Beautifully Cruel Fairytale Retellings: Beasts and Beauty

The Book:

Title: Beasts and Beauty

Author: Soman Chainani

Published September 21st, 2021 by HarperCollins

Genre: Fantasy, Retellings, Short Stories

Pages: 336

You think you know these stories, don’t you?

You are wrong.

You don’t know them at all.

Twelve tales, twelve dangerous tales of mystery, magic, and rebellious hearts. Each twists like a spindle to reveal truths full of warning and triumph, truths that capture hearts long kept tame and set them free, truths that explore life . . . and death.

A prince has a surprising awakening . . .                           

A beauty fights like a beast . . .

A boy refuses to become prey . . .

A path to happiness is lost. . . . then found again.

New York Times bestselling author Soman Chainani respins old stories into fresh fairy tales for a new era and creates a world like no other. These stories know you. They understand you. They reflect you. They are tales for our times. So read on, if you dare.” -Goodreads

My Review:

Beautiful, Stunning, and Haunting.

Chainani rewrites classic fairytales like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast into haunting tales that give warning but gives out similar morals to the original tales.

This compilation of retellings is amazing. I have never read a Chainani novel. This one is excellent. I could not put it down.

Each story had quite a few differences from the normal Disney-fied version of the stories. There is a lot more gore and cruel acts among the characters. I loved it.

I also loved the use of a nonwhite and non-straight cast. Each story explored different cultures and different sexual orientations and gender presentations. It was unique to see when so many fairytales focus on eurocentric points of view.

If you are reading the story straight through, like I did, it can get quite taxing and repetitive. I would suggest reading one story and then putting the book down and visiting the next at another time.

I think my favorite was the retelling of Peter Pan and Beauty and the Beast. They both ended with such heartbreaking emotions that I almost cried.

Peter Pan was the very last story in the compilation. It left the book off with a chilling note. The story had romance and loss. It was wonderful.

Beauty and the Beast also had love and loss. It was a bit short in my opinion. I had wished their was more of the beast and Mei’s story. I did like where the story went.

The most amazing part of this book was the drawings. At the end of every story, their was a final drawing that caputured where the characters were in that moment. All the illustrations were beautiful. It is worth getting this book for the illustrations alone.

I would love to talk about this book with others. It is so clever and unique. I think everyone would enjoy this book. I will say that it is not for the faint of heart. If you like haunting and cruel stories, these are the fairytale retellings for you.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 3.5

Rating: 3 out of 5.