Read for the Young Adult and Once Upon a Time II Reading Challenges.
This tale of the beast from Beauty and the Beast is an interesting twist on the fairy tale.
In the author’s notes, she lists a popular poetry version of this tale by Charles Lamb in 1811 as the inspiration for the setting of the story. In the poem, Lamb notes that the beast was originally a prince from Persia, and names him as Orasmyn.
Napoli’s book is the story of how Prince Orasmyn makes a foolish decision and earns the curse of a pari-a Perisan fairy. Now in the form of a lion, in order to avoid dying at his father’s hand, as foretold by the pari, Orasmyn makes the long journey to France. The rest of the story, anyone with a DVD player knows.
The book probably takes place a bit more in Persia than it does in France, and the author has set the atmosphere well, using enough native terms to set the flavor without making everything completely unfamiliar.
Anyone that’s a big fan of the story of the beauty may be disappointed in this book. Belle (and she is called Belle) makes an appearance fairly late in the story, and while she does come with a back story, and good motivation to fall in love with the beast, she is a lesser character then he is.