Beastly by Alex Flinn

December 19, 2012 Reviews 3

  • Date published: 8th February 2011
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • Format: Paperback, Movie Tie-in Edition, 304 pages
  • Series: Kendra Chronicles, Book 1
  • ISBN 13: 9780061963285 ISBN 10: 0061963283
  • Categories: YA – Other Paranormal
  • Goodreads / The Book DepositoryBooktopia / Bookworld
  • Source: bought

Love is never ugly

I am a beast. A beast! Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright. 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 watched the movie adaptation of this and was keen to read the book, so when I found it on sale I grabbed it! I enjoyed Beastly a lot more than the movie, and am looking forward to reading the rest of the Kendra Chronicles in due course. I think my favourite aspect is that the movie humanised Kyle’s transformation, so it was merely a collection of tattoos and piercings, so it seemed that he was still being egotistical by not going out in public, but in the book he has the hairy body, claws and teeth and it’s a lot more understandable why he goes into hiding.

I liked the characterisation, I loved Kyle’s slow transformation and even though he was a horrible person initially, I think he is always a strong character. I also liked Lindy, I think she’s also well realised and I enjoyed seeing her get to know Adrian (as Kyle renames himself). The secondary characters of Will and Magda are also great, I especially loved Magda because of her faith in some nugget of goodness she could see in Kyle that no one else could.

The book powerfully examines the preconceptions Kyle has about life, having been taught from an early age that looks and beauty get a person everywhere. It’s saddening to realise how bright he is, but he’s never had to actually be smart because his looks and his father’s money guarantees him anything he wants. I think what most upset me is that the world is really like that in some places, and Kyle’s blatant manipulation of the students and adults around him rang true. I’m not saying that people don’t have to work hard in this world, but seeing the way Kyle was brought up, it’s hard to see how he could think any differently. He could have been nicer about it though. Kyle can’t see that Magda works really hard as the maid, he envisions that she spends her days watching soaps on TV, cleans a little, runs errands and irons a few shirts, and then has the gall to look tired about it. Clearly the opinion of someone who has never even had to wash up a dinner plate after a meal.

A device I enjoyed are the chat-room meetings with other teens who have been similarly affected by witch’s curses. It’s cool to see that there are other stories out there, and I am keen to explore a few of them. I think they also show another side to Kyle’s growth: when he first starts going there he’s all me, me, me and can’t fathom that the troubles of the other kids might be just as important as his, but near the end he spends more and more time listening to their stories rather than talking about himself. Another thing I liked is the mirroring of the first and final scenes of the book, I think that they highlight that despite everything that’s changed for Kyle and Lindy, how things are the same for most of the student body.

Beatsly is an enjoyable book that made me think a lot, and it’s vastly better than the movie (and I enjoyed the movie, even though it stared Alex Pettyfer). If the rest of the Kendra Chronicles are as good as this then I am really looking forward to reading them!

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