Beauty and the Beast Adaptations to Look Out For

So we’ve all seen (or at least heard of) the Disney adaptations – animated, a Broadway musical, and now a live action starring Emma Watson – of this classic fairy tale, and it’s one of my favourite stories of all time. What I wanted to do today, though, was list a couple of other interpretations of the story that may have slipped your notice! In no particular order:

Beastly (2011) Shamefully, I haven’t read the book, so I’ll just say a little about the film. This is the modern-day Young Adult movie version of the story, starring Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen and Neil Patrick Harris. Pretty heavy-handed with its morality, and uncomfortably obvious in soundtrack choices, it is at least a creative twist on the classic story.

A Court of Thrones and Roses – Sarah J Maas I guess I would call this a New Adult Fantasy interpretation; although it sticks reasonably closely to the fairy tale, it’s set in a world with fairies, and I think it works hard to step outside expectations.

The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh Potentially my favourite on this list (find my review here), this is a Young Adult novel set in a sort of Fantasy, Pre-Islamic Middle Eastern world that puts a whole new twist on the story, and that embellishes the core story elements into a whole new fairy tale.

The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter This is a collection of short fairy tale re-tellings, two of which are direct re-tellings of Beauty and the Beast. This book is pretty graphic, and uses fairy tale tropes to discuss feminist and gender issues. Carter certainly doesn’t pull any punches.

The Phantom of the Opera – Gaston Leroux Last but not least, we have The Phantom of the Opera! (I reviewed this here) I watched the musical multiple times before realising the connection with the story, and I think that’s what I like about this gothic Parisian re-telling: it is very liberal with its interpretation.

Those are all of my top picks, but I know there are loads more books based around Beauty and the Beast! Are there any you’d recommend?

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!

Dani

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Places in the Pages: Opéra National de Paris

The Phantom of the Opera (Gaston Leroux) is one of the most famous Parisian stories ever; much of its fame due to the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical adaptation. It’s creepy and dramatic and romantic, and all the things you would want from a tale set in this beast of an opera house:

Paris Opera House front

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

To this day, it still runs a variety of shows, but you can also go for a guided tour. The auditorium is open to the public when it’s not in use, and guys – it’s absolutely stunning.

Paris Opera House Auditorium

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

There’s even a chandelier! Given the history of this place, I’m not sure whether to be happy or concerned.

This building has played more than an aesthetic role in inspiring ‘The Phantom of the Opera’; in the 1890s, the chandelier actually fell and killed a member of the audience. There’s also a legend that a ballerina’s skeleton was found in the building.

The building is open for touring on Wednesdays and weekends, so next time I find myself in Paris, I’m definitely going to pop in and have a snoop around! (More information here)

If you’ve been here, I’d love to hear about your experience!

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!

~Dani

Review: The Phantom of the Opera – Gaston Leroux

The Phantom of the Opera – Gaston Leroux – 3 stars 

The Phantom of the Opera

I recently just finished reading ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ by Gaston Leroux. It’s a book I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages, because I’ve been completely enamoured with the musical for years now. It was a really exciting concept: I was envisioning the musical’s story beautifully rendered in magical, dancing prose. In my head, this book was a masterpiece, and I think that’s why I’m a bit disappointed with it.

If you’re not familiar with the story, ‘the phantom’ referred to in the title is the rumoured Opera Ghost abiding in the Paris Opera House. He asks for money, and for Box Five to be left vacant for him every showing. No one has ever seen him, until he falls in love with one of the singers. It’s a big story: dramatic and exciting, and I think it’s crafted with great flair.

It did bother me that I was reading a book so similarly written to Dracula, though. Obviously this in itself is not a bad thing, but I thought this was another class of book, you know? I was expecting poetry, and all I got was a nosy narrator joining up a series of diary entries and letters from participating characters. Again, there’s nothing bad about that; only there wasn’t really anything good about it either. I felt like the structure was a bit limp beside the grandeur of the story.

Also, ‘the phantom’ is so much creepier in the book. It makes me slightly more worried about my Meyer’s Briggs results. (if that makes no sense to you, see this post.)

The plot is – in general – beautifully and romantically creepy: I love the setting of a Parisian opera house, and there is a lot of mystery built up around the story. Kudos to Mr Leroux: it’s an amazing concept.

There’s one scene that stands out to me: when the Persian and Raoul are trapped in Erik’s torture chamber. To me, as a modern reader, it seemed so out of place, and far too James Bond for the story. It felt like an anticlimax, and I can understand why they changed it so much for the stage version. It’s not worth the effort.

Having said all of that, the book’s ending is quite perfect, and I put the book down feeling satisfied, if not blown away.

If you’ve read this too, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.

~Dani

INFP (Myers Briggs and Fictional Characters)

I’m really into personality tests, so when I saw this post on The Bumbling Bookworm’s blog, I was inspired to do my own take on it! What people are doing is taking the Myers Brigg’s personality test, which will leave you with a series of four letters to classify your personality. Obviously we’re all unique, so the descriptions are pretty general, but this fun site also tells you which book characters you share a personality type with!

Personally, I’m an INFP (Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling and Percieving), which means I’m a huge idealist. Look at this cute quote!

Like the flowers in spring, INFP’s affection, creativity, altruism and idealism will always come back, rewarding them and those they love perhaps not with logic and utility, but with a world view that inspires compassion, kindness and beauty wherever they go.

What? That’s so nice! (Source)

Famous INFPs include William Shakespeare, JRR Tolkein and Tom Hiddleston, so I’m pretty happy with that result!

But here’s the exciting bit: which fictional characters are also INFPs?

Lucy Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia (CS Lewis)

Lucy Pevensie

I love Narnia so much! I’m really happy to share my result with Lucy.

Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell)

Hiccup

Score! How to Train your Dragon is one of my favourite movies of all time…ever.

Violet Parr from The Incredibles

Violet Parr

 

Okay, so this one isn’t a book (unless it is in which case please tell me!) but it’s still pretty awesome so it made the list.

Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkein)

Frodo Baggins

 

I’ll take it! I always wanted to be a hobbit.

Marius from Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)

Marius

 

I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this one…Maybe it’s just the spontaneous singing?

Erik (The Phantom) from The Phantom of the Opera (Gaston Leroux)

The Phantom

 

Oh my.

Jane Bennet from Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

Jane Bennett

 

I love Jane! I’m really pleased with this one!

Romeo Montague from Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)

Romeo Montague

 

I’m not overjoyed about this one. And it was really hard to choose between an angsty picture of Leonardo DiCaprio and The Guy Who Looks Like Zac Efron But Isn’t. I’ve made my choice.

That’s all for me! What personality type are you? Let me know which characters correspond to yours!

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.

~Dani