Wise Beauty, Wiser Beast

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Wednesday, May 31, 2017


In recognition of high school’s traditional evening of high fashion and romance, the sixth week of AudiobookSYNC 2017 offers a pair of free audiobooks that will satisfy prom-goers, prom-avoiders, romantics, and cynics alike. Both take inspiration from the folktale of Beauty and the Beast; however, each is unique and more nuanced than any Disney version.


Donna Jo Napoli’s BEAST, set in Persia, is presented from the Beast’s perspective. This prince has been cursed and now lives trapped in the form of a lion.  Sentient and sensitive, his emotional struggles are keenly articulated by Robert Ramirez’s compelling narration. Thank you, Recorded Books, for this classic version of a classic story.

Stacey Jay’s OF BEAST AND BEAUTY, from Tantor Media, is set in a world where humans and those they deem monstrous mutants both threaten and avoid contact with each other. Julia Whelan performs the novel in such a wide range of credible voices that it’s hard to remember she is the single actor here as she artfully becomes first the princess and then the monster, as they alternate in narrating the tale's development. Their relationship moves from captive and keeper to familiarity and salvation for their own romance and that of both of their cultures.

Prom or no prom, this pair offers elegance, pageantry. and memories for a lifetime.

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