“As Old as Time” tells the story of Beauty and the Beast, but it’s a little… twisted.
I loved this book. So much so that I read all 500 pages in one sitting. Yes, 7 straight hours of reading because I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!
*WARNING: SOME SPOILERS AHEAD*
The story starts off with a little history of how Beast came to be. Not only did Belle’s parents meet in his kingdom, but Belle’s mother is the one that enchanted him! Turns out she was an enchantress, and a pretty powerful one at that, named Rosalind. Her motive for the curse was over a decade old – she wanted to protect the magical people like her and the King and Queen were doing nothing but watch them suffer. She retreated to a provincial town with her husband, Maurice, and daughter Belle to live a more secluded life.
After many years, the King and Queen try to get Rosalind to help them during a time of disease, she learns that evil is in their hearts and refuses to help. After they die, Rosalind goes back to the hidden kingdom to test the young prince. After the curse is cast, it is thought that she disappeared and the people that knew her forgot about her completely.
But in this twisted tale, it gets even more twisted.
What was so enchanting about this book is the changes made. I already loved Belle’s story, but I think I like it even more now. Belle is still strong, independent, and a little odd, but she yearns for adventure!
I don’t want to give away too much (because you should seriously read this book), but one of the major changes is what happens to the rose. You know the one I’m talking about; the one encased in glass that is the signal for the curse to be forever. But in this version, Belle ruins any chance of the Beast saving the lives of himself and his servants! She grabs the rose from under the glass and it disintegrates before her eyes.
What does she do?
Reads of course. She uses the Beast’s huge library to find out more of the history of the former kingdom and learns about her own history. I love this addition to the story. It makes Belle seem even more determined and kind-hearted. She knows she messed up their lives and is doing everything she can to change that. Including finding her mother that she just learned was an enchantress to see if there is another way to lift the curse. Besides, everything can be fixed with books, right?
The final big twist is about who the bad guy is. It’s not Gaston, believe it or not. One of the old men that had magic and used to be friends with Belle’s parents took it upon himself to rid everyone of magic. He’s in charge of the insane asylum but he does experiments on the charmantes (the people with magic). To take him down, the Beast and Gaston work together! This was totally cool to see.
I won’t give away any more, but I feel like I need to say this. I learned a lot of french words by reading this book. Some I already new, some I had to use context clues. There were also a lot of words I’d never even heard of before, probably to get the reader to understand words that Belle would understand because she’s such a big reader. I mean, I had no idea what ululate meant (turns out its a howl or wail of expression of emotion, usually grief).
I give this book a 5/5. And there are even more “Twisted Tales” by Liz Braswell, including a twist on “Aladdin” and “Sleeping Beauty.”
I can’t wait to read those.