Hello humans! Yes, I am once more part of another fabulous blog tour, these are some of my favourite opportunities to see what other bloggers are doing and, quite often, to discover new bloggers I hadn’t previously been following.
Today’s blog tour is for Leif Shallcross’ The Beast’s Heart which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast from the perspective of The Beast. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? (Unless you don’t like retellings in which case, that’s totally fine not to enjoy this).
I’ve actually already reviewed The Beast’s Heart earlier this year, back in April, which I would recommend heading back and reading. I’ll link it here.
However, it’s been quite a while since I read The Beast’s Heart (my review schedule is all kinds of skewed so I actually finished the book on February 3rd (the day after my birthday). So since then, I’ve had some time to ruminate on the book and also I’ve read quite a few retellings since then so I have a few more thoughts to share. I hope you’ll humour me and also check out all the other amazing bloggers on this tour, as well as reading the book itself of course!
Potential Spoiler Alert
I don’t think any of the things I mention here will be a surprise to people who know Beauty and the Beast as a tale, but if you’re desperate to avoid spoilers then I’d just read my original review. You have been warned.
Siblings, I hadn’t considered it upon a first read, but so often Belle is depicted, as in the Disney version(s), as an only child. In this book, however, Belle has not one but two siblings! For me this was such an important element, not only because it brought in more female characters (never a bad thing) but also because it allowed for more development in what I would call ‘the real world’, the world far away from The Beast’s castle. Where most adaptations focus in on Belle, the only outside glimpses being her father’s sickness and the forming of angry mobs, this book makes it clear that the world does not stop while one daughter is stuck in a fairytale. For some people love stories don’t emerge through enchantment and other magical means, for some characters love is solid, love comes with waiting, and love makes complete sense.
I also liked that this extra dimension gave Belle more to come back to, and actually gave her return more of a challenge, she has to deal with the ramifications that she has been away for some time.
I also, looking back on it, think that it’s important to delve more into the voice of The Beast and the personality Leif Shallcross has crafted for what often feels like at most a two-dimensional character. In the original story and most adaptations, the Beast goes from being a flawed, entitled human, to a beast, before returning at the end to being a reformed human. What I like about this take on The Beast is that you get much more of a sense of the transformation that occurs before the physical transformation, as well as the sense that post-transformation there is still work to be done. It’s a recognition that love and being loved does not magically fix a flawed personality and that there is always something to be worked on. It’s why I think some people haven’t got on with the character wholly, because he does read as very entitled and that isn’t quite gone by the end of the book. This is obviously just my personal opinion, but I took that as more of a reflection of his past and the things he needed to work on changing rather than as something that was being held up as an ideal character trait.
As with most fairytale retellings, this is probably going to be a little polarising (a cursory glance through Goodreads confirms my suspicions) but if you’re the kind of person who likes a romance with complex characters or if you love a fairytale then I think it’s safe to say that you will enjoy this.
What say you? Also, let me know if you ever get the urge to write second reviews after you’ve had some time to mull on things, can this be a thing?