Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales
by Soman Chainani
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.
After writing The School for Good and Evil series, Soman Chainani turned to write a collection of fairy tale retellings. Beasts and Beauty is a collection of twelve classic fairy tales–creatively retold with a fresh new twist.
Anyone who admires fairy tales as much as I do will get lost in this book. Original, twisted, dark, magical—I found most of the tales fascinating, and I’d go so far as to say that Beasts and Beauty is at the top of my favorite retelling books this year. The endings of some of these stories have the power to make your jaw drop, while others offer more of a beginning—a prequel of a sort—originally left to the reader’s imagination. “Hansel and Gretel” had a twist I didn’t see coming. Not only that, a few of these sparked up conversations between everyone in the room who was listening. We needed time to mull over them for a while, and we all had our own opinions to share. This was a welcome change of pace, and the uniqueness of these tales exceeded my expectations. The gorgeous illustrations (mostly color) add the perfect touch too.
With that said, I’m still surprised this came out of the children’s section at my bookstore. This is a book I’d ‘cautiously’ recommend to children because there’s darker content including brutal killing, etc. Unless children are used to reading stories like that, these might be haunting, but then maybe they’ll love them like my older kids. A few tales also have vague sexual innuendos, but I’m confident that won’t sink in with younger readers. My 8-year-old was able to follow along, but she was lost in places with some of the complexities and the advanced vocabulary, so most of the tales weren’t as enjoyable for her. I had to sort of pick and choose which ones to read with her; however, they were perfect for my older middle-graders and my fairytale-loving self.
This is a happy purchase earning 4.5 stars from me.
This book has been added as an extra for the 2021 Retelling Reading Challenge. You can see my progress below by clicking the image.
Thanks for reading my review! Have you read any good retellings lately?