Saturday, March 2, 2024

As Old As Time

I snagged As Old As Time by Liz Braswell from the library. It is a "what if?" Disney story - "what if Belle's mother cursed the Beast?" I thought that was intriguing, and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite Disney movies, so I was onboard.

I honestly wasn't really prepared for this book to impress me as much as it did! The story is broken up into a few parts. The first one goes back and forth between the rough story the movie tells and what happened in the past to Belle's mother and father. There's quite a bit of interesting world building that happens, showing how the last kingdom of refuge for les charmantes slowly becomes a place of hate and intolerance. This part culminates with Belle touching and accidentally shattering the rose, cursing the Beast and all the castle's inhabitants for all time. 

The second and other parts are where Belle's story wildly starts to differ. Now that the curse is coming to pass, the castle is being swallowed up by magical spiderwebs designed to keep the castle inhabitants inside; these webs are also slowly dragging the castle into the earth. The enchanted objects also start to have weird moments where things are going wrong - you can tell it's an indication of much worse that is still to come. The Beast also starts having more and more violent outbursts, having a harder and harder time controlling himself. 
Belle decides to stay and try to break the curse (since it's her fault this has happened anyway), and so she and the Beast spend a lot of time researching and investigating. Together, the two of them try to figure out what happened to her mother, why her mother cursed the Beast, and how they can break the spell. While differing from the movie, the story does still hit many of the story beats, though they end up different. 

The book was a tad predictable in a lot of ways though. I figured out fairly early on who the villain would be (and I was not disappointed). But even still, I was surprised. The book takes a few brutal turns that I wasn't expecting, and the ending doesn't end exactly happily ever after. But it was still an excellent read, and I recommend it for any fans of Beauty and the Beast who are interested in another take on the tale. I'll definitely be looking out for more of these Disney Twisted Tales!

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