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3.45  ·  Rating details ·  6,073 Ratings  ·  418 Reviews
Meet the Beast-- before there was Beauty

Orasmyn is the prince of Persia and heir to the throne. His religion fills his heart and his mind, and he strives for the knowledge and leadership his father demonstrates. But on the day of the Feast of Sacrifices, Orasmyn makes a foolish choice that results in a fairy's wretched punishment: He is turned into a beast, a curse to be

Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Simon Pulse (first published January 1st 1999)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dec 12, 2009 rated it did not like it
I can't say that I really enjoyed this book. It's a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, a story that I love, but in this case I didn't find that the retelling improved on the story at all. The premise is intriguing enough: this is Beast's story, starting from before he met Beauty and explaining how and why he came to be a Beast. Unfortunately, I thought the reason for his transformation was unsatisfying, the descriptions of his time as a beast were distasteful, and he was a pretty unlikeable char ...more
”Proud, stupid, Orasmyn. Only a woman’s love can undo the curse. And no woman will ever love you.”
When Prince Orasmyn of Persia foolishly sacrifices a camel that has been deformed (a big no-no in Islam), he has no idea how big of a mistake he has made. Cursed by an evil fairy, he will now live out the rest of his days as a lion until he can find a woman to love him. But who could ever learn to love something so monstrous?
”I am a lion. And I will die a lion, for no human woman will ever love
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 28, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I really wanted to like this book, the interesting twist in being told from the male perspective, in plot elements by making the curse have a religious reason, the Muslim overtones with the different culture.

Right away I was getting irritated with the constant vocabulary words being fed to me and quickly defined. The relationship he has with his parents, especially his father and his part within the curse is interesting and then never fleshed out or picked up again.

I mentally rebelled again a pr
Katy Wilmotte
May 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
Hey author, your plot device is showing.

And not just little glimpses here and there; in this book they’re as naked as baby mole rats.

In fact, ‘Beast’ is basically one giant plot device to tell a fairytale, with awkward glimpses of a novel, instead of a novel that turns out, quite delightfully, to be a fairytale.
The premise is certainly interesting: Beauty and the Beast told from the Beast’s point of view. Ooh and he’s Persian too, how exotic!

But two chapters in I realized that it was going to b
Mar 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Interesting retelling of Beauty and the Beast from the Beast's point of view. Beast is a Persian prince who gets turned into a lion. Lots of little details about Islam and life in ancient Persia, but way too much focus on bodily functions from the point of view of a real animal--all lions do is eat, sleep and fornicate, right? A bit graphic in parts, even downright yucky sometimes. I would never give this to my children to read. I would have eliminated one scene completely before ever calling it ...more
Katie Harder-schauer
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received an audiobook copy of this book through Audiofile Sync's summer reading for teenagers program absolutely free of charge with no strings attached. This is my honest review.

I loved this take on the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. The blend of old and new elements was smooth and made perfect sense within the confines of the story. I especially liked how Orasmyn was turned into an actual beast (a lion) and not just a human-like beast that can talk like in the Disney version of the s
Mar 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A truly original take on Beauty & the Beast. Prince Orasmyn is heir to the throne of Persia, and is deeply religious and gentle, though intensely proud. When he makes a foolish mistake, he is turned into a lion by a pari, and will remain in that shape until he is loved by a woman. Napoli treats the beast in a highly realistic manner; he is very much an animal, albeit one who remembers what it was to be human.
A YA book, and it reads like one. Still enjoyable though. Beast retells the story of Beauty and the Beast from the perspective of the prince, which is new and interesting. What I really liked though was the different background Napoli gave the prince. Instead of being from European descent, he's the prince of Persia cursed by a fairy. Orasmyn, the prince, is changed into a lion rather than a half-man-half-beast creature. I would have liked it to have been longer though. Napoli does a very good j ...more
Sep 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
I just re-read "Beauty" (by Robin McKinley) for our Book Club and came across this version of the tale told from the Beast's perspective, so I thought it would be interesting to read as well. Several things make this version unique -- the setting in ancient Persia, the incorporation of some Islam beliefs, the fact that the beast is an acutal lion that can't speak, and the lack of any other magic (i.e. the castle itself is not enchanted). I enjoyed the perspective for the most part, but wished th ...more
Jen Evans
Apr 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.5 stars

This story didn't instantly grab me. The very beginning is about religious sacrifice of animals for a wedding celebration. After the main character was cursed and became a lion, it got interesting to me. It's kept more realistic in descriptions of his animal side than than a Disney version of the beast. When he meets the girl, he has to fight his animal side even. If you like fairytale retellings, or if you are looking for something a little familiar while also very different, check thi
May 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the best book about bestiality I've ever read. Probably. Okay, just kidding, it's the only one (so far).

Yeah, I really don't know what to say for myself here. I'm not a fan of romance novels in the slightest. I grabbed this off my girlfriend's shelf (she hasn't read it) basically on a whim. I wanted to try reading something outside my comfort zone. As an aspiring author I've heard that's a thing I should do.

And...I liked it. I'm just as surprised as anybody, believe me. I can
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a lush, distinctive Beauty and the Beast retelling
I scratch in the dirt, "You are brave."
She gives a small gasp of amazement and stares at my words. "I don't have a choice."
I wince. "And honest."

This was a surprise... A really delightful surprise. Beast was unique in so many ways, where it was set, how it was written, and the fact that Prince Orasmyn was actually turned into a lion. An actual lion, king of beasts.

You know how you see books, and on the back are excerpts from reviews that say something like, "Thrilling!" or "Riveting!" And you're
I'm a little disappointed with this.

It's a prequel/retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" from Beast's point of view, with the only real piece of magic being the transformation.

It starts off promisingly; incorporating his Islamic religious beliefs, his difficulties adjusting to his new form physically, and trying to reconcile the new instincts of his lion body with his human mind. He's neither fully beast nor fully human, mentally as well as physically, and that interesting struggle dominates the f
Apr 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
Another enjoyable read by Napoli. Admittedly, I liked it more than Spinners but this is due to my love for the Moorish Renaissance era and the lore of Napoli's retelling of Beauty and the Beast involves a detailed story of a Persian Prince being cursed and his self-banishment from his own land all the way to France. I was consequently enchanted and read it in one sitting.

Like Spinners, the ending is abrupt, so I must now conclude that this is Napoli's style when it comes to fairytale retellings.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like it, but no.
It's an ugly mashup between historical fiction, multicultural fantasy, and the fairy tale, with the weakest features of all thrown together and not developed. More page space is, effectively, given to Belle's father than herself, ferpeetsake. And I have no guess how the prince is going to reconcile all his cultural and personal history and values into his new life, because I just didn't get to know him. Not recommended for the targeted teens, or for adults.

Bonus sta
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: traditional-lit
What an amazing story! I really enjoyed reading this book, and found this book with the help of my librarian at the school I work at. This book explains how the Beast got cursed and his journey and the struggle he went through to reverse the curse and also find a woman that loved him for him. This would be a great book to compare perspectives when used with the actual tale of Beauty and the Beast. Many times in the movie of Beauty and the Beast the Beast is considered a mean, scary animal, while ...more
Olivia Vailahi
I really liked this book it opened my eyes on relationships. A part in the book reading, "For through the love of a women, I can know the love of the merciful one. Passion leads to compassion." Meaning that you should always be patient waiting to really see who the person is on the inside. This book is another version of Beauty and the Beast. So yeah I would anyone who likes a book with somewhat drama.
Zahra Dashti
جذابیت خاص خودش رو داشت. یه روایت از داستان دیو و دلبر. البته باورهای خرافی در مورد اسلام توش بود که احتمالا نویسنده با فرقه خاصی از اسلام آشنا بوده. دست کم تو تشیع من چنین چیزهایی نشنیدم!
بدترینش روزه گرفتن تو عید قربان!
از این چیزهاش چشم بپوشیم کتاب خوب و جذابی بود.
After Prince Orasmyn of Persia incorrectly observes halal in the butchering of a camel, he is given a prophecy: he will be slain by his own father. Orasmyn tries to outsmart the prophecy and warns his father not to kill any human being on his hunt the following day, but then Orasmyn is transformed into a lion and given the clue that the spell would be broken with the love of a woman. In order to escape his fate yet again, Orasmyn runs away to India, then to France, where he attempts to lure a wo ...more
It is extremely rare for me to abandon an audiobook. Partly this is because a good reader - and most pro audiobooks have excellent readers - adds sparkle to even the dullest prose, and partly this is because I listen while running, and so if a hit a place that I don't enjoy I will still continue to listen until the end of the run, and possibly become re-engaged. But after too many chapters of translated Persian terms, graphic descriptions of hunting (from the prince-turned-lion's POV) and sex (d ...more
Amanda Mic Perkins
This is a strange book. Most of it is spent following the prince around as a lion, wandering through the wilderness and hooking up with lady lions in more detail than I ever wanted please stop. And the actual romance doesn't come in until about three fifths of the way through. And that ends abruptly and un-satisfyingly. It feels skewed. I enjoyed it, but not as much as other versions that focus more on Belle or them as a pair.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Didn't finish.
Powder River Rose
A new twist to the Beauty and the Beast story. Enjoyable but totally predictable. Excellent narration.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
I almost stopped reading this book, that's how much I didn't care for it. It went in fits and starts - dragging along and then skipping two years in a blink.

I didn't really understand the curse, the Prince seemed like a nice guy who made a judgment call. He developed a bad attitude years after being cursed, but didn't seem to have one before.

And then it was over. There was no real conclusion or fulfilling ending. Meh.
Apr 01, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i read this back in middle school.i've pretty much forgotten everything about this book.besides one thing i'll probably never forget.
idr how the whole him turning into a beast thing happened.but i remember him being a lion. &while he was a lion do i say this? did it with another lion.that was wrong on so many levels.i think back and cant even believe i read that.
that shouldn't have been in a teen book,or any book at all.why an author would write this is beyond far beyond me i c
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beast by Donna Jo Napoli is one of those YA fantasy novels that I've been rereading every couple years since I was twelve. I just keep coming back for more, because I love it that much. Obviously, it's a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it's told from the Beast's perspective.

One of my favorite aspects of Beast, though, is the infusion of Persian culture. Napoli clearly did her research, describing the prayer rituals and architecture of the Persian kingdom. Prince Orasmyn, the Beast, defile
rated it did not like it
Oct 12, 2010
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From her website:

Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction.

Donna Jo has five children. She dreams of moving to the woods and becoming a naturalist. She loves to garden and bake bread.

At various times her house and yard have been filled with dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. For thirteen years she had a cat named Taxi, and liked to go outside and call, "Taxi!" to
More about Donna Jo Napoli...

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