A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn about a variety of traditions and religions. The author defines Persian and Islamic words in the book's back matter.
Readers will pick up on the classic ideas about love, and coming-of-age themes. As it says in the book's synopsis: "This is the story of [the beast's] search, not only for a woman courageous enough to love him, but also for his own redemption."
Positive Role Models
Proud Prince Orasmyn of Persia certainly learns some lessons about love -- and thinks deeply about his actions -- in this Beauty and the Beast retelling.
Violence & Scariness
Graphic depictions of hunting and butchering. The prince is trapped in a lion's body and hunted.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several sexual references, lust, and animal mating.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which begins with the prince suffering for misdeeds and being transformed into a lion. His intentions were good, and he does go on to think deeply about his actions. There is some violence as well as sexual references, lust, and animal mating. Readers will learn about a variety of traditions and religions. The author defines Persian and Islamic words in the book's back matter.
Is It Any Good?
For those with the patience to get through it, this is a beautifully told tale that brings new understanding to the original. Donna Jo Napoli, who has made something of a specialty of reinterpreting traditional fairy tales in the form of young-adult novels, here tackles a story that seems to fascinate YA authors: Beauty and the Beast. As Napoli explains in a note, her story is based on an 1811 poem by Charles Lamb, which specifies that the Beast was originally a Persian prince. This gives her the opportunity to weave satisfying doses of Persian culture and religious practices into the story, and to contrast them with the practices he finds in France.
The slow pace will not be to the taste of all teens, especially during the prince's wanderings in the first half of the novel. Once he is in France the pace quickens, but even with the inclusion of some bestial violence and sex, this is still more a thoughtful mood piece than an action-adventure, as befits the original story.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.