Saturday, April 18, 2015

Review: Belle: A Retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" (Once Upon A Time Fairytales) by Cameron Dokey


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
Belle is convinced she has the wrong name, as she lacks her sisters' awe-inspiring beauty. So she withdraws from society, devoting her time to wood carving. Secretly, Belle longs to find the fabled Heartwood Tree. If carved by the right hands, the Heartwood will reveal the face of one's true love.
During a fierce storm, Belle's father stumbles upon the mysterious Heartwood—and encounters a terrifying and lonely Beast. Now Belle must carve the Heartwood to save her father, and learn to see not with the eyes of her mind, but with the eyes of her heart.

MY TAKE:
After being somewhat disappointed by the Mulan story in this series, I decided to begin this book with only moderate expectations.

In Belle: A Retelling of "Beauty and the Beast", Belle has two older and very beautiful sisters. She feels she is the plain one and that she doesn't live up to her name. By a twist of fate, she is forced to live with a Beast whose only goal is to find out what the Heartwood Tree will reveal.

This book was a pleasant surprise. I only know the Disney version of the story, so a lot of the elements were new to me. The more familiar elements were fine, as well, but it was nice that this felt almost like a different story.

I decided to take a quick peek at the original story via the Beauty and the Beast entry in Wikipedia. This retelling is certainly kinder on the sisters, as while Celeste can be a prickly character sometimes, April is a very nice person. The Heartwood Tree is a new addition as well, and a good idea, as it brings something else to the table, in terms of conflict and backstory.

While this story is ultimately a love story between Belle and Beast, it also shows a beautiful story about sisters.

THE GOOD:

  1. There are enough new elements here to make it worth the read.
  2. The interactions between the sisters are realistic.
  3. It has positive messages. 

THE BAD:

  1. The ending is a bit corny. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You liked the Disney version.
  2. You like stories with positive messages.
  3. You like stories about sisters. 

RATING:
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