May 21, 2018

GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW--Beauty and the Beast: A Modern Retelling by Jeanne-Marie Leprince & Ill. by Pete Katz

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

This modern retelling of the classic fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast is told here in a graphic novel format. More than 100 pages of illustrated action, adventure, and love teach a lesson to look beyond the surface and learn to love what’s underneath. A merchant takes shelter in a castle during a thunderstorm, and ends up striking a bargain with its beastly master. His youngest daughter, Beauty, returns to the castle to live in exchange for a restoration of the family’s previous wealth. Beauty befriends Beast, but longs to see her family again. He allows her to visit her former home, but when she doesn’t return at the designated time, consequences ensue.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

As you all know, I am a huge fan of fairy tales and retellings! When I was contacted about reviewing some graphic novel versions of beloved tales, I knew right away that I had to get Beauty and the Beast: A Modern Retelling from Jeanne-Marie Leprince’s version of the story, for I learned a few people enhanced upon Villeneuve’s version. Pete Katz provided the artwork which I thought was done very well. It definitely has a fairy tale kind of vibe to it, wherein the heroes are seen as better than the villains and evil siblings.

The story is the same as we all know and love, let’s step away from the Disney version for anything familiar from that was pretty much from the original as well. Beauty feels guilt over her father’s punishment from the Beast he encountered when traveling home from a trip that proved to be fruitless. When the Beast asked for her to come in her father’s place, she’s only too willing to agree for she is just that kind of thoughtful person, unlike her siblings who remained selfish to their cores.

There were some new twists to the story, as it’s been awhile since I read the original version, so I can’t recall if the faeries had much to do with the Beast’s curse. In this one, they do, as it was when the selfish prince snubbed the faery willing to marry him by flirting with another. She cursed the prince and the faery as well, while the prince was turned into a Beast, the faery was trapped in a mirror that allowed her to communicate with the Beast, and soon Beauty as well.

There was also the added theme of demons in the mix, for the castle was indeed enchanted—no enchanted objects beside the mirror—and a demon guarded it. He rises once a year to battle with whoever should be living there and if they lose, he gets their soul. Since the Beast has been living there for years, he’s bested the demon many times, so it’s never been much of an issue.

Beauty was definitely a character to behold. Yes, she’s the kind and loving Beauty from the original fairy tale, but this Beauty has an added edge! She can knows her way around a bow and arrow if the cover gives you any idea. I liked that she was sort of like other Beautys I’ve come across in different retellings. She’s no simpering princess sort that needs to be rescued, that’s for sure.

As I find with most graphic novels, this one was definitely a page turner! It didn’t take me long to read the book at all. Since it’s a story I already know and love it made for easier page turning. I did like the inclusion of back stories as well, in this I mean we get on a tangent of something that’s happened already and the illustrations change. Much like the way Disney did the backstory with the glass windows.

The ending definitely took me by surprise. While it ends in a slightly less fairy tale traditional way, I must say I loved it and yet, it’s a bit cliffhangery too! I’m practically foaming at the mouth wanting a sequel, but I don’t think there’s meant to be one! It just has that kind of ending that takes you aback and leaves you wanting more! It was definitely a head turner!

Overall, I quite enjoyed this graphic novel! I’ve never read one before that was based on a fairy tale and takes it on a new spin! It was quite the entertaining read and I highly recommend this to all fairy tale and especially, Beauty and the Beast fans! It’s not one to be missed!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars—even with that bit of a cliffhanger, I can’t seem to take off points! It was too good, even if there will never be a sequel! Lol! 

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