One of my favorite books while I was growing up was the Beauty and the Beast. I usually love retellings,as they show me a different side of the story that might be, that I have never considered before. This book, however, almost ruined it all for me. The only reason it didn’t was because I wouldn’t let one bad retelling to ruin my childhood favorite!
The story is about Lucie, who is a servant in Jean Leup’s palace. Through Lucie’s story, we see Jean Leup as a horrible person who only cares about money and the respect he received from his aristocratic community. He treats the servants badly and doesn’t even bother to look at them.
Lucie likes the thought of him. He is a very handsome man, and all she dreams about is for him to notice her. And one day, he does. And something really bad happens. Jean Leup does something horrible to Lucie.
[SPOILER – PLEASE CONTINUE CAUTIOUSLY]
He rapes her. And not only that this scene was very disturbing, it was also three pages long, with broad descriptions and it made be cringe badly. It made me hate everything and this was the part where I almost quit on reading this book]
[SPOILER FINISHED – YOU CAN CONTINUE READING]
After this big spoiler scene, the first reaction Lucie has is to kill herself. I am aware that this was a huge trauma for her, and people react differently, but if the author gives me this as a solution to her problem, do I want to continue reading? Is this really the lesson she learns?
With a bit of help of magic and wisdom words, she decides that now she wants for Jean Leup to suffer, and she wants to be able to see this happen. Suddenly, wish becomes a reality and the next thing we know, she is a candle that can’t move, and Jean Leup has turned into a Beast.
Do you get the Beauty and the Beast reference now? We see the story from the candle’s point of view, who is Lucie.
Well – not really!
Because here’s the twist – the Beast doesn’t remember what happened before. He doesn’t know he was Jean Leup. He doesn’t know he was bad in the past. The Beast is good by default, and a bit sad that he’s alone in a big castle. So I have to ask again – Where is the lesson? Where is the punishment? If he can’t remember he was bad, he’ll never learn why he is a Beast.
To continue and shorten the story – Lucie (the candle) can talk to the Beast through her mind. The Beauty (Rose) comes to the castle and the story goes on. Lucie decides that she is in love with the Beast, and I won’t reveal the rest, in case you want to read the book and see for yourself.
Now – I know that the author’s point wasn’t the lesson that the Beast learns as in the original story. Her point was to tell the story of the Beast, and Lucie, and how this tale can have a different plot, and ending, and back story. But I really believe that this was the wrong way of saying it, and it didn’t leave a clear message.
The writing was poor, and it went from one moment to another, leaving me there in the middle, wondering what happened. One scene begins, and another starts before anything is finished. It was disorientated, and I felt lost in the first 40 pages.
This is a no from me, and I will give it 2 stars because I managed to finish it.
Thanks to Candlewick Press for providing me with an ARC e-copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.