Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What to say, what to say.
I've read to many retellings lately. I'm overwhelmed with how they fall short of the original stories. That isn't really their fault, but rather that I need more variety in my reading choices.
I digress. This edition of Beauty and the Beast takes place mid-story in the Disney version. Right after the Beast gifts Belle with the library two new characters, Love and Death, begin a dangerous game. Love who has sent her sorceress to curse the Beast to begin with and Death, who finds that she does not want to lose to her sister and sends and enchanted book to Belle's library.
Belle finds said book, escapes into the pages, and begins an amazing second life there, where she feels free and not alone. However, Death is attempting to trap her there so she cannot fall in love the with Beast and break his curse (thus, losing the bet).
So, the story itself sounds intriguing, yes? It is. The plot, the story, the extended things we learn about Mrs Pots, Chip, and the rest, all fantastic. However, then there is Belle.
Belle is one of my favorite characters. She is the rare instance of the princess saving the prince. This is not a story we hear often. I love how strong she is as a character, even in the Disney version. She saves her father, is caring toward everyone, strong-willed, smart, loves books (ah, this sounds like booklovers everywhere). However, in this book she comes across as meek, silly, easily tricked. She is confused and doesn't use her head that often. Common sense is not so common where Belle is concerned. She is a pretty face and takes on all of those qualities that so many other princesses do.
This was hugely disappointing for me. Where is the smart, self-empowered girl we all know and love? Not between these pages, let me tell you.
If you love Beauty and the Beast, I suggest skipping this one because you won't connect with Belle.
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