November 8, 2011

REVIEW: Beastly by Alex Flinn

Auhor(s): Alex Flinn
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 304
Source: Library
Buy: Amazon || The Book Depository
WARNING: Possible Spoilers


Summary from GR:
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 a perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly beastly.
My Review:

Beastly is the tale of Kyle Kingsbury, a charming yet incredibly malicious prince. Learning from his father’s example, he treats those who he perceives as inferior like dirt. He is, as the witch Kendra calls him, “a beast” in pretty packaging. So what happens when he crosses the one person, or in this case “magical creature”, that he should not have lashed out on? What happens when all of a sudden he is not only a beast on the inside, but on the outside as well? If true love’s kiss is the only way to break the curse, how is he, popular and heartbreaking prince Kyle Kingsbury, supposed to achieve it? With his looks and his personality, was it even possible?

It’s quite the interesting premise, and I give Alex Flinn props for that, not to mention that the book was definitely a quick read, fast and understandable. There were few things I liked about Beastly. One particular thing off the top of my head is Kendra, the witch who turns Kyle into a beast (this is not a spoiler, okay; you can practically figure it out from the first pages). I find her infinitely more fascinating than the two main characters. Maybe it’s because she’s a witch, I don’t know, I just like her better. Another thing I enjoyed about this novel is that it was such a quick book to read. I started it one morning and finished it in less than a day (counting hours, not actual days). I enjoyed the laid-back feel to it. I also really liked Will. He seemed like the most sane and down-to-earth character.

Unfortunately, there are many more things about this book that I disliked instead of enjoyed.

A particular thing (person) I disliked in this book is the two main characters, Kyle and Lindy. They are just so…boring? Uninteresting? Stupid? I found Kyle extremely dislikeable in the beginning, but I hoped somehow, by the end, that he would have some greatly redeeming qualities as a result of the curse. I thought he’d be completely changed…NO. Unfortunately, he just gets incredibly less hostile. Okay, I admit, it’s a good start, but I expected more. Throughout the whole time he’s a beast, There is so little sign of genuine remorse from him. All the time he seems to be pretending, faking having changed. Learning to garden, and controlling yourself from tearing at people’s throat is not the kind of progress I was hoping for. Some might say that he has learned to welcome untraditional beauty, and all I have to say to that is BULLSHIPS. He learns to admire roses, and the last time I checked, roses are widely regarded as a “beautiful” flower. He doesn’t even learn to manage money well, he still squanders it buying useless things. Even when he falls in love with Lindy, he has not changed. He doesn’t fall for her completely until she whips off the glasses and puts on a dress that magically turns her incredibly beautiful. Lindy isn’t supposed to be beautiful, she’s supposed to be plain and homely. Getting rid of the glasses and putting on a dress shouldn’t change that. If her inner beauty was what Kyle fell for, I don’t understand the fixation he had with the way she looked then. If Alex Flinn had used the word “glowing”, instead of another word for “beautiful”, to describe Lindy in this scene, it would have made much more sense to me. It would mean she is still homely and plain looking, but her aura would have changed, not her physical appearance.

Anyway, I didn’t particularly like Lindy either. She was pretty much Barbie disguising herself as one of Barbie’s lesser known friends. Who in their right mind seriously giggles so much? Every other time she and Kyle are together it’s like a giggling fest. In some ways, she is as shallow as Kyle, however, I do like her better than him. It makes me wonder how she even came to like him in the first place (before the whole turning into a beast thing), especially after witnessing what he did to Kendra. I wouldn’t care if he had given me goshdamn Paris, France, he would still be an a-hole. And a-holes are a-holes, no matter how blonde and blue-eyed. The only real decent thing he’s done redeeming in the entire book is to ask Kendra to bring Will’s eyesight back.

It’s actually really surprising to me how rant-y this is sounding and how much of this book I actually didn’t like. Even the writing doesn’t do much for me. I mean I’m not one who should talk, but the writing is just so…meh. It’s understandable and easy, but it’s not beautiful like I’d hoped it’d be. I was hoping for wording more magical, more fluid. Instead, the dialogues are often choppy and awkward. Many times, I found some of the scenes too unnatural and forced.

I don’t know, maybe it’s my mind frame right now, or something, but this novel just isn’t for me at the moment. I might have enjoyed it more, perhaps, if Kyle had more feeling. But he didn’t. Neither did Lindy. Their “romance” just seemed so fake. Maybe it’s because they’re, what, sixteen years old? I found there wasn’t much depth in their romance. Not even the fact that Kyle’s a beast made it any deeper. It was just…bleh.

Overall, the book was okay. I didn’t particularly like it and I probably won’t remember it in a few years, but at the same time, I didn’t hate it. Hopefully, Alex Flinn’s series about Kendra is MUCH better since I don’t want to start disliking her character as well.


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Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books
Grip of the Shadow Plague
The Necromancer
City of Fallen Angels
Anne of Ingleside
Where She Went
Dust & Decay
The Legacy
Never Dead
Life Is But a Dream
The Lost Hero
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
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