The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince – Serena Valentino

the-beast-within

As you can see from this book’s cover, it is a Disney book based on Beauty and the Beast. Being a big Disney fan I jumped at the chance to read anything Disney related. This book looks at the Beast and his life before meeting Belle. It leads from then to how he turned into the Beast and also gives an insight into his perspective and what he is thinking during the scenes from the movie. To say I loved this book would be an understatement as Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite Disney movies and this just gave me something extra to enjoy.

This book is less than 300 pages with a large font and beautiful layout. I can’t say for sure what age range it would be aimed at with Disney being a lifelong franchise however it did not take me long to read this book. I think if I wanted to I could have read it in one sitting however with being in Orlando at the time I did have quite a lot to do. I think this book took me two sittings to finish and when I did I definitely felt it missing.

The Beast Within looks at the Prince years before he came to meet Belle and even his relationship with Gaston. It includes everyone’s favourite characters from the movie, Mrs Potts, Cogsworth and Lumiere in the roles they held before the transformation. I was surprised from the opening pages as the prince was described as arrogant, superficial and snobbish, not what I had expected but then again we never really get a hint of what he was like before. If I was to be honest I didn’t like his portrayal because I didn’t like myself disliking this character.

I particularly enjoyed the overlap and taking us to some of our favourite scenes in the movie whilst giving the reader an insight into what the Beast was thinking at these times and why he did certain things. It included my favourite scene with Belle being presented with the Library and although the Disney animators did very well in portraying the feelings of the characters on their faces, it was a new angle to read how they felt and his reasons behind doing this for her.

Reading the end scene was interesting because the book presents Gaston and the Beast in a new light and gives them a past. I don’t want to contain any spoilers in this review but the plot of the book seems to add more drama to the already sad and climactic fight at the end.

I would highly recommend this book to any Disney fans, not to mention those who are a fan of the movie, Beauty and the Beast. It hit all my Disney obsessions and to add the icing to the cake there are two other books that I know of, one for the Evil Queen from Snow White and one for Ursula the Sea Witch with their backstories. I have already ordered them and as soon as they arrive I will be reading them. I am really enjoying seeing into the heads of some of the most infamous characters in the classic Disney movies and would definitely buy a whole collection of these books. I am living in the hope that they continue this as I can just imagine how fantastic the backstory of Cruella De Vil would be or even one from Scar if they could pin down an interesting way to write a story from the perspective of a lion.

I gave this book a solid 5 out of 5 stars on goodreads however my little fan-girl heart could have been a little biased to this. The book alone deserved extra marks as its presentation and layout was beautiful and all of the collection follows the same style presenting half the face of the character on the cover in a black and shiny hardback. I absolutely loved this book and cannot wait to get lost in the pages of the others.

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