Narrator: Jim Dale
Published by Ace on 2019-02-12
Length: 416 pages
Length: 13hrs and 34mins
Reviewing Audiobook, eARC from Audible, Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2019, 2019 Audiobook Challenge, 2019 New Release Challenge
A luxuriously magical retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in seventeenth-century France--and told from the point of view of the Beast himself.
I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.
I am the Beast.
He is a broken, wild thing, his heart’s nature exposed by his beastly form. Long ago cursed with a wretched existence, the Beast prowls the dusty hallways of his ruined château with only magical, unseen servants to keep him company—until a weary traveler disturbs his isolation.
Bewitched by the man’s dreams of his beautiful daughter, the Beast devises a plan to lure her to the château. There, Isabeau courageously exchanges her father’s life for her own and agrees to remain with the Beast for a year. But even as their time together weaves its own spell, the Beast finds winning Isabeau’s love is only the first impossible step in breaking free from the curse . . .
The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross broke me! This is such a beautiful tale, written from the perspective of the Beast. I’ve always enjoy the original Beauty and the Beast and so far all it’s incarnations. This one is unique in that it puts the reader in the mind of the Beast for the entire story. I was mesmerized. It’s achingly beautiful and poetic.
I need to be honest before I continue. I started reading an eARC of this book prior to its release and just couldn’t get into it. I read roughly 15% and had to put it down. Why? Well, to be blunt, it’s quite wordy. As I’ve already mentioned, The Beast’s Heart is beautifully written with lush detail. It’s akin to reading someone’s most private thoughts. I struggled, but because I was intrigued and enjoying the Beast’s tale, I thought I’d listen to the audio…..I mean it’s Jim Dale, he’s fantastic. And I’m SO glad I did. I preordered the audiobook and listened to the entire thing in about three days. Jim Dale brings the Beast to life and I found myself enthralled. The only thing that could have made it better is if Dan Stevens was reading because well….
Seriously I totally pictured him the entire time I was listening 😂
Back to the story. It opens with the Beast realizing he is in fact a man and attempting to recover the humanity he’s lost while he was terrorizing the forrest around his former home. The Beast is a complex character. It’s very obvious to the reader that he thinks poorly of himself and his past choices, even if he never discloses what those were. He’s a creature who is lonely and painfully ashamed of what he has become. Yet determined to break his curse, he finds Isabeau.
Isabeau is a beauty, inside and out. She’s not the dark headed bookworm of Disney, but a fair headed artist who loves the simple things in life. I found her charming, and I loved that the Beast didn’t scare her at all. In fact, she sees the man behind fur. And as she does, you fall more in love with our narrator.
Overall, The Beast’s Heart is a unique take on the classic. There’s enough of the original woven into the story that it’s fun to pick those things out, yet there is plenty new to it. I really enjoyed the narration. If you enjoy audiobooks, I recommend this one for Jim Dale alone! If you are a fan of Beauty and the Beast, don’t let this one sit on the shelf. Read it asap.