Review Detail

A Meandering Fairy Tale
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Despite its modern cover, Wendy Mass’ Beauty and the Beast, The Only One Who Didn’t Run Away is set in the era of fairy tales, when beautiful girls live in thatched roof cottages in the woods and princes ride in carriages to visit other kingdoms. Sure, the beautiful girl is named Clarissa and she is the sister of our heroine, Beauty. And Prince Riley is the younger brother, not destined to run the kingdom, and perfectly content to do science experiments in the castle. Other than that, the story sticks to traditional fairy tale tropes.

Since this is the third novel in a series, it must have found its market, but unfortunately, Beauty and the Beast, was not the book for me. I found the plot to meander too much. Beauty is fired pointlessly from several jobs and must go on a separate quest before her storyline begins to intersect with the prince’s. In addition to a plot that is all over the place, there is an excess of dialogue. Unlike the lonely beast that we picture from previous versions of the tale, Prince Riley’s family is made invisible, but do not lack in opportunities to add their voices to the story. It all amounts to a book that had too many elements for me to enjoy.

While it isn’t my new favorite book, there are readers to whom Beauty and the Beast will appeal. Beauty and Prince Riley are both sweet science nerds and their romance is chaste. The families in the novel are supportive and involved in their children’s lives. Parents who want their middle grader readers to enjoy an innocent fairy tale romance may want to consider this novel.
Good Points
The characters have supportive families.
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