judge for yourself.)
The book, on the other hand, is wonderful. If you're a fan of the Beauty and the Beast story, be sure to read it.
Flinn has twisted the fairy tale into a Gossip Girl edition -- the prince is Kyle, the super-cute guy at a Manhattan private school with more than its share of good looking people. In the book, he's turned into a real beast: fur, claws, the works. His image-obsessed father packs him away in a fabulous brownstone in Brooklyn to live with a maid and a blind tutor.
I won't spoil any of the lovely details -- it's too much fun spotting everything in the course of the book -- but I'm confident that all the key elements of the fairy tale are in there.
I have a couple observations. First, the book's written entirely from the Beast's point of view. That's not a minor detail because at its heart, Beauty and the Beast is a very gynocentric story. The version we all know is of a girl whose father needs her help so she steps up, sacrifices herself, has that sacrifice rewarded with true love and, at the very end, gets a cute prince. Moral: be generous of yourself and you will be rewarded. Secondary Moral: parents are idiots.
Told from the Beast's point of view, the story is one of redemption. Adrian (né Kyle) starts out as a beastly person and ends up with tremendous humanity as a beast. Frankly, the romance is quite beside the point -- he needs Beauty to fall in love with him to return him to human form. Of course he does fall in love, and she with him, but if the witch had set him a different quest that relied on his developing decency and empathy for others it would have worked just as well.
I loved getting the Beast's POV, mostly because the redemption story is actually more interesting than the self-sacrifice-rewarded story. It made me wonder why there's a rule (how hard-and-fast it is I don't know, but I can't think of many exceptions) that in conventional romances, more than half the scenes need to be in the heroine's POV. Can anyone think of a romance novel that has a lot more of the hero's POV than the heroine's?
Wouldn't it be fun to get more of the hero's POV in some stories, particularly those where it's the hero who has the dramatic story arc? Hmmm. I'll have to think about that.
Second, I wonder if Beastly is really a romance novel. Kyle/Adrian is 16 at the beginning of the book and 18 at its end. Flinn doesn't fudge the True Love HEA of the fairy tale, but set in the world of modern-day teenagers, it's a little hard to think that couple will be together in five years, let alone fifty.
Here's why I didn't care -- at that age, I think it's lovely that they think they'll be together forever. Maybe they will and maybe they won't, but I consider it a happy ending either way. They're both better, healthier, happier people by the book's end. And regardless of whether they end up together in the long, long term or not, they have each other's backs. They have each learned to trust and to bond with another human being.
That's more than most teenagers have accomplished.