Lately it seems like Beauty and the Beast retellings are everywhere. First there’s the live action reboot starring Emma Watson that’s scheduled to come out next year. And then there’s The CW’s Beauty and the Beast, which premiered its fourth and final season on June 2. Not that I’m complaining; I love a good fairy tale retelling, and The CW version, starring Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan, is definitely one of my current TV obsessions.
It took until last year for me to try out the crime romance, but now I’m hooked. I won’t pretend that it’s the best show on The CW, but Beauty and the Beast is romantic, heartfelt and just campy enough to be fun. Kreuk stars as Cat Chandler, an NYPD detective who’s mother was brutally murdered in front of her. She was attacked too, but was rescued by some unknown entity. Nine years later, she tracks down Vincent Keller, an ex-soldier who everyone thought died in Afghanistan. Thanks to some weird government experimenting, Vincent turns into a ‘beast’ when angry, unable to control his violent outbursts.
The loner starts to help Cat solve crimes, but it becomes clear that the two are linked far beyond just their mutual attraction. And oh man are they mutually attracted to each other. I am 100 percent into their romance, which is devoted, angsty and feels like a throwback to sci-fi teen shows like Roswell or Dark Angel. Cat and Vincent are it for each other, and their biggest hurdle isn’t their feelings, but Vincent’s inability to control his beast-like nature.
Now that the fourth season is currently airing, I’m expecting a tied-in-a-bow happy ending. No, I’m demanding it. And right now things aren’t looking great. Vincent has committed a terrible crime, one that Cat might not be able to get over. But I’m holding out hope for these two to get it together by the series finale on September 1. I mean, just look at this chemistry:
Cruel Beauty, Rosamund Hodge (Balzer & Bray, 2014)
Fantasy meets fairytale in this Young Adult novel (the start of the Cruel Beauty Universe series). Thanks to a deal made by her father, Nyx knows that on her 17th birthday she’s destined to marry and then kill the “Gentle Lord” who terrorizes their village. But as soon as she moves into his castle, she finds herself drawn to the ‘evil’ ruler who can control demons. Torn between duty and desire, Nyx must face some harsh truths about her village, her own fate, and the man she’s destined to kill.
Of Beast and Beauty, Stacey Jay (Delcorte Press, 2013)
Epic sci-fi and fantasy combine in Jay’s Young Adult novel where this time beauty is the beast that needs to be tamed. Gem, a mutant beast struggling to save his people, is captured by the blind Princess Isra who was raised to be a human sacrifice for her city of Yuan. Though he’s technically her prisoner, Isra realizes she must rely on the beast in order to survive her dark fate. Beast and beauty become intertwined as the two slowly fall for each other — and prepare to do whatever it takes to save the other.
A Court of Mist and Fury, Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury, May 3, 2016)
Maas is the queen of Young Adult and New Adult Fantasy, and A Court of Mist and Fury is the second installment in her Court of Thorns and Roses series. The first book was a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with 19-year-old Feyre dragged across worlds as a captive of Tamlin, an elite Fae she can’t help but fall for. This book is the continuation of their story, though there may be a new, compelling love interest for Tamlin (our ‘beast’) to contend with.
When Beauty Tamed the Beast, Eloisa James (Piatkus Books, 2011)
James is one of the best historical romance novelists around, and her 2011 novel is another great example of why. Relying heavily on fairy tale tropes, she tells the story of Linnet Thrynne, a young girl facing ruin after being jilted by a prince. Rescue comes in the form of the bad-tempered Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, who is all too happy to lock the beautiful Linnet away in his castle, though he refuses to succumb to her charms. The doctor Earl is nothing like Linnet imagined, but she’s determined to win over her beast. If you like romance novels at all, then give this retelling a chance: Linnet and Piers are adorable together, trading barbs and quips in that trademark James’ banter we all know and love.