Beasts and Beauty – Soman Chainani

I found one of my top books for the year!

Thanks to Harper and MBC Books for the free copy in exchange for my honest review

BEASTS AND BEAUTY: DANGEROUS TALES – Soman Chainani (Released September 21st, 2021)

Book Description:

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 capture hearts long kept tame and set them free, 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.

My Thoughts: 5/5 stars

I’ve always been a fan of retellings and that’s no secret, so whenever I see a new one releasing I have to pick it up. Not only does BEASTS AND BEAUTY have a stunning cover but it has equally incredible stories within. I didn’t realize at first that this was a collection of short stories and that got me even more excited – not one retelling but twelve! I have to say right off the bat, this is easily in my top books for 2021. This was my introduction to Soman Chainani and I’ve already ordered his other books.

As with all short story collections there will always be standouts but I have to say there weren’t any that I felt were lackluster. I did love some more than others, but I enjoyed them all. These are dark and unsettling retellings of Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Rumpelstiltskin, Cinderella, Bluebeard, Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Little Mermaid, and Jack and the Beanstalk. The writing is what truly makes this book magical. The stories had a mesmerizing quality to them and they all flowed so perfectly – kind of like the childhood fairytale books that rhymed only these stories didn’t rhyme (I hope that makes sense).

The diversity of characters really gives these classics (Grimm or Disney versions) a whole new life that they needed. Different perspectives and main characters give these stories depth and gives an entirely new vision of the stories. The book begins with a bang when we visit with Little Red Riding Hood – why was she going into the woods? How was it the big bad wolf found her? Why was she traveling to her grandmother’s house? I personally loved Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Snow White, and Beauty and the Beast (if I had to narrow it down). However, Peter Pan is in a category all its own. I’ve read retellings before where Peter is the true villain (which I completely agree with) and this story is from Wendy’s perspective as she outgrows Neverland. This one hits you in a way you won’t be expecting and it was the perfect way to end the collection.

Overall, if you like dark fairytales, similar to the original Grimm ones, then this is the collection for you. If you like seeing a new spin on the Disney classics that bring new perspectives, then this needs to be on your TBR. Paired with equally beautiful illustrations, these stories will be remembered after turning that last page and make you wonder what could have been. I cannot wait to pick up more Chainani!

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