When I purchased Long Live The Pumpkin Queen, these ‘A Twisted Tale’ books showed up as a similar item. I was curious what they were and when I discovered they’re ‘what if’ books, I wanted to get one. Amazon had a 3 book box set which includes Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and Aladdin. I chose As Old as Time because it was the biggest with 484 pages.
The book is broken down in 3 parts. Part 1 tells the story of Belle just like the beginning of the movie. She’s the odd girl in town and she wants something different. The book goes back and forth with Belle’s life and her dad Maurice. Maurice’s chapters are from a time before Belle is born and how he met Belle’s mother, Rosalind. I enjoyed getting to know that backstory. Not only is Rosalind an enchantress, there are other magical creatures as well. The kingdom is home to many, normal and different individuals. As the story progresses, the kingdom is in turmoil when magical people start disappearing while the king and queen sit in their castle and do nothing. Maurice and Rosalind leave the kingdom before anything bad happens and Belle is born in the little small village. A plague hits the kingdom and many die, including the king and queen. The prince takes over and just before his coronation, Rosalind goes one more time to the kingdom to make sure the prince does not have the same mentality as his parents. We know how that goes. On Belle’s chapters, she describes her life with her dad and the village, Gaston’s forced marriage proposal, and goes in search for her father. Like in the movie, she finds him in the castle, he goes free and she becomes the Beast’s prisoner. The book takes a different turn from the movie by the end of part 1 when Belle goes inside the Beast’s room and manages to grab the magical rose.
Part 2 sounds like a detective novel. Belle and Beast work together to try and solve mysterious deaths and the search for Belle’s mother to break the curse while getting to know each other further. Maurice sets out to save Belle from the Beast but he gets kidnapped by Gaston and Lefou and gets put in an asylum. He discovers that Rosalind is still alive and for the past 10 years she’s been tortured by their old friend, Frédéric D’Arque.
Part 3 Belle and Beast go to the village and Belle gets kidnapped and thrown in the asylum as well. Beast goes to the tavern to get help from the town people. He manages to convinced them and everyone goes off to the asylum. The asylum was Frédéric’s place to perform horrible experiments. It’s discovered that the missing magical people from the kingdom were being kidnapped and Frédéric would perform gruesome acts to try and make these people ‘normal’. Belle was not spared from much treatment. Gaston ends up killing Frédéric and all the people go free. Rosalind reverses most of the curse, enough to turn the castle and it’s people back to normal. The Beast stays a beast.
I enjoyed part 1. Part 2 was different but I was still opened to the idea. By the end of part 2, it left me wondering what the hell I was reading. Part 3 was like a kiddish triller with action in the mix. It was all over the place in my opinion. In short, I didn’t like the ending. I know it’s a ‘what if’ book but I still wanted the beast to turn back into a human or at least an epilogue to find out if he found the cure with Belle. The only closure I felt was when the village people realize Gaston isn’t that bright once you get passed his good looks. The villain of the book was a friend of Maurice and Rosalind. Turning an old friend into a mad scientist wasn’t the route I was expecting. It just became a little far-fetched. So the book started off good but by the end, I was left feeling dissatisfied. Now I’m wondering if the other 2 books I got follow the same direction.