Featured Review: Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales (Soman Chainani)
About This Book:
You think you know these stories, don’t you?
You are wrong.
You don’t know them at all.
Twelve tales, twelve dangerous tales of mystery, magic, and rebellious hearts. Each twists like a spindle to reveal truths full of warning and triumph, truths that free hearts long kept tame, truths that explore life . . . and death.
A prince has a surprising awakening . . .
A beauty fights like a beast . . .
A boy refuses to become prey . . .
A path to happiness is lost. . . . then found again.
New York Times bestselling author Soman Chainani respins old stories into fresh fairy tales for a new era and creates a world like no other. These stories know you. They understand you. They reflect you. They are tales for our times. So read on, if you dare.
*Review Contributed by Olivia Farr, Staff Reviewer*
BEASTS AND BEAUTY: DANGEROUS TALES is a haunting short story collection of retold fairytales. This illustrated text retells well-known fairytales, such as Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty, with new context. For instance, Snow White is a young Black girl whose father, the king is white and listens to his subjects about beauty and their narrow definitions, allowing her white stepmother, who fits in the narrow definition of beauty, to ignore and then later to try to kill her, when her mirror claims Snow White is the most beautiful. With lessons about beauty, racism, and obsession, this is an intense and refreshing retelling. Others are similarly changed with thought-provoking themes woven throughout.
What I loved: This was a dark and, at times, deliciously creepy collection of stories, and I really enjoyed getting lost in these worlds. The accompanying illustrations throughout are stunning and add something beautifully extra to the tellings. I particularly loved the image of Snow White at the end of her story. The pictures are simply stunning.
The stories themselves are really intriguing, with themes that merit discussion and thought. I did find that I wanted to sit with some of the stories and think about them further after finishing, before turning to the next. There's a lot to unpack and consider as you read. I found all of them to be really unique and to be interesting new takes on older stories.
Although this is marketed to younger readers (10-13 years), some of the stories can be pretty scary and deal with some hefty topics as well as death, and so I might recommend for a more mature audience, such as YA readers, for this reason (a warning for sensitive readers).
Final verdict: Enchanting, haunting, and riveting, BEASTS AND BEAUTY: DANGEROUS TALES is a short story collection of fairytale retellings that is sure to keep readers hooked. Recommend for older readers and fans of TALES FROM THE HINTERLAND, HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS, and THE BONE HOUSES.
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