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December 27, 2019

My Favorite & Not So Favorite Beauty & The Beast Retellings

Beauty & The Beast has been my favorite fairytale since the day I saw the Disney movie. I really just like the Beast because his exterior appearance is big, strong, tough while inside, he's just a gentle fellow who wants to be loved. As of today, Beauty & The Beast is no longer my main favorite fairytale. I read the original story and it wasn't all that great, it's the Disney movie that made it great. I will still read retellings of Beauty & The Beast but I just won't go looking them anymore. So here's a list of Beauty & The Beast retellings that I have read and some I didn't finish. (These are not in any particular order.)

My Favorite & Not So Favorite Beauty & The Beast Retellings

01 | Barefoot on the wind by Zoƫ Marriott > link
The writing is oh-so lovely and the Japan settling is just perfect. My only complaint is that the end seems rather short. I kind of wish the author had written more about the ending, that is, more details, explanations, otherwise, it's a great book.

Favorite Quote: "His silence and stillness felt like a chasm yawning between us now. And I found that I was sorry — and I wanted somehow to bridge the silence. Not to ask all the questions that burned inside me, to discover just what he meant — how could anyone forget their own name? — or where this strange home of his was, or what had happened to bring me here. Not even to attempt to placate him for my own safety. I had hurt him and I wanted to soothe the wound."

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02 | Beauty by Robin McKinley > link
Beauty is a mostly true to the original story. I like the main characters and even though we don't get much information about the beast, there's still a lot to enjoy. I can easily admit that this is my ultimate favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling of all time.

Favorite Quote: "There was something about the way he stood there without looking at me: Resignation born of long silent hopeless years sat heavily on him, and I found myself involuntarily anxious to comfort him."

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03 | Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley > link
Robin McKinley wrote two Beauty and the Beast retelling and Rose Daughter is her second one. I like the rooftop scenes and talk of stars and there is a story within a story but there seems to be a lot of talks of gardening which is okay but I'm not a gardener or even a fan of gardening so that part didn't interest me as much. Sometimes I like the ending for Rose Daughter better than Beauty because this is not an ending that you would expect. I read Rose Daughter after Beauty so I was not expect to even like this but I did and still do. I have re-read this several times now.

Favorite Quote: "The Beast was a darkness the starlight could not leaven."

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04 | Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay > link
It seems like the settling is futuristic but there is this strange sense that nothing here is futuristic, rather, they are a bit archaic but I like that. I kind of wish the author had chosen one perspective instead of three or even omnipresent considering one of the perspective didn't really do much for the story. Other than that, it's a pretty good retelling plus it didn't have that teenage angst even when the characters are in fact teenagers.

Favorite Quote: "Never, in my wildest dreams, would I have imagined that finding out I've been wrong feel like this. That I would want to pull my beautiful face off the wall and hurl the mirror to the floor, stomp on the pieces until my feet bleed, scream until I lose my voice. That I would wish with every fiber of my being to go back to the way life was before, when I believed myself ugly, when the world and my place in it were perfectly clear."

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05 | Hunted by Meagan Spooner > link
Hunted is a bit one-sided with most of the story centering on Yeva (aka Beauty) though we do get glances of the Beast's thoughts. This would have been a great retelling if we have gotten a longer, detailed ending instead it just rush toward the end without even bothering to explain most of it. And perhaps more of the Beast's backstory would be nice because quite frankly, I thought there is simply not much about him, not even his name which is hinted at but no definite idea whether it is true or not. I did enjoyed the story but not the rushed ending.

Favorite Quote: "The merchant's youngest daughter was renamed Yeva, after the temptress in the garden. She would preferred Beauty, for at least there is beauty in all things, not only temptation, but Yeva she was to be."

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06 | Beastly by Alex Flinn > link
I hate the chatroom parts - I just think they aren't useful to the story but these are teenagers and I guess it fits in with their lifestyle but it's a bit dated even though this is a modern retelling. I guess I didn't quite relate to the popular teenager boy aka Kyle (aka the beast). But as the story progress, I started to like him a bit and he did changed because of Linda (aka Beauty) which is really the main thing. I like the witch Kendra and the blind tutor Will a lot, probably more than Kyle or Linda - this book would not be as enjoyable to read without them.

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07 | Finding beauty in the beast by Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee > link
This is a sort of Beauty and the Beast retelling but without magic or curses but somehow it feels like a fairytale. I wish the ending is a little bit longer. They could have added more scenes between Corbin and Rose and not just summed up their story like there's no time because the beginning of the book is moderately slow. Perhaps the writing is a little sentimental but I did expected it from this author. Overall a pretty good retelling though I really would not categorize this as a retelling, rather it just has some similar bits.

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08 | Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier > link
I actually didn't like this much until I had a second read. I suppose the beast aka Anluan is a bit too mysterious and we sort of get to know him but I just felt like we still don't know all that well even toward the end of the book. It is Caitrin's aka Beauty's story and we only get her perspective with the occasional insight into the crazy man who started the curse. I think the part that really does not work for me is when Caitrin leaves the castle and when she returned, she was told what happened instead of us seeing it, which is kind of sad because that part is what I would like to know more about. It is Caitrin's story and everything's told in her perspective but it would have been nice to know some more of Anluan and not just bits of him. It's a pretty good retelling except for the part I have mentioned.

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09 | Beauty and the Beast by Max Eilenberg, Illustrated by Angela Barrett > link
I don't know if I should include this here because all the books on this list are novels and this is a children's illustrated book. Honestly, I just love the illustrations and didn't quite pay attention to the story but it is like the original Beauty and the Beast story so there is nothing new here except for the lovely illustrations.

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10 | Second Kingdom by Rebecca Reddell > link
The first part of the book is full of conversations that gave a lot of exposition but it's hard to get to know characters when all they do is talk and they even talk out loud to themselves. What's wrong with internal dialogues? They used that too. But mostly I just think the first part of the book is a little bland.

It does get better when we are with Beast or the beast or Erza, somehow the names get switched here and there and that bothered me a lot. Couldn't they settled on one name? Technically speaking, Beast (which I will call him) is over 100 years over and yet, he seems to not have learned anything in 100 years. When he suddenly acted like a hormonal teenager, it makes me wonder what the heck he has been doing all this time - like, why isn't he more mature? There is some outburst from him but basically, he's a calm beast. And I don't like the way he looks - he is described like a vampire - blue skin, fangs, red eyes - what the hell?

Roz aka Beauty is nothing special. There are some fun dialogues between Beast and Roz but I just don't see how he could have fallen for her and she for him. He basically stalked her through a magic mirror and they clearly stated he can't watch her during private moments like when she's inside her house, only in public places which is just weird anyway.

The writing is just okay but what bothers me is the way the author uses the word 'told' when someone said something and it just sounds off. This could have been a really good book but it really needs more editing. And I don't like the synopsis - it's like they gave the whole thing away. The cover is beautifully designed and yet, I think they should change the title because the kingdom that the story is set in is in the first kingdom if I remember correctly, so I don't get this title.

Spoiler - And the ending kind of sucks because it simply returns everything to the beginning, to 100 years ago and if that is so, then Roz doesn't exist. They are basically not in the same time period and don't tell me Beast gets his 100 years again until Roz gets born because that's stupid logic. If he haven't been cursed, then 100 years wouldn't have passed and basically, when you returned a character back in time, some things and people shouldn't exist. Nothing have been solved instead they have been erased even though we didn't get any explanation for the sickness or how the people's lives changed when their present no longer existed. - End Spoiler This ending just makes me wish I haven't read the book. So did not like this book? No. I like the idea but it really does need more editing and maybe a better ending.

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11 | Uprooted by Naomi Novik > link
I might have skimmed toward the end. I guess I just didn't like the dragon aka the beast (btw, he is not a dragon or nor does he turn into a dragon, it just seems to be a nickname or a job title). Also I was put off by the sex scene - why are they trying to have sex in the middle of a terrifying crisis? So maybe they were in the moment but it puts me off. But I mostly didn't like this book because the dragon is a prick and he hasn't been changed by love or anything, at least, not according to me. The beauty of the tale of the Beauty and The Beast is that love changes the beast and makes him a better person but this beast stays the same and like I said, he's a bit of a prick, a jerk, I don't understand why women likes men who treats them badly, I really don't. It's not a terrible book but I guess it's not for me.

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12 | The Beauty's Beast by E.D. Walker > link
Maybe I just didn't like the beast enough or the fact he's in animal form all through the book and basically have zero contact with beauty as anything but in animal form and anything she finds out about him is through a third party. Plus he's more of her pet than her lover. And how can she be in love with him as a man when she never even saw or interact with him when he's a man? I read this a long while ago so maybe I'm wrong about some of these things but I still don't ever want to read this again.

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13 | The Beauty and the Beast Illustrated with Interactive Elements by Gabrielle-Suzanna Barbot de Villenueve > link
The illustrations are okay but the format of the book with various popups and such is just so weird and not really all that interactive unless you're five years old. I guess this could be a children's book but it isn't written for children so the format just throws me off. The story is not bad but it's hard to judge when I'm annoyed by a sudden popup but mostly, I found the art just kind of do not match the writing. Perhaps they should have just made this a children's book because I do not know any adults that likes these kind of pop-up books.

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14 | Withering Rose by Kaitlyn Davis > link
It's not that this isn't a good book (actually this is a horrible book), it's just that its focus is so much on the romance (which I do not believe it as I think they are more like two people stuck on an ice island and doing nothing) that it just didn't work for me. Also the whole book almost mirrors the Disney film (just without the singing or the humor or the likable characters) so that any original content is lost. And also because I hated the name Omorose (as beauty). What's up with that? Is a normal name too plain for her? I wanted to read this because it's a Beauty and the Beast retelling and also the beginning of the book sounded good but it all went downhill but if you're into romance (a whole lot of romance and nothing else), then you might like this. (I did a long snarky rant review in my last blog but I deleted it but I posted here if you want to read it.)

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15 | Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen > link
There is one thing in in this book that I have avoided like the plague - vampires - I do not like reading about them, they freak me out. Every time the word is used, I glossed over it. I could ignore them for the first half of the book because they aren't mentioned as much but for the second half of the book, even when they don't mentioned them, I still think in my head one of the characters will suddenly be revealed as a vampire or one would show up suddenly and start attacking - so this sort of makes reading the second half of the book a bit uneasy. The romance is rather quick - one moment they are strangers with hardly any fun banters between them and the next, they are suddenly in love. The steps in between is not there or if there, is kind of vague or brief. I didn't like the beast aka Blackwell or beauty aka Lucy - one is always sulking about his miserable life and doing nothing about it and the other is so stubborn, so determined that she puts herself in constant danger and the various ways she gets injured just makes me wonder why she didn't die at the end. Okay, so the romance might not be all that great but the mystery is sort of great, that is, until they revealed everything which involves vampires - I honestly thought there wouldn't be so much mention of them.

Spoiler - The villain is simply someone who wants to marry her cousin because she loved him but then it became her way to survive, by marrying him, she would have the resources to continue to live as a vampire which seems like a secondary thing because she actually loved her cousin to which I say: Stop It! Stop falling in love with your cousin! But then her revenge is kind of dumb - she could just fled and never be found again which would still not work well for her but perhaps she could have found another way to live. I sort of pity her just a little and kind of wish they didn't kill her in such a gruesome way. - End Spoiler

Upon a second read, it was more enjoyable when I ignored the vampire talk and accepted the fact that the heroine is so strong-willed that she can live through any bodily harm done to her. The beast is not as gloomy although having his sister and wife died in the same year along with a heart that may be dying and PTSD from a war he served plus being a shifter (he turns into a wolf a couple of times a year) that forces him to be away from his family a couple of times a year - add them all up and you wonder why this guy isn't in therapy but I like to think he is just as strong-willed as the heroine and so he can survived all these mental assaults. So now I actually do like this book though I must admit, I still think it would have been better if there were no vampires in the book.

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16 | Scarlet in the Snow by Sophie Masson > link
The beginning is a little like Beauty & the Beast which is quite wonderful, the middle is just someone running around which is a little bit boring, the ending is like Snow White but not as nice. The ending cheated the reader somehow with explanations instead of actual happenings. They could have switched narrator and I wouldn't have minded that. I suppose when you tell a story using the first person and only show that person's point of view, it means you get a one-sided story and if the person is not awake to events, they can't tell what's going on. I don't hate this book but I don't like it that much. Perhaps I just hate endings where we are told what happened but we don't experience it which might have allowed us to truly enjoy the whole story.

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17 | Beast Charming by Jenniffer Wardell > link
Beast Charming is actually very charming as the author doesn't try to make the characters likable, rather, she makes them real characters in a somewhat surreal world. I like the banters between all the characters and the fact that in this world, everyone treats magic and curses, even dragons, like everyday, normal things and this makes it quite easy to enjoy the book. I was a bit annoyed by the switching of Beast's name - sometimes it's James and sometimes it's Beast, I think this could have been corrected somehow. Beast Charming is definitely the most enjoyable retelling I have ever read.

Favorite Quote: "I'm a huge, hulking monster with anger management issues. I'm contractually obligated to encourage violence and anarchy on principle."

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18 | Beauty by Susan Wilson > link
This is a retelling that occasionally reads like a fairytale but it doesn't involve curses or magic. It is set in the modern world and it does kind of tells a Beauty and the Beast story with the woman going to some stranger's house to paint his portrait, some sort of tradition that the man aka beast's family always did. And since the woman's father cannot do it, she had to go in his place much like the original story of Beauty and the Beast. What I enjoyed most about this modern retelling is the way the beast is very human and very easily to like. This is a pretty good book if not a retelling.

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And here are The Unfinished - these are books I've tried to read but failed to get into them:

001 | Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodges > link
I skimmed toward the end and that was it for me. I guess I didn't like the characters or their names - Nyx, Ignifex - those names drives me nuts. Can people have normal names? The best thing about this book is the cover.

002 | A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas > link
I would not really say this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, it's has some slight similarities but that's it. I wish people would stop referring to this as a retelling. I couldn't finish reading this book anyway. It just seems, I don't know, a bit like those romance novels in which characters do stupid things and we accept it as normal. I still don't know why this is Young Adult considering the sex in this book. But at least it has a beautiful cover which is really the only nice thing I can say about this book.

003 | A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer  >link
I didn't finish this book because it keeps making detours and doing things that are just so boring. The evil enchantress or witch or whatever is just stupid. She has all the power to do what the hell she wants and she chose to torment a prince, why? They said it's revenge but I said it's stupidity. I don't care about her nor the prince nor the girl except for Grey the prince's bodyguard - he's the only interesting one aside from the monster which we only hear and never see even after 200 pages. If only they had told the story with Grey's point of view, I would have finish this book but sadly, the main characters did not make me care about them in any way, all they do is fight with each other and then boom, they are swooning over each other, I mean, I guess that's what most YA fantasy romance is like so I can accept that but I didn't read to the end so I don't know if the romance is justified.

This is not much of a Beauty and Beast retelling considering we don't see the monster aka the beast even 200 pages in. I mean, the whole point of Beauty and the Beast is that there is a beast and beauty have to learn to love the beast, not the extremely attractive and almost kind prince - who wouldn't fall in love with him? If she had seen a beast/monster suffering, I doubt she would care much. The only reason I didn't finish this is because I just couldn't care less what happens to these people and I was kind of confused with the switching of perspectives because it's told in first person and they keep switching from the prince to the girl so quickly, that I sometimes mistake one for the other.  It's not a bad book but I just couldn't get into it.

004 | The Beast of Ten by Beth Browerlink
The beginning was decent but then it became quite boring with the main character aka beauty just wandering about some large palace and then some explanations of the magic system sprinkled here and there which I don't understand at all. We only get glimpses of the beast or whatever his name is (they don't tell you until later) and in those few glances, he's just like some stranger that we, well, I, really don't care to get to know at all. I mostly didn't finish this book because I was so bored. It might get better if I keep reading but I was just so damm bored and then I thought, the hell with it. If it wasn't a sort of a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I wouldn't even try to read this book. But someone with more patience than me would probably enjoy this.

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Do you have a favorite or not so favorite Beauty & The Beast Retelling?

10 comments:

  1. I had no idea there were so many of them.
    I am glad you enjoyed some and indeed most of them.

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    Replies
    1. @Elephant's Child: If you look up 'Cinderella' or any other fairytale retellings, there would be a lot as well. It seems a new fairytale retelling is written all the time.

      And yes, I definitely have enjoyed these retellings. most of them anyway.

      Thank you for stopping by. Have a lovely day.

      Delete
  2. Robin McKinley's Beauty is my absolute favorite version of this fairy tale. A close second would be The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross, which I just read this past year. It's told from the Beast's perspective which I really liked. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Lark: Robin McKinley's 'Beauty' is my absolute favorite Beauty & The Beast retelling as well. I have not read 'The beast's heart' but I'll check it out.

      Thank you for stopping by. Have a lovely day.

      Delete
  3. Didn't realize there were so many re tellings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Christine: Actually, there's probably like thousands but I'm not going to check any more.

      Thank you for stopping by. Have a lovely day.

      Delete
  4. I don't think I ever realized there were so many B&tB retellings, but some of these look great. I've always been intrigued by the look of Hunted.

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    Replies
    1. @Greg: 'Hunted' is definitely worth checking out though I still wished it had a longer ending.

      Thank you for stopping by. Have a lovely day.

      Delete
  5. I love books that I can re-read several times and still enjoy the story. Even better when you can read the same book but focus on a different character or aspect and imagine a whole different side to the story.

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    Replies
    1. @River: I do a lot of re-reading as well although I have found that some books you just can't re-read much.

      Thank you for stopping by. Have a lovely day.

      Delete

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