A Tale of Beauty’s Beast
“They were holding a mirror up to the monster within, which was longing to escape.”
Who loves Beauty and the Beast? I think as readers so many of us love Belle because she shares our love of books!
I received a copy of The Beast Within from @scholastic_au for review. Spoiler alert, I thought it was wonderful!
As far as Disney retellings go, this one is a pretty highly rated one for me. I absolutely loved how the author intertwined mythology throughout the story. Not to mention my girl Ursula had a cameo!
I love retellings and re-imaginings, something about the art of taking a story and giving it a fresh face with some new twists is super appealing to me.
The Disney Villain series of books are so appealing to me because they give the villains a voice that they wouldn’t have normally had in the original films. The Beast Within DELIVERED let me tell you.
Valentino’s writing was so immersive that at points of my reading, I’d totally forgotten that I was reading a middle-grade book. This might be because there were other elements to the story besides what we know and love from the original film; in fact, Belle was only really mentioned in passing throughout the start of the book and didn’t resurface until the final chapters.
What I loved most about this story was that it showed the Prince and Gaston as long-time childhood friends, and for a good portion of the book (despite their terribly brutish and misogynistic attitudes) the two friends really had each others’ back.
Some of the language used throughout the book threw me off, as it was more mature than what I was expecting. The Beast has an inner monologue about how the witches are psychologically torturing him right off the bat and the book continues this theme for its entirety with regular mentions of fear, anger, depression and anxiety among the characters. There is also a mention of suicide towards the end of the book, so if you think your child is at the point where they might not fully comprehend what that means I would take that into consideration before reading to/with them.
Something special about this book was the mixing of the Disney fairytale with Mythology, the curse put on the Beast was concocted by none-other than Circe, there was also a mention to the name Morningstar which I thought was very clever.
For me personally, these mature themes are what made me love this book that little bit more. I found the darker twist on the story so fascinating and I know I’ll pick up the rest of the Disney Villains series.
I wholeheartedly believe that this book is a solid 4 out of 5 stars. If you are a Disney fan, and you find nostalgia in devouring everything Disney related, I highly recommend picking this up.