Thursday, August 11, 2011

Beastly

A fairy tale retelling that takes the story of Beauty and the Beast and moves it to modern day New York City.  Of course I was intrigued.  Beastly by Alex Flinn is delivers are an amusing and romantic take on the old story.  It was wonderful vacation travel reading.

Synopsis (from Author's Website):
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.

This book is all from Kyle's point of view, which is interesting.  The reader sees him as the obnoxious shallow jerk he was before the curse and the transformation to a caring compassionate selfless young man.  It was refreshing reading the story from the Beast's point of view.  This was my favorite part of this retelling.  Kyle goes through several stages of grief and then hope when Lindy, his Beauty comes to live with him.  I particularly enjoyed Kyles newly developed taste for literature.  Now that he can't leave the house he is reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian Gray.  Nothing like wallowing, eh?

Following the form of the traditional tale, Kyle, who is now obsessed with growing roses, awakes to hear someone breaking into his greenhouse.  It is a drug dealer who is willing to exchange is daughter in exchange for Kyle allowing him to live and returning his drugs.  Kyle, recognizing an excellent chance to break the curse, prepares for the arrival of his Beauty.  Lindy, the girl, is not really that beautiful by the standards of Kyle's former society but he falls hard for  her as he gets to know her.  Once she allows him to, because she is not so keen on her situation at first.  Lindy's character is not developed as well as Kyle's but their romance was sweet and followed the route set out in the original story.  The book is all about Kyle though.  I enjoyed the book because I  enjoyed his story and came to like him.  I think a reader who didn't connect with Kyle would enjoy the book a lot less.

At the beginning of each part of the novel there is a transcript from an online chatroom devoted to people who have undergone fairy tale transformations.  Kyle (BeastNYC) joins Froggy, SilentMaid, and Grizzlyguy to discuss the trials and travails of magical transformation.  These are some of my favorite parts.  They are highly amusing.

Beastly was made into a movie that was released earlier this month.  You can view the trailer here.

Alex Flinn has written two other modern day fairy tales:  A Kiss in Time  and the recently released, Cloaked.  I will be reading these as well.

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