The Beast Within

The Beast Within

A Tale of Beauty's Prince

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
3
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Presents an adaptation of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale from the perspective of the cursed prince who is transformed from a beloved and jovial ruler into a reclusive and bitter monster in search of true love.
Publisher: New York :, Disney Press,, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781423159124
1423159128
Branch Call Number: YA VALENTINO
jFICTION Valentino
Characteristics: 215 pages ; 19 cm

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cmlibrary_amaggard Jan 24, 2017

An interesting story of how the beast came to be.
This book sheds some light on the prince before he was cursed to be the beast.
Hidden within is a warning to always treat others with kindness, you never know when the Odd Sisters may appear.

FindingJane Oct 22, 2015

This book does a credible job of giving the Beast’s slant on what makes him become a reviled monster. However, it’s clearly intended for people who have actually seen the Academy-nominated Disney film on which it is based as it takes certain matters for granted. For example, when the Beast introduces Belle to the grand library—the pivotal turning point in their relationship—the book’s scant description doesn’t do it justice. It rather fails to capture the awe and grandeur of this moment and, if you hadn’t seen the film, you wouldn’t automatically grasp what is happening. There is no description of the row upon row of books reaching up to the ceiling that greets Belle’s eyes; except for the one word “books” you wouldn’t guess at all what was happening.

While this book does a passable job of giving the prince’s point of view, expanding his story from childhood into adolescence, the ending gets rather rushed. It has an episodic feel, with telling rather than showing. We’re given far more input about the four witches who plague and curse the prince and Gaston’s relationship with his former friend than about the loving connection between Belle and her father. Of course, this is intentional. We’re supposed to learn about the prince; this is meant to be his story. But Belle and her father deserve more than what we’re given here. The book centers us so firmly on the prince and his environs that you start to get a rather claustrophobic sensation. If that’s the author’s intention, then she definitely succeeds.

However, you’d think that we would at least get a name for this particular Prince Charmless. But he doesn’t have one! Everybody, from his dear, closest friend Gaston to his once-intended bride Tulip Morningstar, calls him Prince. That was an omission that became more and more irksome as the story continued.

His royal lineage was also a bit of a puzzle. There is no mention of his parents; they don’t appear anywhere within the story. Are they dead? If so, wouldn’t that make him a king rather than a mere prince? Perhaps his parents simply set him up in his own private castle far away from them, with his own servants, forest and grounds in which to roam. But it mentions that he collects taxes, which you would expect only a ruling sovereign to level.

There were a couple of editing problems, such as two people “talking” within the same paragraph and the usage of the word “okay”, a modern word that has no place in a book set within an antique framework.

Apart from all these flaws, this is a lovely märchen, one with witches rather than fairies, but possessing its own exquisite magic. The progression of the Prince’s curse, from man to Beast, is laid out in exacting and cruel detail. The author also adds sly allusions to other literary conventions. Tulip Morningstar, the Prince’s addlepated and giggling fiancée, reminded me strongly of Charles Dickens’s Dora Spenlow, the silly, childish but beautiful first wife of David Copperfield. There is also reference to Oscar Wilde’s only novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. It was a treat for me to read these since this raises it above the level of a mere children’s tale. The author wanted adults to enjoy this as much as children and it has much to grab the attentions of different age groups.

In conclusion, this book is a worthy addition to the Disney canon. However, lovers of well-written novels might find it falling rather short of perfection.

r
rasha1784
Mar 09, 2015

For such a great premise, this book was terrible! Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie, and I was so excited to read the novelization from the Beast's point of view.
Unfortunately, for the small cool bits, like the Prince and Gaston being friends as boys (Gaston, like everyone else in the kingdom, forgot when the curse was placed) and references to Cinderella, Snow White, and Ursula, I thought that so many of the additions were incredibly lame. It is obvious that the three witches are supposed to be the same characters from Macbeth, and the huge side tangent about the Prince's fiance Tulip was totally unnecessary.
The writing style was horrible, I'm not sure how it got past the editor, and there was no character development (spoiler alert) because basically every single the Beast did for love was actually magic controlling him, even the love scene at the end.
I am a huge fan of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, and I can recommend many, many other well-done retellings, but this is not one of them.

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