Friday, November 26, 2010

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Beastly by Alex Flinn
304 pages, paperback
Published: October 1, 2007
Summary: I am a beast. 
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.
After about the first two pages, I wanted to punch Kyle. Hard. He was snobby, shallow, deceitful, judgmental, and didn't care about anyone but himself. So when the girl he embarrassed in front of the entire school is revealed as a witch, I was pretty darn happy he became a hairy, ugly monster. I was completely set to hate Kyle for the entirety of this novel. Imagine my shock when I realized I actually cared what happened to him halfway through this quick read. Flinn does a great job of humanizing a boy who isn't really human (literally and figuratively) at all. His transformation was realistic and I was thrilled when I realized he wasn't one of the things he started out as. Linda, Kyle's only chance of redemption, was great, if not a little too perfect. I loved how she rejected him at first and very slowly came to love him. She was cute and a book nerd (squeal! I love book characters who love books) and the most sympathetic character in the novel. My favorite character was Will, however. He was a secondary character and I just loved how accepting he was of Kyle's condition. There was something gentle and sweet about him that I just loved.
The story is basically Beauty in the Beast with teenagers and a few modernizations. Flinn sticks pretty stiffly to the original when it comes to the romance, which annoyed me only a little bit. I would have liked to see some differences, but it was good nonetheless. I wasn't staying up late to finish it, but I wasn't putting it off either. The plot was paced pretty well, if not dwelling a bit too much on certain parts. Not once did it get tedious, which was great. The book's beginning was my least favorite part, since I hated Kyle through the whole thing. The middle got interesting and held my attention. But the ending held the best part of the novel. Things picked up and I was honestly worried about the characters a lot. I especially loved how the whole battle scene happened. Flinn really captured the suspense of the big fight scene. The whole rose thing was a nice touch, even though it wasn't quite as vital as in the original. Overall, I really enjoyed the story line of the novel, in particular the pacing.
Flinn's writing style is average in my opinion. She does a good job of getting you caught up in what's happening, but the minor details sometimes get lost in the story. I practically covet descriptive writing and Flinn's just isn't. While her descriptions were mediocre, the overall scenes played out nice and smoothly in my head. Not the highlight of this quick read, but not a low point really, either.
Overview: Kyle and Linda were a perfect match by the end and I loved how cute it all turned out. It's hard to judge the story since it was basically Beauty and the Beast redone, but it was good and gripping in a light, teen fantasy way. Nothing extraordinary in Flinn's first novel. The biggest grievance would be the summary on the back; it seems like this book will be dark, twisted, and a total page-turner. It was more of a light, airy romance taken straight out of a Disney movie. The use of so many name brands also kind of guarantees it a short shelf-life too, since already some of the references are out of date. That aside, my only other complaints were a) the little chatroom parts were kind of out of place and b) the fact that the characters were fifteen and had an undying love for one another was totally unrealistic. But hey, it was a fairy tale. Things aren't exactly scientific. I still enjoyed it and would recommend it to fans of fractured fairy tales. This genre has been growing, and Flinn's Beastly is somewhere in the middle on the grand scale of things.
Cover Rating: 4.5 stars
Character Rating: 4 stars
Plot Rating: 3.5 stars
Writing Style Rating: 2.5 stars
Overall Rating: 3 stars


LunaMoth said...

i remember when i read this i wanted to stop reading because i found Kyle just exasperating! he is very shallow and ick. but then i got to like the book (still never loved him though) and i loved Will too, he was so sweet! great review!

Xbellamayx said...

Thanks for following me :) I followed you also. I love your layout :) and did u know Beastly movie iscoming out in March?

Tiger Holland said...

*nods* I hear you on the descriptive writing. I tried to read this one once, and though the story seemed good, I couldnt' quite keep going because I wanted somthing more fromt he writing style. Great review!

Beth said...

I have been wanting to read this book for a while. I can't wait until the movie comes out so I have an excuse to go out and buy it!

T C Mckee said...

I've been wanting to read this since I saw the movie trlr. Now I'll really have to. Thanks for the review.

Mad Scientist said...

I do have an wonderful award for you at my blog, Steampunkery & Book Reviews.

I'm sorry if you do not accept them.

Loving your blog and I'm glad I found it.

Mad Scientist

Caroline said...

@ LunaMoth - Yeah, I never totally loved him either. Thanks! :)

@ Xbellamayx - I did know that. I'll definitely be going to see it. Thanks for following too!

@ Tiger - Yeah, the writing was what really bugged me. Thanks!

@ Beth - it was a pretty enjoyable read. :)

@ T C - Yeah, I heard about the movie and I had to get the book first of course.

@ Mad Scientist - I definitely do accept them. Thanks so much! :D

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