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October 29, 2016

Brian Review: As Old as Time by Liz Braswell

Title: As Old as Time
Author: Liz Brazwell
Published On: 9/6/2016
Page Count: 496

What if Belle's mother cursed the Beast?
Belle is a lot of things: smart, resourceful, restless. She longs to escape her poor provincial town for good. She wants to explore the world, despite her father's reluctance to leave their little cottage in case Belle's mother returns--a mother she barely remembers. Belle also happens to be the captive of a terrifying, angry beast. And that is her primary concern.
But Belle touches the Beast's enchanted rose, intriguing images flood her mind--images of the mother she believed she would never see again. Stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful Enchantress who cursed the Beast, his castle, and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast must work together to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is twenty-one years in the making.

Overall Rating:  4.5/5
I haven't very many fairy tale re-tellings before, so I went into this story not really knowing what to expect aside from having seen the disney film several times. I was really blown away by how interesting the characters were and the depth that this book had to offer. I felt like I could see different parts of the story that I already knew, but was able to learn so much more about everyone and the world around them. I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book, and am interested in the possibility of a sequel.

Cover: 3.5 / 5
I liked the color scheme used on this as well as the shadow of the beast not giving away all the details. I think that everyone reading this story will be superimposing all the disney characters on everyone in their minds as they're reading (or maybe its just me) but I do like the idea of trying to leave some things to the imagination. That said, I'm really not a big fan of quotations of any kind on the cover, and although the quote on this one is a major plot point and not an accolade, I still don't particularly like it.

Characters: 5/5
The characters were the best part of this story, hands down. I am a fan of disney already, and the idea of taking their characters and building off of them is interesting to me. The author was really able to add a lot of depth and intrigue to each of them, and you can really see the characters grow as the story progresses.
Belle: As the antagonist, I feel that Belle didn't have a whole lot of room to grow from where the original story had her. The author was able to fill in a few blanks, give her a strong back story, and a personality that wasn't as apparent in the film. A voracious reader who is somewhat misunderstood and enjoys the company of beasts and horses, I feel like I might know her parallel in the real world.
The Beast: I feel the Beast is opposite of Belle in that you don't really get to know him all that well in the film, but he goes through lots of changes in the story. You learn of his past and why he is the way he is, and get to see the world through his eyes occasionally. I found his character to be the most interesting.
Rosalind: Belle's mother, we mostly get to know her in the flashback parts of the story, dealing with the history of the family and the country they live in. Rosalind felt like the driving force behind the book's plot. If you remove Rosalind from the story entirely, you are left with the disney movie. She was a very interesting character that is able to show that not everything is black and white, and in dealing with people while protecting your own, there are always shades of gray.

Plot: 4/5
Not a whole lot to say, if you've seen the movie, you know the story. However the book shines in providing the details that you can't get in 2 hours in front of a screen. Getting to know everyone's past and their motivations was well worth the read. The book somewhat diminishes the light heartedness of the movie and shows you a reality where everyone really is suffering the effects of a decade long curse, which doesn't always provide a reason for singing and making jokes.


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