Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Review: Beastly

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Pages: 304, hardcover

ISBN: 9780060874162

Publisher: HarperTeen

Date Released: October 1st, 2007

Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult / Romance

Source: library

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 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.
(Taken from Goodreads)

I was eager to begin reading this book, as it is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and one of my WIPs is also a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Basically, I picked up this book mainly for research. Also, I maybe love fairytale retellings way too much.

I had recently read A Kiss in Time, also by Alex Flinn, and really enjoyed it, and guess what: I wasn't disappointed with this one.

Firstly, the cover, because despite the saying telling us not to judge a book by its cover, I'm pretty sure most everyone does. I know I do. The cover was simplistic, yet it worked. I love covers like that, it isn't overcrowded, and random stuff isn't overflowing; it directs us straight to the centre, allowing us to immediately take in the information before us. The rose and the thorns--or, the main imagery featured in the book--allows the reader what to expect. I, for instance, automatically assumed that it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast for that very reason, so I knew what to expect.

As for the plot, I think that it progressed nicely. It was an interesting take on the classical fairytale, featuring two teenagers stuck in present-day New York, both finding themselves abandoned by the world. It seemed almost believable, and that was what was so magical about it.
Unlike most other books, I found that the plot didn't falter, that it flowed well, and each minute detail presented coincided with the story, that were from the original stories, from the roses, to the magic mirror.
I overlooked their youngness (I tend to find love at the age of 16 or so to be quite unbelievable), and found myself sighing at the advances in Lindy and Kyle/Adrian's relationship, thinking that it was the most loveliest, sweetest thing in the world. In fact, I even ended up asking myself where my own 'Beast' was.
What bugged me the most was the irrelevance of the chat room (well, I found it irrelevant). There were times where I was more interested in the other fairytale creatures that were featured, and I kept asking myself: Why were they in that position? What were they up to, and what were they doing to reach their happy ending? I don't know, it seemed to hinder the pacing of the story.

The characters were loveable, my definite favourite being Will. He was just awesome because he was blind, yet despite this hindrance, guided Kyle/Adrian to change, to become a true hero.
What I usually find to be important in a novel is the change a character goes through, how they evolved, how they've grown. Their journey towards this change makes the novel, I believe, and this story fully incorporates Kyle/Adrian's change, to the point where it is a major theme.

The writing was as one would expect from a YA writer, nothing flashy. Though, I was impressed, yet annoyed at the use of the chat room language. I liked it because it kept the characters in check, and showed their individual personalities, and was an interesting concept (despite not being necessary to the story). But I disliked it because I just generally hate that sort of writing in books (in fact, I HATE Melissa Marr's Ink Exchange simply because on page 110, the word WTF is used. And I think OMG or something similar is used in Wicked Lovely. I would have loved the books a whole lot more if it weren't for that, but more on that at a later date).

Overall, I think that if you want a simple, sweet retelling of Beauty and the Beast, set in modern times, check out this novel. It's a quick read, and easy to get through, and was a really fun experience.

Cover Art: 3
Plot: 4
Characters: 3
Writing: 3
Level of Interest: 4

Total Rating: 4/5 stars.

**On another note, there is a film coming out based on this book starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer. (And Neil Patrick Harris, I believe, which will be the main reason I want to see it! :P)

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