Thursday, April 1, 2010
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Paperback: 336 pages
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.
On reading the back cover, I wasn't fully convinced I would enjoy the story. It's been out since 2007, but I'd never seen a copy until the other day and I was actually looking for it. (I'm doing a paper on Beauty and the Beast, and this is a retelling of it.)
That being said, as soon as I opened Beastly I was hooked. Flinn opens with a hilarious chatroom scene that I found refreshing, and it is the only time that Flinn plays with other fairy tales in the book.
Now then, Beastly is the story of hot-shot perfect Kyle Kingsley who gets cursed by a witch and turned into a beast. Having been the center of attention and the perfect guy, Kyle doesn't know how to deal with his new looks, not that it matters, because his father basically sentences him to exile in a large house away from everyone but his maid and a blind tutor. Kyle must learn to live with his curse or find someone whom he can love and who will love him in return, only with true love's kiss will the curse be lifted.
Flinn kept me turning pages. She had me laughing out loud and telling my friends about it from the moment I started reading. Kyle is a convincing prick, and his transformation is fairly believable. I had a few problems with some of the things he said as the book came to a close, but so did Kyle so I guess that's fine.
The story is well written, and there were only a couple of places where the action lagged a little and left me wanting more and feeling a little bored. But Flinn made up for it quickly and had me chuckling to myself again in no time.
Anyone that knows the Beauty and the Beast tale might find a couple of things a bit predictable, but Flinn adds enough of her own creativity and changes enough of the tale to keep her audience wondering what is going to happen for sure and how she's going to make things happen.
Over all, it was an enjoyable read. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
If you're interested, Beastly is being made into a movie, and is scheduled for release Summer (July 30) 2010.