Pulchritude by Ana Mardoll Review


Review Team

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Pulchritude: A Dark and Realistic Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

As a retelling of the classic fairy tale, “Beauty and the Beast,” Ana Mardoll’s novel, Pulchritude, offers a unique and captivating perspective that delves into the darker aspects of the original story. The book presents a world of vindictive fairies and scornful magicians, where not everyone will live happily ever after. Mardoll’s debut novel returns the classic fairy tale to its origins as social commentary, providing a thought-provoking and engaging read.


  • The author’s creativity and skill shine through the twists and turns added to the well-known fairy tale, subverting reader expectations and offering a fresh take on the story.
  • The narrative delves into the humanity and depth of both human and non-human characters, providing a more realistic and morally ambivalent portrayal.
  • The book includes a lengthy deconstruction of the original version of the story, offering valuable insights into the narrative and its social commentary.
  • The character profiles and trigger warning demonstrate the author’s consideration for the audience and add depth to the reading experience.


  • Some readers found the book’s length to be insufficient, expressing a desire for more substance and development, especially in the early parts of the story.
  • While the characters are well-fleshed out, there were instances where character motives and actions felt unclear or confusing, requiring additional clarity.
  • There were concerns about the portrayal of certain characters and the handling of sensitive topics, leading to a sense of tonal dissonance in some parts of the narrative.

Overall, Pulchritude offers a fascinating and realistic take on “Beauty and the Beast,” presenting a morally ambivalent narrative with flawed yet compelling characters. While the book has its shortcomings, including pacing and character clarity, it remains a captivating read that provides valuable insights into the darker side of fairy tale logic and toxic circumstances. Ana Mardoll’s debut novel is a commendable effort that sets the stage for future works, and it is recommended for readers who enjoy thought-provoking fairy tale retellings and engaging storytelling.

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