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Beastly (Kendra Chronicles) Paperback – February 8, 2011
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I am a beast. A beast! Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright. 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 foreverruinedunless 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.
- Format: Paperback
- Publication Date: 2/8/2011
- Pages: 336
- Reading Level: Age 14 and Up
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As I make my way through Beauty and the Beast re-tellings, I have to say, this one was pretty good, and it's one I found on the Barnes and Noble Beauty and the Beast table. I expected a different kind of beast--maybe a Gothic teen with bad-boy tattoos?? But this was the traditional fury beast.
BEASTLY by Alex Flinn is a clever, modern-day adaptation of Beauty and the Beast told in first-person, past tense from the Beast's point of view. Though the online chat room inserts are now outdated, this book maintains a millennial feel.
As far as retellings go, this one stays fairly true to the original tale: mirror, roses, fury beast and all, though the paperback cover suggests something else entirely. In fact, I'd go so far as to say the cover's misleading, and after reading the book, I have to say I had absolutely NO IDEA who the blazes these two people on the cover are, but they sure as hell aren't in the book. After some research I found they're the actors from the screen adaptation of this book, neither of which bear any resemblance to the book characters. At all. The male lead on the cover looks more intriguingly handsome to me than hideous, which is so disappointing, I'm giving away my copy of this book and replacing it with the beautiful hardcover, because I'll likely read this again.
Kyle Kingsbury is an arrogant douche bag finishing up his freshman year of high school as one of the most (if not the most) handsome, rich, and popular guys in his hoity-toity private school. All the girls love him, all the guys want to be him, and he knows this. He expects this. When he insults a witch in his class, she curses him to live in a body just as ugly as his heart. The next morning he's covered in fur and absolutely hideous, but because he commits one act of non-douche-ness before he turns to the beast, the witch gives him an out. If he can find someone he loves, who loves him in return, and who will kiss him before 2 years are up, his curse will lift. His dad contacts every doctor he can find to no avail. Not even a face transplant will help his son's beastly condition, and so his dad does what every arrogant, self-centered father would: he sends his son to live in a house on the outskirts of the city with nobody but the housekeeper and a blind tutor to keep him company. Plus his dad's credit card.
This was a fast-paced, heart-warming story I read in one night before bed. I did skim the prologue and indeed all but the final chatroom sections, because they skipped forward in time, and I didn't like the break in chronology of the story. They're unnecessary, as I loved the story without them. I always enjoy a story told from the villain's point of view, and I did fall in love with Kyle, who, though perfectly hateable, missed his mom and actually seemed vulnerable next to his horrible dad. I loved the evolution of Kyle. I loved the dynamic between him and his "beauty." I loved how the traditional tale intertwined with a modern setting. THERE'S SO MUCH TO LOVE! This was a tear-jerker for sure, though predictable at times. Also, the explanation for Beauty's absence from the Beast toward the end seemed flimsy and disappointing to me. This author is good, and I felt she could've come up with something far more plausible than "Oh, sorry, beast, I couldn't find your house."
This is a must-read for fans of Beauty and the Beast. The romance is sweet, the language is tame, and the violence is mild. This book is appropriate for ages 12 and up.
North of Normal rating: 3.5 stars.
I thought the metaphor with the rose was beautiful and Kyle's love for roses period was heart warming and made me want to plant roses all over my back yard! (Which I will do soon enough!) Alex Flinn was able to retell the story of Beauty and The Beast wonderfully, and in a more grown up version, you get to feel more emotions and the most beautiful thing, see the transformation of a truly inwardly ghastly and selfish boy into a warm-hearted lover who became truly selfless. It truly gave me hope that all the jerks I've dealt with in the past might just get a reality check and turn into better people. People can change I hope!
I recommend this book for those who love Beauty And The Beast and are looking for a more detailed and grown up version of this tale, and all lovers of fantasy and/or romance period. This book truly warmed my heart!
Kyle Kingsbury is popular and gorgeous, the son of a successful television newscaster and a shoe-in for ninth-grade prom prince. His perfect life is as illusory as his beauty, however; both are no more than skin-deep. His cruelty and shallowness become very apparent to him, as does his buried unhappiness, when a witch he plays a nasty trick on, curses him with a spell that leaves him as beastly on the outside as he's learned to be on the inside.
I approached reading Beastly with a little bit of trepidation, fearing that a modern retelling of a favorite classic fairy tale might not be my cup of tea. Such a concern was unfounded, as it turned out, and I really enjoyed the story. Author Alex Finn does a very nice job developing the "beastly" Kyle and gives an explanation for his lack of compassion and kindness that the original versions of the tale never did for the prince turned beast. Although this in no way tries to pardon or justify his atrocious behavior, it does make him much more of a human, rather than fantasy, character, and even if the reader still can't always find him completely likable, it is certainly possible to imagine a child with such parentage turning out the way he did. Lindy (aka Beauty) is a much more realistic character as well, and her sympathy for Kyle is more understandable when her own family life is considered.
Adult readers may have doubts that the happily ever after will be a love that lasts a lifetime, since beauty and beast, at fifteen, are nowhere near mature commitment age in these modern times but, after all, it is still a fairy tale, meant more to impart a wise message than portray a fully true-to-life situation, so that's easy enough to overlook with high hopes and best wishes for the couple, at least if one's enough of a romantic.
An often humorous, yet still more thoughtful and definitely worthwhile, new take on the fairy tale that I'd recommend to anyone who liked the original versions.
Most recent customer reviews
Also, a wonderful writing style.