The Beast's Heart, by Leife Shallcross

There are some classic stories that just don't lend themselves to PC updates, and “Beauty and the Beast” is one of them. In her book The Beast's Heart, author Leife Shallcross does her best to minimize the fairytale's inherent problems, but there are too many to fully overcome.

The Beast's Heart is told from the Beast's point of view. The story follows the classic outline (albeit with several minor changes that emphasize that the Beast is secretly a Good Guy, and deeply worried about consent and free will). There's the enchanted castle, the rose, the daughter-for-dad swap, etc. In this version, the Beauty character's name is Isabeau, and the story flashes between her experiences at the castle and her family's life in their new home as they struggle to adjust to her absence.

I couldn't actively dislike Isabeau, but she's so bland that the Beast's angst-y preoccupation with her makes him seem a little dull, too. I wish the book devoted even more time to her sisters, who experience more compelling personal arcs. Still, fans of retold fairytales will find a lot to enjoy about this book... but, as with any attempt at making Beauty and the Beast into a “realistic” romance, you're gonna need to periodically turn off the critical parts of your brain.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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