Book Review: The Beast Within

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Book Review: The Beast WithinThe Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince by Serena Valentino
Published by Disney Press on July 22nd 2014
Pages: 256
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A cursed prince sits alone in a secluded castle. Few have seen him, but those who claim they have say his hair is wild and nails are sharp--like a beast's! But how did this prince, once jovial and beloved by the people, come to be a reclusive and bitter monster? And is it possible that he can ever find true love and break the curse that has been placed upon him?

thought

If you don’t know the name Serena Valentino, well, that’s okay. She writes a series of graphic novels that I fell in love with in high school and have reread so many times, I can’t even remember. They are called GloomCookie and if you like fairy tales and graphic novels, you should check it out. The Beast Within is the second story she’s written based off of Disney’s version of a fairy tale – only from a different point of view. I own Fairest of All, which took Snow White from the wicked Queen’s point of view, good to pair with the recent blockbuster Maleficent.

The Beast Within is from the Beast’s point of view in Beauty and the Beast. Let me tell you, the Beast previous to becoming such makes even Gaston look like a good guy. I love that Valentino mixes in a bit more detail about his storied past, where he literally swears off a beautiful woman after seeing her work at a farm. Obviously it isn’t true love if she isn’t a princess or a noble, not to mention how ugly she was when not all dolled up to go out with him. Unfortunate for him, she happens to be a witch and her sisters want to exact revenge on the Beast. Thus comes in the curse, which takes a while to take hold. So, in the meantime Gaston tries to cheer Beast up with a huge ball to set him up with another woman.

So, he goes for the beautiful woman who seems to have no brains. But she sincerely is in love with him, but that’s not enough, he must actually be in love with her for the curse to lift. He blames her for not loving him after time passes and he starts to become even more beastly. Two women scorned and the curse fully sets in. I enjoyed the story and it moved along quickly, but I felt as though Beast never fully transformed. That may be because the narrative shifts from the point of view of the sisters who cursed him. They hate that he may break the curse and set out to sabotage his happiness. I’m sort of on their side and kind of wished he got his just desserts.

Verdict:

An intriguing take on Beauty and the Beast that follows the Disney version fairly close while giving it more background. Not perfect, but a fun read.

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