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The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince Hardcover – July 22, 2014

68 customer reviews

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The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince + Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen + The Curse of Maleficent: The Tale of a Sleeping Beauty
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–6—Many children grow up with some familiarity with the story of Beauty and the Beast, particularly the Walt Disney version. Readers often admire the beautiful and smart Belle, a devoted daughter and booklover, who is as lovely on the inside as the outside. That she could come to love such a horrific-looking and reclusive creature is testament to her kind nature. And yet, readers know so little of this mysterious Beast and of the spell that caused him to become an outcast within his own kingdom. In this spin-off from Disney's retelling of the old tale, Valentino does her best to expand upon the Beast's side of things: What was it that transformed the handsome and charming Prince into a Beast? Gaston plays a big role in this story, as does a competing love interest of both male characters, Tulip. Belle doesn't appear until toward the end, as this book operates as a prelude to the film. Some new characters add interest, such as the Odd Sisters, a trio of witches spurred by a broken heart and a zeal for revenge. As interesting as that premise is, the book is weighted down by clunky writing, shallow character development, a lack of depth and nuance. It will likely appeal to only the most die-hard fans of the Disney film.—Meg Allison, The Moretown School, VT

About the Author

Serena Valentino is known for her groundbreaking work on the comic book series GloomCookie and Nightmares & Fairy Tales published by SLG Publishing. Her first novel, Fairest of All, is a fresh take on the story of Disney's Snow White from the perspective of the film's villain, the Wicked Queen.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Disney Press (July 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423159128
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423159124
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By cat¢¾dog¢¾bunnyperson on February 4, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Props for the idea, but it really when a little to far off to the left field. Technically, the author used characters in the story, if you consider the three witches to be the three blond chicks wooing over Gaston.....but I bet they're not them. If you loved the original Disney Beauty and the Beast, then you will not enjoy this book. The idea is wonderful, but the author changed the most vital parts of the movie. The old lady that offers a single rose in exchange for shelter at his castle is not the same in the book. She is made out to be a girl who the Beast is engaged to until he finds out she's a pig farmer's daughter, which he rejects promptly. She magically makes herself deteriorate in front of him and begs for his love with a single rose....Right.....AND the Beast doesn't even know that his servants have been transformed into inanimate objects. How the fruit pebbles did he interact with them in the movie then?
You can't change the story. You just can't change the basic core of the story and then go on to force new information into it. I can only speak for myself, but I wanted to see the "behind the scene" story as promised. I think the advertisement for this book is misleading.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Dressbac on September 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Oh, my. First off, I have to start by saying that I absolutely love (as in want to marry) the Disney film 'Beauty and the Beast' (seriously, can anything be better than that wolf scene?) I also loved Serena Valentino's interpretation of the Evil Queen in her book 'Fairest of All'. Naturally, reading this book was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, the book didn't seem to have brains, either. While 'Fairest' heightened the story of Snow White and really made the Queen a more likeable (and understandable) character, 'Beast' muddled the story. It was obvious the book was rushed, and characters were not as fleshed out as they could have been. Valentino could have done a lot more with the Prince's backstory, but instead she tried to give him another "love" interest, made Gaston his hunting buddy (can you believe that?) and incorporated those three witches from 'Fairest' into the book. I don't entirely think this is her fault, however. I can practically hear her editor and publisher saying, "hurry up! Finish the book! We've got to get it out!" while reading each page, and unfortunately, the muddled plot shows. If you're a huge fan of 'Beauty and the Beast' like I am, then just watch the movie. Don't give yourself a headache trying to figure out how this backstory is possible.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Freidel on August 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I happen to stumble upon the book today when I was at Disney World. I read Fairest of Them All and from what I remember, I liked it and was touched at the ending... (Now, I need to go back and reread that one to make sure my memory isn't playing tricks on me). So, of course when I saw there was another one out, I scooped it up and bought it. I am not joking when I say this. I read this in two hours, praying that it would eventually get better.... That was a pipe dream.
Please don't get me wrong, the concept behind it is good. But that is where it stops.
The writing is terrible. Seriously, the reference Buttchinland is used.
The fact that modern day terminology and phrases are used in a period piece drove me up a wall.
The character development is disastrous. More attention was put into what the characters look like than who they actually are and their back stories.
The Prince/ Beast (who never actually receives a name) is a downright despicable human being who gets the fairy tale ending. I was almost hopefully Belle would find out all the terrible things he had done and walk away.
You are left feeling completely satisfied at the end (rushed much, by the way?) and wondering if this was just the first draft for this book.
I have never ever returned a book on my life but I'll make sure I do with this one...
What a joke.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karen L. Malena on January 14, 2015
Format: Hardcover
I don't get it sometimes. As an author, I try to do my very best. I've learned what it means to "show and not tell." To not be overly descriptive, but just give enough to hook people. Also I've learned to not have different points of view in the same paragraphs. This book takes all these rules and throws them right out the window. I thought it would be lovely, charming, and sweet. A perfect companion to the movie I adore. And yes, there are some cute moments revisiting old friends. I usually do not give bad reviews. But again, I don't understand how the author took every writing rule and disobeyed them, and yet has a hit because it's a Disney. If you like the movie and storyline, then you will enjoy the "added extras" in this book. But character depth is seriously lacking. It took me a long time to read through this short book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Al on February 9, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
I give this book two stars out of sever generosity.

This story reminds me of the short stories I was made to write in grade school; based on a well established works but ultimately drivel.

The story focuses on the Prince/ Beast's(I use titles because the main character has no name) life before Belle came to the castle. The idea of a fleshed out back story sounds wonderful, the idea on paper, poorly conceived and lacking depth that would make this a stand-alone work.

The worst part were undoubtedly the tie-ins. Both to the Disney movie, and to characters in other Disney works. It was needless and distracted from the "story."

Save your time and money and use your imagination on this one people, the result will be infinitely better,
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