By: Sarah Pinborough
Published By: Gollancz
Publication Date: October 17, 2013
Page Count: 208
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Adult - Fantasy, Fairy Tale Inspired
Beauty was a strange read; it couldn’t quite make its mind up between being a fractured fairytale for young readers, and being a sizzle-fest for much older readers. I have decided though that it was meant for readers like me, who look fondly back at fairytales from childhood but can cope with a little spice. This isn’t going to be a recommendation for younger readers!
This tale is a reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, which crosses over with Beauty and the Beast, Red Riding Hood and a few other tales too. I liked how they were woven together, and I won’t spoil the story by talking about the plot – I feel like most readers should have a fair idea of the stories involved. I really liked how the Beast was woven into the story, presenting a fresh take on the traditional version. The Beast opened the door for nothing less than debauchery though, and after a good half a book lacking in much of that persuasion it came as a bit of a surprise! The only signs before that of the hot side of this book was the odd awkward sentence about Red Riding Hood leaning her nubile self up against someone. Really I felt like I could have done entirely without the sexual side of this story. It didn’t add much and the Beast was horrifying enough without it. It also creeped me out to think of my childhood favorites being so familiar.
Other minor niggles that got to me at the start of the story was a serious lack of commas. It made reading into surprisingly hard work. I got used to it though, and the style of the writing, and I felt my niggles drift away as I got more into it. I have already purchased the other two books in the series, as I was sucked in by the gorgeous covers, so I will read them at some point. I won’t be rushing to them, but I did enjoy the change of scenery from my other reads.
Beauty is a beautifully illustrated retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story which takes all the elements of the classic fairytale that we love (the handsome prince, the ancient curse, the sleeping girl and, of course, the haunting castle) and puts a modern spin on the characters, their motives and their desires. It's fun, contemporary, sexy, and perfect for fans of ONCE UPON A TIME, GRIMM, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN and more.