<b>I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given, offered, or taken to alter this review.</b>
First of all, Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies and, after tasting Valentino's skills in her novel, Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen, I simply had to get my hands on this one. Valentino spared no detail and painted a wonderfully grotesque picture of Beauty's Prince.
We all know the basic reason why the Prince was cursed. He was cruel and didn't know how to love. Valentino really dived in though and gave us, what I felt was, a realistic look at why exactly the Prince ended up in his particular predicament. We see exactly why he was cursed and the events leading up to and following it.
Valentino truly paints a horrific picture of the Prince before he's even cursed. He's arrogant, selfish, and doesn't think much of others. Surprisingly enough, the author also worked Gaston into the Prince's story and I found that a bit clever and rather enjoyed it. His servants' devotion and belief in his goodness, even when things were at their darkest, also felt incredibly true to the tale.
Those who read Valentino's previous novel, Fairest of All, will see the emergence of three familiar characters. Lucinda, Ruby, and Martha are back to their plotting and meddling and it was interesting to see their roll in everything. Adding them also gave the author a chance to reference the Wicked Queen and events from Fairest of All, which is something I very much appreciated. Although they aren't my favorite characters, I felt like their return was a very nice touch.
Valentino's writing is as enchanting as ever. The Beast Within is a quick and very enjoyable read. The author even referenced other fairy tale characters such as Cinderella and her prince, Snow White, Ursula, and even Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip. I am really hoping to see more novels like this from Valentino and would be interested to see her take on The Little Mermaid, especially since Ariel is the only one she didn't really reference (unless I missed it).
I'd also just like to add that the font styles the people at Disney chose for this book, especially for the chapter titles, were perfect. I love the cover already but, to anyone who buys this book, I would take that cover flap off and look underneath. If it's like Fairest of All, then there'll be a surprise waiting for you. Personally, I can't wait to see it in stores so I can look for myself.