Beastly (Review)

September 25, 2010

Book cover for "Beastly" by Alex Flinn.Title: Beastly

Author: Alex Flinn

Narrator: Chris Patton

Publication Year: 2007

Pages: 336 (audio length: 6 hours 42 minutes)

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult

Source: Free audiobook from AudioSync

From the cover:

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

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.

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for fairy tales, including modern re-tellings. So when this audiobook was offered up as a free download this summer, I jumped on it. I had seen it in a couple places on blogs before, but never really thought seriously about reading it. I needed something light for my walks to and from work, and Beastly hit the spot.

In terms of the storyline, the novel is expectedly predictable. I mean, it’s pretty hard to be unpredictable when you’re a retelling of a famous story, so that’s kind of part of the territory. And Beastly doesn’t really deviate far from the basics of the fairy tale, so there are individual things that you might not see coming – say, for example, a scene where Kyle/Adrian and Lindy watch The Princess Bride during a thunderstorm – but as far as major plot twists are concerned, there aren’t any real surprises. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t find the novel enjoyable, though. I liked the way that Flinn told the story and used all the little details to really make the story her own.

Part of what made Beastly interesting for me was the narration of the audiobook production: Patton did a very good job of fleshing out Kyle’s character from the beginning. So good a job, in fact, that I was actually irritated for the first couple sections of the book because of Kyle’s superiority complex and bad attitude. It really fit, though, and he continued to do a good job with the other characters as well.

I think my only complaint with this book is the simplicity and predictability of the story. I found myself wishing that Flinn would deviate farther from the core components of the fairy tale and make it even more of “her” story, which would have improved it quite a bit and made it more intriguing. Even as it stood, though, Beastly was an enjoyable, light-hearted read.

Rating:

10 Comments

  • Amy September 25, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one! It is a nice light tale isn’t it 🙂

  • Iris September 26, 2010 at 5:12 am

    I would love to read more fairytales and modern retellings *notes that down as another project*. It sounds like this worked really well, even if a little predictable.

    • Carina October 1, 2010 at 12:02 am

      Yup, definitely! Predictable isn’t always bad, it’s just good to know that if you were hoping for something more original.

  • Candace September 27, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    I’ve seen this one a lot, but I don’t recall having read a review, so thank you! And what a great review it is!

    Thanks for posting in the Saturday Situation Linky (that’s where I’m visiting from).

    • Carina October 1, 2010 at 12:00 am

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Tara September 28, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Wow! I LOVE your rating system! I’m a Scrabble freak! Cute idea! I have been going back and forth on ideas for my rating system. I have yet to come up with one I like!

    I have Beastly sitting on myself, it just keeps buried under my new books! I will have to dig it out and read it!

    • Carina September 30, 2010 at 11:57 pm

      Thanks so much! I’m a Scrabble freak, too, which is how the current theme for the blog came about. I stumbled on it one day when I was looking for a new design, and was just smitten!

      I kept seeing it around, but didn’t get around to reading it until I needed something nice and light.

  • brandileigh2003 October 2, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Sometimes simplicity is good. Where did you find free download?

    Visiting from Saturday Situation!
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

    • Carina October 2, 2010 at 11:40 am

      AudioSync was doing free downloads of YA books, 2 per week, over the summer. I don’t think they’re available for free anymore.

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