As I mentioned in the video, this is a series of books I was vaguely familiar with having purchased Once Upon A Dream earlier in the year although I haven't yet read it.
As most people are familiar with Beauty and the Beast, I won't go into too much detail about the plot of As Old As Time but I thought that the twist definitely added another dimension to the story and I enjoyed the fact that we went backwards and forwards in time. We discover Belle's present day story alongside the history of her mother, the enchantress, and her father Maurice. I wish that Liz Braswell had gone into a little more detail about the history of the magical creatures and the enchantress as I found this to be extremely interesting and I wanted more! The twist meant that some of the classic features of the story had to be changed, and I thought that these changes were well done and believable.
The book was also an incredibly fast read and I found myself not wanting to put it down because I wanted to find out where the story was going to go next; Liz Braswell does a good job of hooking you in and ensuring that you keep on turning the pages. We learn a lot more about the character of the Beast which I loved; getting an insight into how he was feeling, and how he was having to battle against becoming 100% Beast or remaining a Prince inside was a fantastic addition which we don't get to see in the original movie. I was unsure of the alteration to Belle's character however; in the film she is very sweet and rosy-cheeked but she seemed a little off in the book, and I found it hard to like her as a protagonist.
I definitely think that this is a book for older YA readers, some of the content was quite dark and although the story only skated over the implications of what that meant, even I was a little creeped out, especially the later scenes in the town's asylum.
The ending was also unexpected and left me with a lot of questions! I have no idea whether there will be a sequel to this book but I would certainly hope so.
I rated this book a 3.75 stars in the end. Overall I enjoyed the writing style and the story itself but in places I thought that the writing was a little on the simplistic side and it did stick very closely to the original Disney movie. This, for me, meant that there were some unexplained plot holes (such as why no-one in the cursed castle ages and yet the Beast does...) which I thought that Liz Braswell could have addressed whilst still giving us an authentic Beauty and the Beast retelling.
I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a quick YA read or an interesting re-telling of a classic Disney story.
I also have to say that I look forward to picking up and reading the other two books in this series and seeing the twists which Liz Braswell has added to the much loved stories of Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty.
I was sent a copy of the book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Links are affiliate.