Wonderfully, Hayley from Read A Book On You has kindly agreed to guest review Beastly by Alex Flinn today. If you don't already read and follow Hayley's blog, you really should! She and her blog are both marvellous. Thank you for this Hayley! :)
I was drawn to this book through my interest in fairytale retellings, and there are no surprises for guessing that ‘Beastly’, is a modern twist on ‘Beauty and the Beast’. I’ve always liked that particular fairytale, I think because the moral of loving people for who they are is one I can really support. I’m also a big fan of the Disney film, I mean come on, he gives her a library for crying out loud!
To begin with I wasn’t sure about the book, as the writing style is rather cheesy. The main character Kyle is a spoilt rich kid who is vacuous, obnoxious and incredibly judgemental. He finds amusement in mocking people for their ‘ugliness’ and invites a mysterious goth girl to the prom in order to make fun of her. This turns out to be a fatal error for him when she is a witch who puts a curse on him. Kyle is turned into a beast and given two years to fall in love and be loved in return in order to break the curse.
After an initially noxious and unsympathetic character is taught a lesson, things start to improve in the story. Forced into exile by his TV presenter Father, (albeit a five floor house in Brooklyn loaded with mod cons) Kyle starts to adjust to his new life of solitude. With only his housekeeper Magda and blind teacher come confidante Will, Kyle is lonely and despairing. He insists on changing his name to Adrian and spends his time trying unsuccessfully to date online, reading and tending roses, which soon becomes his obsession.
A twist of fate brings an intruder to the house, who bargains with Adrian and offers him his daughter. Knowing this could be his chance to find love, Adrian accepts the trade off and Lindy is brought to the home. Whilst slightly creepy that a young girl is then imprisoned, the book displays its strengths from this point on by developing the friendship between Lindy and Adrian. I really warmed to them both here and whilst I still felt Adrian as a character was too spoilt he does become a more empathetic person.
I won’t spoil the ending for anyone who is interested in reading, but needless to say everything comes together. As a retelling of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ this was a decent effort, although at times I found it perhaps too close to the original, which occasionally felt like certain plot points had been shoe horned in just to follow the originals path. ‘Beastly’ remains though a quick and lively read and is recommended for anyone with a soft spot for fairytales.