Reviewed by Amy Sepulveda, grade 11
Magical. Enchanting. Despicable personalities. The Beast Within, by Serena Valentino, is a wonderful 215-page tale of the life of the Beast before he meets Belle. This novel was inspired by Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and instead of being told from the perspective of Belle, it is from the Beast’s point of view. The Beast Within basically explains why everything in Beauty and the Beast happened, all the way to the end of the movie. It is truly spectacular how everything comes together and makes so much sense. It tells of the friendships and relationships the Prince had before the curse was set on him, and shows how he treated those around him.
I really loved every single thing about this book. It seems like it could be a bit childish, but it really isn’t. I love how all of the characters in the book are the same in the movie, but there are some new ones added to the picture as well. It’s basically just a prequel to Beauty and the Beast. I find it really remarkable how the author, Valentino, was able to make such an amazing story with new little quirks, and add things that some would never have thought of.
The cover art is just another amazing thing about The Beast Within. The dust jacket shows a profile of the Beast, but if you take off the dust cover, it shows the profile of the Prince before he was cursed!
The one thing I found mildly frustrating was that even before the Beast was cursed, all of his friends just refer to him as “Prince.” No one ever calls him by an actual name. I understand that he was technically never given a name, but I wish the book had referred to him as Adam, as he is later known in the spin-off CD-Rom trivia game.
Editor's note: Burbank Public Library doesn't own this book (although we own quite a few other things by this author), but after this stellar review by Amy, we will seek it out for the collection!