Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge

Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge

by Lisa Jensen

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763688806
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 07/10/2018
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 142,844
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Lisa Jensen is the author of the adult novels Alias Hook and The Witch from the Sea. She is a longtime film critic and columnist for the alternative weekly Good Times, and she runs an arts and entertainment blog. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.

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Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Millie_Hennessy 8 days ago
I won a copy of this book from LibraryThing in exchange for my honest review. Inspired by a quote from Greta Garbo, who supposedly cried “Give me back my Beast!” after watching the Jean Cocteau film, Jensen turns the traditional tale sideways. The prince, or Chevalier, is still handsome and cruel – after he rapes Lucie she vows revenge – and he’s still turned into a hideous beast. Only this time, the beast is almost instantly a different person. He doesn’t have to learn to be kind and appears to forget his human past. When the beauty shows up after her father traditionally steals the rose, she now threatens to break the spell and revert the kind beast back to the cruel Chevalier. Lucie must do what she can to prevent that – only she’s been transformed by the spell too. I won’t say how; this part took me completely by surprise when I was reading and it was wonderfully done. If you’re worried, the rape scene isn’t overly graphic, but that doesn’t make it easy to read. The aftermath of the traumatic is fraught with just as much, if not more, emotion. Lucie feels a constant, secret shame about what was done to her, though it wasn’t by any means her fault. “I speak to no one, and no further notice is taken of me. I try to believe that if I’m quiet enough, insignificant enough, someday I might disappear altogether, like the dew off a rose. I will escape my memory, my shame, even my flesh, and the torment of my life will end. I pray for that moment.” Her shame and guilt drive her to drown herself, though she’s unsuccessful. This is how she meets the wise woman who helps exact her revenge. “He has taken a great deal from you, my dear. Don’t let him have the rest. Prove you have the stronger heart and survive.” Lucie does just that. The tone lightens somewhat after that. Once the Chevalier and Lucie are transformed, Lucie’s perspective on the beast and herself changes. She was a mousy, plain girl before, who didn’t think much of herself (though she wasn’t overly negative.) After her transformation, she considers herself beautiful and strong. “I am strong, as I never was before. I am here to show him what he has become.” Her outlook on the entire situation was a refreshing one, yet another spin Jensen puts on the familiar tale. The story focuses more on the successful transformations of the two main characters, rather than the beast and his beauty pining for what he once was. Yet again, Jensen created an immersive story and characters that were easy to care about. Or, well, loathe, in the case of the Chevalier. I loved every page of this book. From the surprising transformation of Lucie to the emotional transformation of the beast to the interruption caused by beautiful Rose – Jensen kept me guessing what would happen next and praying that my ship would sail. I can’t wait for more from Jensen! I’ll leave you with an abbreviated quote: “That’s the sort of story folk love – a clear moral, a happy ending. It comforts them to think the barriers between virtue and evil, love and hate, beauty and beast, are so clearly defined…Happily ever after takes hard work, but folk don’t like to hear about that.” I highly recommend this if: -You enjoy darker retellings -You like your love stories with a side of revenge -You enjoy books that fall into the rare, magical gap between YA and adult
JillJemmett 5 months ago
This is an original retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it didn’t work for me. The story started off well. I liked the upstairs/downstairs aspects, where Lucie had to view the Chevalier from afar because she was a maid. But he wasn’t who she expected. There was a sexual assault, which made me feel uncomfortable. It wasn’t the actual assault, but her reaction to it. She just wanted revenge in any possible way. Lucie was blinded by this idea of revenge, so she didn’t even notice other things that were happening around her. There was a lot of description in this story. The mansion and the grounds were described in a lot of detail, mostly because the main character couldn’t speak for most of the story (you’d have to read it to understand why). This was great because I could imagine everything, but I would have liked to have more tension to move the story along. It would have been more powerful if there was less description and more action. I won’t spoil the ending but the Beast wasn’t who she thought he was. The way the story ended was unique, but I couldn’t get into the rest of the story. I received a copy of this book from the publisher on NetGalley.
Cyn_Ayala23 8 months ago
Before beginning, let’s provide a trigger warning: there's a rape scene early in the book. It is uncomfortable to read and highlights the viciousness that is the “prince.” It is not easy to get past this, but it does offer the story something tangible to attach his cruelty to. That being said, no, it is not going to be for everyone, especially not for rape survivors and not for young readers. It is a rough scene, no pun intended, and it is going to turn many people off. That being that, it gives the story a little realism to attach to the prince, this cruelty that goes beyond just selfishness. Yes, the prince has always just cared about himself and has been cruel, but now there is something tangible to attach to the cruelty, and that will create emotion to the story. There are layers of emotion to the story as it twists the story, turning Lucie into the lamp, and watching the Beast develop. The character representation is fantastic, turning the tables on the beast. There is a sort of dissociative disorder going on here with two distinct personalities coming to life. Beast has no awareness of Jean-Loup, being the submissive personality, but as the story goes on and he becomes more aware of his ruthless personality. The dichotomy between the two characters is incredible and makes the novel stand apart from other retellings that are just about a guy learning to change his way. No here, it is about a good man overcoming the monster inside him. The story is about the Beast being the hero, the good guy, and not the Prince. He was always the mask, the monster, the real beast of the story. Moreover, that is what so compelling about the novel, to see this character develop and the story develops around him. As far as stories go, it was interesting. It had a solid foundation and an exciting way to develop the protagonist while capturing the essence of the original beauty and the beast. So are so many elements that intermingle to tell this new version of the narrative, but there are also many shifts, Making Lucie the lamp was both intelligent and unique. It gives the story a new perspective to follow as it tells the story. The victim is the one who is telling the story, and that is what makes it interesting. Again, this is not going to be a story for everyone, but the empowerment that the victim gains, the power to recover and face the monster that hurt her, it is empowering to the reader. It shows character growth; it shows stability. Because of that, it is worth reading, to see how the story and the characters evolve.
ElleyKat 9 months ago
I have to start with a trigger warning: there is a rape scene early on in the book. This review will touch on the impact of that on Lucie, so consider yourself warned if you decide to read on. I was constantly surprised by this book, and I love when an author takes a well known fairy tale and gives it a different spin, views it from another angle, takes it down a different path. This Beauty & the Beast story is told from the point of view of a maid named Lucie, who finds work in the house of Jean-Loup (who is the handsome and arrogant prince of this story for all intents and purposes). She's infatuated with his handsome face and gets a rather brutal awakening when he lures her to his room one night and rapes her. The rest of the book has a lot of content dealing with Lucie's feelings about being raped and her desire to get revenge on Jean-Loup. The witch or enchantress or whatever she is arrives and turns Jean-Loup into a Beast, and Lucie - who desires to watch him suffer - she turns into a candlestick so she may stand silent sentinel while Jean-Loup pays his penance. I'm seeing a LOT of 1 star DNF reviews for this book that are upset, and I can't really go into that without spoilers, so - !!SPOILERS!!! Lucie does end up falling in love with Beast, and a LOT of people are outraged that she falls in love with her rapist. The author justifies this by explaining that Jean-Loup is basically a parasite that has taken over Beast's lifeforce, so while Beast is sleeping within the handsome body of Jean-Loup, and Jean-Loup is then trapped within the animal body of Beast, they're not really the same person? Also in the end Lucie is able to completely banish Jean-Loup from Beast's being so the personality that raped her no longer exists within him. Basically, don't look at it too closely or you'll break the delicate suspension of disbelief. Now you can take from that what you will, decide you're OK with it or that it's garbage and she's with the man who raped her. To me, Beast is an entirely different personality and also a different body than Jean-Loup, so it didn't bother me. (END SPOILERS) The spell turning Jean-Loup into Beast can only be broken if someone agrees to marry him in his beastly form, so when Rose (aka Beauty) comes around and starts getting some delusions of grandeur, Lucie is immediately on her guard. Past wishing to watch Jean-Loup suffer, Lucie has grown to care for Beast and knows that if Rose should marry him it will mean the return of the evil Jean-Loup. I love that Rose is kind of a pain in the ass. I also love the weaving of elements from the original verion(s) of the story with the Disney version (hello, talking candlestick much?) I'm not saying this book doesn't have its issues, but overall I liked it and it was definitely a very original take on the beauty and the beast story. That being said, this definitely isn't a story for everyone.
gracekalli 9 months ago
When I read this book, I wasn't expecting the story I got. I was expecting another Beauty and the Beast rendition, where they live happily ever after. But what happens when they got the stories all wrong? When everything told through-out the years is slightly askew? This particular story is told from another perspective. And it is equally important. This is a story of revenge. Where the Prince is even more cruel than we ever thought possible, and Beast is even more generous than the stories say. So in reality, which is the human and which is the monster? I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Not only does it tell the story, but it also tells what comes after, which I really liked. This is truly a moving translation of the classic tale. I loved every word.
Dani_the_Bookaholic 10 months ago
While I had a hard time letting go of my childhood favorite (Disney's version), I found Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge to be magical and thought provoking. There is a greater lesson to be learned in this version of Beauty and the Beast told from Beast's side of the story (even though it is NOT Beast's telling of the tale.) "Happily ever after takes hard work, but folk don't like to hear about that. The heart is a dark wood - dangerous, compelling, and profound. Its pathways can be frightening, but only by plunging into its depths are we fully alive. The heart revels in its mysteries. Defy them at your peril. Embrace them if you dare. That is where magic begins." Do I recommend this version? Yes. Definitely! I believe, whether you are a die-hard fan (like myself) or just a dabbler in the Beauty and the Beast world, you'll enjoy the tale, and maybe learn a lesson or two in the process. See my full review at danithebookaholic .com