, and this Beast is definitely a carnivore.
Napoli's research is, like always, superb. She has no useless words. "Beast" is a fine successor to "Zel" and other Napoli works. Maybe it didn't strike into my heart as sharply as "Zel" did, but "Beast" has its own beauty.
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Format: Hardcover
Skimmimg through books at the library, I was intrigued by the spine design for "Beast." I started to read it. When I looked up again, after reading through the first six chapters without stopping, hours had gone by. I was DEFINITLEY going to take out this book! It was compelling all the time through. The ending was great, not even rushed like some books I have read.
The beast, in the book, turns into a lion. He is shunned by his hometown of India, and doesn't know where to go, or how to live. By one of his mother's books, he is guided to France where he meets the stunning and sympathetic beauty, and the curse is broken.
Everyone knows the story line of this novel. Still Napoli has redone the story in a greatly creative way. She shows the emotions of the beast as he goes from home to home, not fitting in with a lion pride, and finally residing in an old abandoned French castle. Napoli is one of the first authors who have written this story from the Beast's point of view. The whole time through, I was amazed by her awesome ability to write a great novel. She creates many interesting twists to the tale, such as the beast living in India, and does it in an astoundingly creative way.
I greatly enjoyed this book. It really deserves more than five stars! You HAVE to read it!
I would recommed this book to young adults, because some of the material is mature for younger readers. When younger readers get olsder though, they should really read this book. It was really one of my favorites! Donna Jo Napoli is really a GREAT storyteller!!!
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Format: Paperback
When I first settled down to read "Beast" I was intrigued by the Persian setting in Napoli's retelling of this classic tale. When Prince Orasmyn offends a faerie, he is cursed to forever roam the earth as a beast. That is, unless he can win the love of a woman. Fleeing his omened death and his fate, Orasmyn leaves his beloved country for India, and ulitmately settles in France.

I give Napoli credit, especially since she is working with material that is already familiar to her readers. Everybody knows that Prince Charming finds Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty awakens, Beast regains his human form. While "Beast" begins and ends strong, I found certain elements of the middle section to be almost disturbing. After Orasmyn flees his mother and father's palace, he encounters two female lionesses. Napoli describes as Orasmyn mates with the two females. Considering that Orasmyn is a lion himself, it's not so disturbing, but since he still thinks like a human and has human thoughts it's borderline bestiality. Furthermore, it's not essential to the plot and not entirely appropriate for a book aimed for twelve year olds. It remains there for shock value more than anything. Aside from my quip with that particular scene, the middle section of the book seriously lags in comparison to the beginning chapters and the chapters following his intorduction to Belle.

My only other issue with this book is something I have encountered in a few of Napoli's works. The ending to "Beast" seems especially rushed. It's as if the book is just moving along fine and then BAM! The End. It left me unsatisfied and frustrated. I mean, of course the reader knows how the story ends, but Napoli didn't make it her own.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been eagerly awaiting this book since the spring when I learned of its impending publication. The wait is over and I am thrilled with this book. Napoli, who has already wooed me with her gems, The Magic Circle and Zel, explores my favorite fairy tale--Beauty and the Beast--in a new and interesting way.
The tale is given to us through the Beast's point of view and begins before the point when the tale usually starts. The Beast struggles with his transformation from human to animal. He seeks beauty and not just in the form of a woman to save him. I do not want to say more and ruin the story. Napoli, a linguist, provides us with not only a beautiful story, but with a book rich with language, although the Beast is deprived of speech. We are also given the opportunity to learn more about Persian and Islamic culture since the Beast is a Persian prince.
This book makes a wonderful companion to Robin McKinley's "Beauty" and "Rose Daughter," two other Beauty and the Beast novels for fairy tale fans.
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