Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Book Babble #4 - Beastly by Alex Flinn

Finished reading this book over the weekend. I liked the reviews I found on amazon and I like the whole classic-story-retold as I've said before so even though it's a story aimed at a teenage audience I gave it a read anyway.

The novel is pretty short and straightforward enough (I tend not to favour looong, sprawling unnecessarily descriptive writing such as, for example, that hideous novel Love in a Time of Cholera). It's still detailed enough that you still feel like you end up knowing the characters by the end though.

Here is the online synopsis:

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 a perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly beastly.

Yeah, it's definitely teenage-ey. I wouldn't have purchased this book based on that synopsis alone but, like I said, I was swayed by the online reviews and it had been in my "recommended reading" list on amazon for some time so I figured I'd give it a try anyway.

Overall I did like the novel. I don't think it's inspirationally boundless and deserves two thousand awards or anything along those lines. But it was a fun read and kept me up gripped till the end. Even though it was a school night I was up till 1am reading this, desperate to know the ending (I started it pretty late and by the time I was halfway I realised I couldn't sleep till I knew the ending - sad I know but meh, I'm sure bookworms worldwide have stayed up much later finishing novels.)

There were clear references back to the Beauty and the Beast story but I liked the modernisations too. The ending was a little expected I guess, but still, with the revamp of the plot it was still suspenseful enough to engage your attention.

So for the novel itself I'd give 4 out of 5 stars for those who like modern retellings of classic stories.

Now... I had no idea this novel was also a movie. I am so glad I read the book first because if I had seen this trailer I would defo have been put off reading the book:

I HATE when books I like get changed completely for films. I can spot loads of changes from the trailer alone, I can bet the film itself will be only loosely based on the novel. The beast in the novel is meant to be animal-like and HAIRY. They've practically waxed all the hair off Alex Pettyfer for this film! Hah! And... Vanessa Hudgens? Erm... the girl in the novel is not meant to be all that great looking. VA is undeniably pretty in this film. It's just so different to what I envisioned when I read this book. (Side note - AP's American accent ain't bad. And he looks sooooo much older since his Stormbreaker days. I guess he should do, he's nearly 21 now. Maybe he was a teen when he filmed this but he still looks way too old for the role).

Overall I don't like the look of this film but when you've got actors like Hudgens and Pettyfer (and MaryKate Olsen - haven't seen her in anything for a while) cast for the leading roles you know it's going to get a following. I bet it could even be like the new Twilight - maybe not as successful but following somewhere in its footsteps. Personally I'm gonna give the film a miss. I feel like watching the trailer alone has ruined some of the memory of the novel for me. Watching the film would give that sense of loss you feel when you watch a bad film of a book you like.


  1. hey, book seems good :') but me being cheesyteen#1 i think i'll watch the film too, especially seeing as i had an AP obsession in Yr6 - guess who x x x

  2. I actually watched the movie first, then read the book. It's definitely a book written for the younger crowd. I actually preferred the movie over the book and liked the modern twist to the classic love story. I liked that they made him disfigured in the movie as opposed to a "beast." However, I did miss the entire magic mirror bit (not referenced in the movie whatsoever), which adds to the fantasy of the story.


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