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review 2017-03-22 15:00
As Old as Time
As Old as Time - Liz Braswell

 

 

 

Have you ever wondered what would happen to Disney's Beauty and the Beast if someone took all the magic out of it?



... well this book is what happens.


“I’M NOT HUNGRY!” she screamed back, rage billowing out of her more forcefully than she had imagined possible. Thinking of the triplets and their behavior hadn’t improved her mood.

“YOU’LL COME OUT OR…I’LL BREAK DOWN THE DOOR!”

“HUFF AND PUFF ALL YOU LIKE, YOU MONSTROUS WOLF!” she spat. “GO RIGHT AHEAD! IT’S YOUR CASTLE, AFTER ALL. DO WHATEVER YOU WANT WITH IT. I’M JUST YOUR PRISONER!”

“YOU CAN’T STAY IN THERE FOREVER!” the Beast roared.

“JUST WATCH ME!” Belle spat back.

“FINE! THEN GO AHEAD AND STARVE!”


This childish dialogue between Belle and the Beast basically sums up As Old as Time: a caricature of the 90’s Disney version of Beauty and the Beast, that doesn’t delve deeper into the characters or the magical world. Instead As Old as Time is full of inconsistencies, over-done, flat, two-dimensional characters, and falls way short of the Disney film.

And by being ‘just’ a retelling of Disney’s story, the author didn’t have to come up with her own characters or world-building, instead she just piggy-backed on people’s childhood nostalgia – and utterly failed.


I DNF-ed the book, I hated Belle so much, felt sorry for the Beast, was generally confused by the inconsistencies of the story, and was annoyed by the boring characters.


I didn’t quite realize that this was a retelling of Disney’s version of Beauty and the Beast, and not of the original book. I just picked it up in preparation for the live-action Disney film and was utterly disappointed. The author didn’t fix Disney’s mistakes and inconsistencies, took all magic and wonder out of it, and didn't expound more on the characters or the story backdrop.


In this retelling of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, the Beast is enchanted by Belle’s mother. There was a backstory about why the Enchantress cursed the Beast (because the people of the kingdom turned against magic-users and fairy tale creatures and basically the prince - a child at the time … did nothing?). There was a mention in the book where the Beast said that he was a child when he was cursed and “what could I have done?”. But this doesn’t fix the problems the story-line has. The Enchantress’ reason for cursing the Beast was that: “there is no love in your heart at all, Prince–just like your parents…”.

BUT, the prince was an eleven-year-old boy when he was cursed because he was “selfish, spoiled and unkind”. Realistically how can a ten-year-old child learn to be unselfish and kind with no positive role models and no one to love him? That is not what happens to a child who is isolated, unloved, and turned into a hideous monster! And anyway what about other spoiled, rude, and selfish children - does the Enchantress go around arbitrarily handing our punishment?


If you think about it, a ten-year-old boy who has no parents and obviously learned from fairy tales to distrust haggard looking, old women should definitely not let the obviously-evil witch into his home!


If anything, fairy-tales taught us not to trust old women (and apples and stepmothers)!


Did the enchantress really expect the prince to learn to be kind, and caring, and loving by isolating him from the rest of the world, locking him into an enchanted castle that no one remembers, and by turning an unloved little boy into a hideous monster?

How the fuck is a child supposed to learn about kindness and generosity from a witch who cursed him and robbed him of his childhood for no good reason!

He was fucking right to turn that bitch away!



And the enchanted castle just raises soo many questions:

- Where do the original furniture go?

- Who decides which furniture stays and which is replaced by cursed servants?

- Are all furniture enchanted people? Or do the servants get sucked into the existing furniture?

- Is there sentient furniture that's not a person? And if so what happens to that furniture once the curse is lifted?

- How are the servants not majorly pissed at the beast after all those years?

- The beast grows up during his enchantment, so why doesn’t Chip grow up too? Or was he conceived during the enchantment? In that case how the fuck does a teapot conceive – and with what???

- What happens to the sentient pots of mustard and stuff when they get used up - do they die or are they replenished - and is that actually a person? If so what is the mustard made of?

- And finally, which poor soul got turned into the chamber pot?



I absolutely detested Belle in this book, and as someone who loved Belle in the Disney film, this made my disappointment so much greater. The prince is cursed for being selfish, spoiled, and unkind, but really Belle isn't any better. During the first 40% of the book Belle looks down her nose on everyone from her high horse and gives no thought to the consequences of her actions, she’s pretentious, arrogant, and condescending.

For example, when she destroys the Beast’s last chance at breaking the curse, she doesn’t take responsibility for her actions, basically she just shrugs and says: well you weren’t going to break the curse anyway so what difference does it make.

She gives “gentle insults” to the villagers and basically thinks she’s the only person with a brain in the village – not everyone has all day to read Belle! some people need to work hard to survive (this is in a time when rural France was poor and overpopulated).

And to top her arrogance off, she thinks that she’s way too good for the Beast, instead he should set his hopes for some” nice peasant girl”.

Belle is like the original hipster.

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video 2016-11-13 21:19

It’s quite frightening to think it’s now November, which means before you know it it’ll be Christmas!!

 

It’s safe to say I was rather determined to finish more books after last month. At the start of the month I had read 21 out of the 30 books I wanted to read this month.

 

In this post I wanted to share with you some of my favourite books not only perfect for Halloween, but perfect for the winter months drawing closer. There are the classics like Frankenstein and Dracula, or you could go for a short story such as The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories by Tim Burton. This is such a quickly little book filled with illustrations just as wonderfuly bizarre.

 

Or for something to really sink your teeth into try Anna Dressed in Bloodby Kendare Blake (review) and the sequel Girl of Nightmares (review). I won’t lie I was a tad nervous about reading these as I don’t do “scary” books, but I really loved these. But let’s not talk about what happened in the basement or the forest.

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review 2016-08-28 00:00
Once Upon a Dream
Once Upon a Dream - Liz Braswell Once Upon a Dream - Liz Braswell I rarely DNF a book, but this one... I tried to get into it, but the writing and characters just grated on me. I was not a big fan of the first book, A Whole New World, but I enjoyed it enough to give this book a try (and will ultimately attempt to read anything with Disney ties). The writing left much to be desired, with too many over descriptive moments that served no purpose (and also seemed like a thesaurus randomly spewed over sections of the book) and annoying characters that I just couldn't relate to or sympathize with. Most of the original good guys were bad guys, Maleficient was a 'good' guy, and it just didn't work. Some retellings can be great and have interesting plot twists, but this was not one of them.
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review 2016-04-11 20:45
NetGalley Review: Once Upon a Dream
Once Upon a Dream: A Twisted Tale: A Twisted Tale (Twisted Tale, A) - Liz Braswell

I received this book via NetGalley to give an honest review.

 

So I have read another book by this author and it was the Twisted Tale #1 A Whole New World which I enjoyed though there were a few things I had questions or issues with. So when I was offered this book to read I jumped on it because I wanted to see where she would go with this twisted story of Sleeping Beauty. I have to say I actually enjoyed this story and found it to be very interesting. What if Aurora never woke up from the kiss that she received from the prince? What if we were inside her mind with her as she is asleep and we get to see what she is doing?

That is exactly how this book goes. It is up to Aurora to wake her own self up and those around her,  learn more about herself than she has ever learned before and find out who is true to her. 

Will she succeed or forever be asleep? 

I really liked how it wasn't all easy for Aurora and how she had to start to trust within herself what to do. 

The plot was very good and everything was very detailed to even the character that befriend Aurora who we learn who she really is towards the very end. There is plenty of action that starts taking place within about the middle of the book so that was nice. 

I have to say I enjoyed how this author is giving us a grown up version so to speak of the fairy tales that we so often heard when we were little. I can't wait to read book three and see what else this author is going to come up. 

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review 2016-03-29 02:23
Once Upon a Dream
Once Upon a Dream: A Twisted Tale: A Twisted Tale (Twisted Tale, A) - Liz Braswell

I started this book late one night looking for something to read while I dozed off and thinking a lovely fairy tale retelling would be fun.

 

I finished this book later that same night sitting bolt upright in bed at a completely ridiculous hour.

 

I really do not regret this.

 

Your enjoyment of this book is probably dependent on how fond you are of the Disney telling of Sleeping Beauty. If you hate it, this might not be as much fun for you. If you absolutely adore it and think it is perfect, it might not be as much fun for you. I managed to play Goldilocks for this one and found that I loved the movie just enough to be very pleased with a bit of a twist on it and for the expansion of the characters seen in this.

 

In terms of characters, I really did like the way they were handled.

 

The film is pre-Disney Renaissance. Aurora is a pretty passive character. She is kind, yes, and fond of animals, and very pretty, and you certainly don't want her murdered or stuck sleeping for a century or anything, so you will root for her, but she is not exactly known for her chutzpah. She is a pretty classic damsel-in-distress. Maleficent is straight evil. Phillip arrives to save the day (and does a bit of dancing first). The characters don't really have a whole lot of depth.

 

This Aurora is significantly less passive.

 

Because of the placement of this story, it fits quite well to develop a bit more of a personality. It's nice to see her be occasionally stupid and childish and to see her get beyond that. Watching the film as a child, the characters seem so grown up. It's hard to remember that Aurora is only sixteen years old. And was raised in the woods with a bunch of kind, but maybe-not-this-side-of-human-normal fairies. It's honestly pretty impressive that she is not more messed up than she is, given that, and  little bit of childishness, especially in a horrible and confusing situation, seems rather more natural than not.

 

Maleficent probably got the more interesting character expansion, however. It was not nearly as in-depth as what we see from Aurora, because she is not the main character, but there are some interesting aspects of her personality brought up and they are not all evil. She makes a few good points about right and wrong, actually, and she does not always fall on the side of it one would expect.

 

The story itself was interesting and had a few poignant moments. The love story aspect (because let's be honest, this was still based on a Disney movie) was not my favorite portion, but worked well enough. Phillip was kind of adorable, but perhaps not always terribly bright. The added characters gave some extra color to the world and the fairies managed to be a touch disturbing without taking away the charm they had in the film version.

 

All in all I quite enjoyed this and will be picking up the rest in the series.

 

This book was provided to me for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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