Well hi there!
Let’s talk Beastly by Alex Flinn.
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.
So, Beastly is a modern-day retelling of the classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, set in New York City. Beauty and the Beast had always been one of my favorite fairy tales ever. I felt a that Beauty (at least the Disney version of her) was a kindred spirit since she always had her nose in a book. She’s bookish and I’ve always loved that about her. I’ve always loved this story so you’d think I would have loved a modern retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales. Well, you’d think so, but you’d be wrong. I was pretty disappointed in Beastly. Flinn’s version of the story just didn’t connect with me.
I’m not usually a fan of male main characters, so maybe that has something to do with my disappointment. I just couldn’t like Kyle Kingsbury. Yeah I know he transforms from his snooty, wealthy, narcissistic self into someone kinder and more gentle, but I still just didn’t like him. I also felt that Linda (our story’s Beauty), although bookish and nerdy (yay!), was pretty boring and one-sided. Now, this could have also been the fact that I listened to this on audiobook and wasn’t impressed with the narrator’s female voices. Oh well.
This is pretty much a point for point retelling of the classic tale without much new to add to it other than the setting. I will say, that I did enjoy the chat room scenes. Kyle joins an online support group for those who have been magically transformed and meets some other famous fairy tale characters, like the Bear in Snow White and Rose Red (another of my faves!), the Frog from the Frog Prince and the Little Mermaid. These scenes are super cute, fun and too far and few between. Other than those bright scenes the rest of this story was slow going and I had to force myself to finish it.
So, overall I was disappointed in this story. I had high hopes because I love fairy tales retold and I’ve so many people recommend Alex Flinn’s books to me. I really, really wanted to enjoy it, it just fell flat with me. Maybe I started with the wrong Alex Flinn book? Suggestions anyone? Now, just because I wasn’t a huge fan, it doesn’t mean others won’t enjoy Beastly, in fact I know many who do. If you’re into fairy tale retellings go ahead and give this one a try, it might end up being something you like!