Friday, 15 October 2010
Review: Beastly by Alex Finn
My favourite Disney movie and fairytale was Beauty and the Beast when I was young and still is so I was pretty interested to read the take on this classic story and how it had been reworked for a modern audience. I wasn't to keen on the main character of Kyle to begin with because to be totally honest he seemed like an ass. However he's meant to so that was forgiveable to a certain extent! I know the story of this Beast so I played along to see how his transformation and inner turmoil would come about considering the tale is normally taken from the female point of view.
I really liked Kyle/Adrian's growth as a character and gradual coming to terms with his condition and very real possibility that he may be trapped as the Beast forever unless he learns to be human because his internal character has become external and it ain't pretty for him. The book tries to show us the age old messages of 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder', 'It's what's on the inside that counts', 'Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself' and it does it well without pounding you over the head with it because it could have done so very easily but likely there is a plot so it was fairly well balanced on that account.
Overall I did like the book though the ending was slightly dissappointing because it went on a bit longer than needed I believe and it didn't quite feel the big fan fair I was expecting. It was more like I was happy with the ending rather than overjoyed and gleeful; it wasn't bad, it just wasn't amazing either. However the romance was believeable and the relationships between Kyle/Adrian, his tutor, Will, and housekeeper, Magda were really touching and funny as he changed in himself we saw more of the world around him and the people in his life as he learnt to see them rather than just acknowledge their presence. Lindy was charming and the perfect counter balance in his growing life as he saw his opposite in her; a girl that looks at the inner beauty in books and others and has shunned herself away from visual beauty because of the dismal place she lived in with her drugged out father and how average she thinks she looks compared to everyone else.
A pleasing book that makes you desire for Kyle/Adrian's freedom as he becomes a deserving of it and keeps you from feeling guilty that we live in a visual world but content in knowing it's ok to enjoy appearances if you look all their inner qualities too. Similiar to not judging a book by it's cover. I look forward to the film adaptation that is due out early next year though the trailer does suggest changes from the book but hopefully it has the same tone and quirks that make it work as a retelling of a classic tale
Good read with warming characters and a point that wasn't overbearing to the plot
Published by Harper Teen and can be bought here or at most bookstores
Alex Finn web page can be found here for more information on her other books and Beastly