They say Château Beaumont is cursed. But servant-girl Lucie can’t believe such foolishness about handsome Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, master of the estate. But when the chevalier’s cruelty is revealed, Lucie vows to see him suffer.
A wisewoman grants her wish, with a spell that transforms Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast, reflecting the monster he is inside. But Beast is nothing like the chevalier. Jean-Loup would never patiently tend his roses; Jean-Loup would never attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie.
Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was. Lucie dares to hope that noble Beast has permanently replaced the cruel Jean-Loup — until an innocent beauty arrives at Beast’s château with the power to break the spell.
TW: attempted suicide, rape
Beast was fantastic. It transcended everything I ever thought about Beauty and the Beast in a truly delightful way. I was always kind of on the fence about the original – but Jensen embraces and departs from it in all the best ways. This is such a unique re-telling that truly hooked me. Not only is there gorgeous writing within Beast, but the storyline is captivating and the characters are compelling.
Is there even more to say? Beast is littered with highlights. Actually that sounds so much worse. It is adorned with highlights that just demonstrate how beautiful the writing was to me. Not only was it gorgeous, but it was insightful. There were quotes that kind of stopped me in my tracks because they were so poignant.
But what blew me away was the way Jensen interacts with the original story. This is a retelling done right. Not only does it converse with the original, but it transcends it. There are issues, problems, and questions and Beast tries to answer them while also posing new questions. On a very personal level, Jensen tackles with issues of rape, forgiveness, transformation, and revenge. It didn’t feel like Jensen took the easy way, instead dueling, dancing, with the original – complicating it in a truly fantastic way. Our revenge cannot sustain us forever. It burns out.
If you love fairy tale re-tellings, complex and endearing female heroines, or a good old fashioned love story, check out Beast on Goodreads.