Sunday, November 21, 2010
Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn
Publication Date: October 1, 2007
Type: Audiobook read by Chris Patten
Source: Free from Brilliance Audio
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Description (from Goodreads):
I am a beast.
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.
In short: Beastly by Alex Flinn was a fun retelling of Beauty and the Beast but I felt I couldn't connect to many of the characters whom at times seemed too cliched.
Beastly by Alex Flinn is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast told from the beast's perspective, in this case one Kyle Kingsbury. In the beginning of the book, Kyle is not at all a likeable character, self-centred and egotistical. After his transformation into a beast by a witch whom he played a cruel joke on, more than his physical appearance changes: he matures and becomes a better person. While I enjoyed watching Kyle grow as a character throughout the book, I found that Flinn's characterization of him and other characters were at times cliched and two dimensional. The "Belle" character is played by Lindy, an average and bookish girl at Kyle's school whom he had never paid much attention to before. I've always adored Belle as a character and Lindy had a few moments in the book that endeared her to me but ultimately I never really felt a connection to her. I did however enjoy Will, Kyle's blind tutor, as a character very much.
Beauty and the Beast is probably my favourite fairy tale of all time so it goes without saying that I enjoyed the premise and plot of the book. However, I couldn't help but be hopeful that there would be a divergence from the plot just because the story was so predictable. Thinking about this now I realize that this is unfair of me to want this. After all, this is a retelling of another story, but I was at least pleased that there was a fairly significant plot twist right at the end that I hadn't seen coming. Won't tell you what though, obviously :).
What I enjoyed most about the book was the little intermissions in the plot where the Beast takes part in an online help chat group called "Unexpected Change," along with The Little Mermaid and the frog from The Princess and the Frog. Very amusing.
A note on the audiobook: This was the first audiobook I've ever listened to, believe it or not. I really enjoyed Chris Patten as a narrator. And I especially liked the ability to do other activities (albeit mindless ones) while listening at the same time. It made these mindless tasks more enjoyable and pass by quicker. I'm definitely going to continue listening to audiobooks in the future.
A note on the movie: So I guess there is a movie already made for this book that was supposed to be released last summer but now has been pushed back to March 2011. If you want, check out the trailer here.
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