As Old As Time – Liz Braswell

What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?

This is the third instalment in Liz Braswell’s Twisted Tale series, where Braswell puts a dark twist on well known Disney stories. The first, A Whole New World, follows Aladdin, Jasmin and Jafar was great. Once Upon a Dream was a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, which I really wanted to be my favourite, but sadly the slow plot and character of Aurora let it down in my eyes. As Old as Time is – you guess it – Beauty and the Beast.

Like most other book worms, I love Belle. Belle is great. Braswell gave us an insight into her parents, into their lives before Belle. An insight I didn’t think I needed, but which worked well as it broke up the beginning of the story which starts to lag a little as we all know how the story starts

In certain parts the plot kept a good pace but overall it was pretty slow. There is also an awful lot of Belle’s internal monologue to wade through where she over analyses every possible avenue or option – also her thoughts and words at times make her seem pretentious and arrogant which is a far cry from the sweet, kind hearted Belle we all know. The Beast constantly being described as meek did not endear him to me at all. The inevitable love story between Belle and the Beast doesn’t drag down the story, which makes it seem like suddenly they are in love which is bizarre, as usually the interactions between them both are strained and awkward – aside from when he tells her he’ll buy her a book shop. Maybe the audience’s knowledge and acceptance of their grand and powerful love is taken for granted, so it’s not needed to be explored fully.

Regardless of how much I wanted to, I can’t figure out if I like this book. I finished it, so I guess that says something, but then I will rarely not finish a book…so maybe not. The plot was slow, the characters were not all that engaging and the explanation for big elephant in the room, the curse, just didn’t really make sense to me.

One thing I liked – Brawsell is good at describing a scene, the book is very visual.

Great quotes and evocative passages from As Old As Time:

…generously gifting their own religion to foreign people who didn’t want it…

As soon as she opened a book, this little town disappeared into a vast map of countries both real and imagined.

And then it was as if the shadows themselves suddenly congealed and took form beside her.

“You can’t have adventures without risk. You can’t have great things if you constantly fear loss.”

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