Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

 

 

Tell the Wind & Fire is about a young girl called Lucie who lives in a New York very different from the New York we know: the city is torn between two very different kinds of magic, and Lucie’s own family was torn apart years ago by that conflict. Lucie wears magic rings and carries a burden of guilt she can’t share with anyone.

The light in her life is her sweetheart boyfriend Ethan, but it turns out Ethan has a secret too: a soulless doppelganger created by dark magic, who has to conceal the face identical to Ethan’s with a hood fastened by a collar nobody but a Light magician with magical rings can take off… and who introduces himself to both of them by, for reasons nobody can understand, saving Ethan’s life…1

 

Sometimes when you are reading a book, listening to a book or even just reading the summary there comes a moment when you know that the author has struck gold.  I was familiar with Sarah Rees Brennan from her teaming up with Cassandra Clare for some of the Magnus Bane Chronicles, but had never read any of her solo work.  While she does have quite a selection on her webpage, there is that self-published/low budget publishing quality to some of her book covers.  Obviously we all know the old adage that one should never judge a book by it’s cover, but I assure you there is also no low budget book covers on the New York Best Sellers List.

Lucie and Ethan are travelling home back to New York city, the city of light.  Lucie and Ethan’s city of light is different from the lights you may be imagining though.  The train that they are travelling on is powered by magic, the same magic that runs through Lucie’s veins.  After letting her guard down, Lucie and Ethan are woken from their sleep by a team of Light Guards come to arrest Ethan.  Despite Lucie’s protests the guards have dragged Ethan off the train and onto the platform and informing Ethan that he is being arrested for treason, punishable by death without trial.  Completely helpless and Ethan mere seconds from death, a dark figure emerges from the train, buying Ethan and Lucie the time they need to reason with the Light Guards to return Ethan to New York and seek the opinion of the Stryker family.  Ethan Stryker’s father and uncle are leaders of the city and part of the Light Counsel that governs.

Lucie may be dating the son of one of the most important families in the light city, but she was not always welcome within its walls.  Lucie grew up in the darkness in the areas outside the light city walls with those known as dark magicians.  While the City of Light has the appearance of perfection, a resistance is building and the darkness is beginning to seep into the city.  Both the light and the dark are trying to control Lucie and to use her as their face to rise up from the darkness and snuff out the light, as well as to continue to be a beacon of light to keep away the dark.

I was pleasantly surprised with Tell The Wind And Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan.  From the cover of the book I would have expected the story to be a cheap romance novel.  As the adage of  not judging a book by its cover rings true, the cover is also the first impression that readers will have and often gives you an idea of what exactly you are dealing with.  The cover will give you an idea of the subject, the genre and also creates a benchmark for expectations.  If little effort or quality is put into the cover, you can generally expect the same from the book.  While TTW&F does not completely resonate cheap and low quality, it also doesn’t do the story justice.

It has been quite some time since I read the book which is making the review even more difficult.  I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the story more than I thought I would, but any hope of continuing the series is basically shown by the amount of time between finishing the book and completing this review.  There was no readily available ebook or audiobook through the library and I jumped onto the next project too quickly, leaving this one and the chance of continuing the series in the dust.

Huge points to Rees Brennan for the unique and fun magical elements that ultimately create and save this story, but the magic spark needed to keep it alive was lost within the darkness.  The world that she has created for us is exciting and something we want to explore but the route that she has taken us is more off course away from the things that really made the story.

 

  1. Book summary courtesy of Sarah Rees Brennan book page.

The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher

From a basement office in London’s notorious Bethlehem Hospital, former policeman and Pinkerton agent Sebastian Becker is sent to interview Sir Owain Lancaster at his country estate. They wealthy industrialist returned alone from a disastrous scientific adventure in the Amazon, claiming that wild beasts killed his family and colleagues. He tells Becker that the same dark creatures have followed him home and are responsible for the deaths of two local girls and rumors of beasts on the moor. But while madmen may see monsters, some monsters hide in plain sight.1

Perusing through the available audiobooks through the library app I came across this one.  It appears that there is a previous book following the main character, Sebastian Becker, who is a former policeman and Pinkerton agent.  Having retired from the life of a policeman and agent, Sebastian now works for the Lord Chancellor’s Office in Lunacy.  It is Sebastian’s job to interview and inspect individuals whose mental state is being questioned and if they are in the right state of mind to be in charge of their own finances and property.  Sebastian is called to the small town where a wealthy industrialist named Sir Owen Lancaster has escaped to his country estate after being chased out of London.  After returning from a tragic trip to the amazon where almost his entire crew, including his wife and child, were killed during the expedition.  Sir Owen has written a book on the  events of his journey which accounts how terrible beasts were the cause of the disastrous expedition and what had killed his crew and family.  With only one other survivor from the trip, Sebastian must find out what he can to either clear Sir Owen of his mental state or deprive him of his property and finances.  When two young girls are found murdered in the moors, Sebastian discovers that there is a long standing folklore of the moors and mysterious beasts that lurk in the darkness.  Could it be possible that Sir Owen was telling the truth and that the beasts from his expedition have followed him home and are wreaking havoc on the small town?

I can’t say I was overly thrilled by this novel.  Despite the mystery, murder and thrill of uncovered secrets and current drama to fill the story, the tale remained bland and lacking any real suspense or mystery.  The detective/not detective who is in town to follow up on the mental state of Sir Owen ends up assisting with a double murder investigation and uncovering the past.  We then return to London where there are random events involving his wife and family before remembering we were supposed to investigate Sir Owen and return for a bizarre and rushed wrap up.  The return trip to London and waste of time with his wife is only made up by the addition of his son to the story.  His son has some form of mental variance which makes him awkward and devoid of some common sympathies and interactions, but in return is gifted with a rather talented mind.  His mind helps guide Sebastian in his journey though not as much as the story could have used.  This issue is mirrored in the addition of Grace Ekels, a young lady who lives on Sir Owen’s land in the home of her deceased father.  Grace has lived in the town her whole life, but after a disturbing and traumatic experience as a child she remains a recluse.  Her abrasive and abrupt nature ads some comedy to the tale, though very minor, but she is so different from the other characters, aside from Sebastian’s son, that it is a welcome reprieve.

The addition of these two characters is so minor to the tale that they are not involved long enough to have saved the story.  We find ourselves bumbling all over the country side and in London never really discovering anything, rather that things all fall into place and Sebastian just happens to be there at the right time and place.  There are certainly worse things that you could read, but surely something more worth your time than this one.

  1.  Book summary courtesy of Penguin Random House The Bedlam Detective book page.

The Siren by Kiera Cass

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Kahlen is a Siren, bound to serve the Ocean by luring humans to watery graves with her voice, which is deadly to any human who hears it. Akinli is human—a kind, handsome boy who’s everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. Falling in love puts them both in danger…but Kahlen can’t bear to stay away. Will she risk everything to follow her heart?1

My inner teenage girl absolutely loved the whole Selection series and novellas by Kiera Cass.  Normally when you find an author that has a series or more than one book you like you tend to look at all the books they have written and read those as well.  While I loved the Selection Series it took me quite a long time to check out The Siren.  Written well before her success with the Selection series, Cass takes us on a unique adventure to the sea.  We may be expecting mermaids, but what we get is something closer to the Greek mythology than any form of mermaid.

It was the 1950’s and kahlen is on vacation with her family.  Her and many other families were enjoying their time on a ship until a sudden storm threatened to capsize the ship.  When a strange and melodic sound is heard, the people onboard the ship begin to make their way on deck, despite the storm, and begin to hurdle themselves over the rail to be near the sound.  Struggling against the soothing sound Kahlen begs for her life before a calm falls over everything.  A strange voice confronts her and questions whether she would truly do anything to stay alive.  I imagine that most people would be willing to make such a bargain in such a crisis, but Kahlen did not truly know what kind of bargain she would be making.

The ocean is a living being, a spirit that helps the entire world, but in return she must also take.  With the aid of her carefully selected Sirens, the ocean will speak to the girls and inform them when it is time to sing.  Mysterious shipwrecks are chalked up to urban legends and tragedies, but there are a few girls who know differently.  The Sirens serve the ocean for a period of 100 years where they do not age and they do not get sick as they stay in a perpetual state of beauty.  Once their time of serving is done they are placed back into human society, their memories wiped, to live out the rest of their lives.  Though the Sirens are immortal, if they disobey the ocean she can easily destroy them.  The girls must live among humans without anyone discovering their true identities.  Each one stunningly beautiful makes this difficult to begin with, but they are also marked by their muteness.  The girls can speak to each other, but if they speak to humans the sound of their voice causes them to instantly sacrifice their life to the ocean.

Kahlen, the oldest of the current group of Sirens has served 80 out of her 100 year sentence, but when she meets the human named Akinli, their relationship threatens to compromise her remaining 20 year sentence and also threatens both Kahlen and Akinli’s lives.

Though I should have known differently from the title I just assumed the book would be about mermaids.  The concept of Sirens is usually only heard in passing when discussing Greek mythology and was an intriguing knew topic for a young adult novel.  Cass creates a world of these young and beautiful girls who are also extremely dangerous.  A story of life and destruction that mirrors the give and take cycle of the ocean and the world.  There are many interesting qualities about the story and I enjoyed the interactions between the characters, but I was not quite as wrapped up in the story as I was with the Selection series.  The Siren tickles at my interests in the new and the fantastical, but it failed to ignite any burning desires for my inner teenage girl that I had been hoping for.  A fun and different read but highly suggest reading the Selection series if you have not already.

  1.  Book summary courtesy of Kiera Cass webpage.

A Cruel Beauty Novella: Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge

 

Gilded Ashes is an atmospheric and darkly romantic reimagining of Cinderella set in the world of Cruel Beauty. Perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Maia doesn’t see the point of love when it only brings people pain: Her dead mother haunts anyone who hurts Maia, and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother’s approval, even though she despises them. Meanwhile, Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis, doesn’t believe in love either—not since he discovered that his childhood sweetheart was only using him for his noble title. But when Maia’s and Anax’s paths cross before the royal ball, they discover that love might not be the curse they once thought. And it might even be the one thing that can save them both.1

Cruel Beauty was an imaginative new retelling to the tale of Beauty and the Beast but with a twist.  Hodge creates a new world for us to explore as the backdrop for the retelling of some classic favourites of ours.  While everything was essentially gift wrapped and put on a platter, Cruel Beauty didn’t quite deliver but I was willing to give Gilded Ashes a try.

As mentioned the story is set in the same universe with demons and bargains with shadows as Cruel Beauty has created for us.  Maia lives with her step mother and two sisters.  Though her father and mother have died, Maia’s mother is a constant presence in her life after she had made a deal with a demon.  Those closest to Maia live in constant danger, unbeknownst to them.  Maia plays the part of a good daughter, always happy and always obedient to keep her mother’s spirit happy.  She has seen what has happened when those around her upset her.  She has seen what lengths her mother’s spirit will go to for her daughters happiness.

Maia’s step mother is set on upholding the honour of their house and her two daughters will do whatever it takes to make their mother happy.  When it is announced that young Prince Anax will be hosting a ball to search for his future bride to be, the eldest daughter makes it her goal to win over the young prince.  With the help of Maia, letters are delivered to the prince to appeal to his personal interests rather than the vain swooning performed by other young women in the kingdom.  While executing these missions for her stepsister, Maia has unexpected encounters with the young prince where the two are able to be themselves.  The moments are short lived as the darkness is always threatening to creep in and Maia will discover that her mother’s spirit is not the only darkness that she need fear.

While I am completely open to these retellings they seem to be following the same pattern.  These amazing stories that have a huge following on their own are picked up and given these twists that we can’t help but be intrigued to read.  Nothing will ever live up to the classics, but this issue aside there is something still causing the stories to ignite and fizzle out in a flash. I was willing to accept the story as a stand alone tale set in this intriguing new world, but once again we only get the briefest of glimpses into that world. Even worse, Gilded Ashes only gives us the briefest of tales as it turns out that this story is merely a novella.  While Cruel Beauty added too many elements to its story and carried on far too much on things that should have been left alone, Gilded Ashes has the opposite effect.  Gilded Ashes failed to focus on the many things that build the story with so little time to do it in the novella format.  Though this makes two potentials for greatness in retellings that turned out to be mediocre for Hodge, and a further mediocre attempt with Crimson Bound, I still have hope for the author and perhaps one day she will be able to reach that happy medium.

  1.  Book summary courtesy of Harper Collins Golden Ashes by Rosamund Hodge book page.

The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff

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Inspired by the true story of Danish painter Einar Wegener and his California-born wife, this tender portrait of a marriage asks: What do you do when someone you love wants to change?  It starts with a question, a simple favour asked of a husband by his wife on an afternoon chilled by the Baltic wind while both are painting in their studio.  Her portrait model has cancelled; would he slip into a pair of women’s shoes and stockings for a few moments so she can finish the painting on time?  Of course, he answers.  Anything at all.  With that one of the most passionate and unusual love stories of the twentieth century begins.1

Though it is not a topic I’ve done any research on at all I can’t say I’ve ever heard of the story of Lili Elbe or Einar Wegener before.  When I saw the preview for the film I knew it would be something worth watching and when I had the chance to listen to the audiobook before seeing the film I took the chance.  There are always differences between a book and its movie adaptation, but I wasn’t expecting this.

Greta Wegener came from a very promonant family in California who made their fortune from orange groves.  While her family had a very clear image of what a girl of her status should be, Great was very head strong and would do as she pleased.  Greta was an aspiring painter who mainly did portraits but was relatively unknown.  She was first introduced to Einar Wegener when she attended an art school in Copenhagen where Einar was a teacher.  Einar was a small quiet man who had soft features and great talent for landscapes.  Planning a party for her 18th birthday while living in Copenhagen, Greta needed to find an escort for her party or face having her twin brother take her to their party.  Taking it upon herself Greta approached the timid Einar and made her intentions known.  Einar could only stumble on a response and say that it would be best if she were to simply forget him.  Before she can even have her party, her parents chose to take the family back to America to escape the war.  Although Greta sent many letters to Einar he simply responded with the same suggestion that it would be better off to forget him.

A few years later Greta had married an artist from America, but after his premature death she returned to Copenhagen to explore her art once again, though this time on her own without her family.  Greta sought out Einar Wegener once again and the two married.  While the two did not have much of a sexual relationship they lived companionably spending their days painting together.  Einar was well known for his landscape paintings, but Greta was still struggling to find the right subject matter to catch the publics attention.  Attempting to complete a commissioned portrait under a timeline Greta requested Einar’s help by putting on the stockings and shoes of her client to finish the painting on time.  Einar was uncomfortable with the request and was confused by his conflicting emotions while wearing the pieces of women’s clothing.  Greta always knew Einar was a pretty man, but while wearing pieces of women’s clothing it was easy to see how he could also be a pretty woman.  Taking inspiration from a flower in the studio, Greta dubbed this new version of Einar as Lili.  Little did Greta know that the transformation would unlock something that has been wanting to break free from within Einar.  Lili became Greta’s new inspiration that helped to bring her into the limelight and became well known for her Lili paintings.

The Danish Girl is based on the true story of Danish painter Einar Wegener who became the first man to receive gender reassignment surgery.  The story explores the relationship between Greta and Einar, though much of their story and history is fiction.  Greta Wegener was actually known as Gerda Marie Fredrikke Gottlieb and grew up in Denmark.   She did in fact marry Einar and the tale of him wearing the stockings is said to be true.  Einar did undergo the gender reassignment surgeries, but was the second person in history to have done so, not the first as the hype around the story would suggest.

Greta, or Gerda, is just as unique as Einar/Lili with a history and story worth telling.  Gerda was known for her erotic paintings and caused quite a stir in the art community when it was revealed that her husband Einar was the true face behind her Lili paintings. Unfortunately, this is not the story we get in The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff.  Instead we get a young headstrong girl from America who came from a wealthy family.  Always looking for the attention and to be in the spotlight, Greta’s intentions with Einar could be questionable, especially when she seems to push the persona of Lili onto Einar to help boost her own career.  Though Gerda had been known for her erotic paintings and this would have added something more interesting to the story, we get a very different fictional telling of Greta, her American origins and her twin brother who helps Einar to see doctors to find out what is wrong with him.  Greta’s story becomes more of a time filler and time waster as if the story of Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe wasn’t enough to be able to write a whole story of its own.

I was confused by the relationship of Greta and Einar and all the conflicting information and details between fiction and reality that made me really question the story.  We can only assume that much of the true details of Gerda and Einar’s history has been lost over time forcing the author to create a fictional backstory, but surely something more fitting and interesting could have been concocted?  Book summaries are usually full of spoilers and embellishments, but to say there was any sort of passion in this story would be the boldest piece of fiction as passion was something the story was truly lacking.

While I did not care for the story I was still really looking forward to the movie and to see Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe.  If interested in more of the story of Einar/Lili I would suggest reading the story Man Into Woman which was published in 1933 after the death of Lili and includes excerpts from Lili Elbe’s personal diaries.  This at least would hold some more truth and would probably be a much more interesting read.

 

  1.  Book summary courtesy of Hoopla book summary.

Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

 

Two women on either side of the Silver-Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.

Discover the truth of Norta’s bloody past in these two revealing prequels to #1 New York Times bestseller Red Queen.

Also includes an exclusive excerpt of the hotly anticipated second book in the Red Queen series! Glass Sword transports readers to the world of Silver tyranny, a Red dawn rising, and one girl’s resolve to break down the system that will hold her back no longer.

Queen Song
Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Steel Scars
Captain Farley exchanges coded transmissions with the resistance as she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital. She was raised to be strong, but planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected—until she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation: Mare Barrow.1

I’m having a bit of a love hate relationship it seems when it comes to the Red Queen series.  I really liked the first book, but as things seem to progress my mind and interest are beginning to waiver.  Even with the dramatic way the last book ended you would have assumed I would have snatched up the final book as soon as it was released, yet here we are, reviewing novellas that were read out of order and no final book to be seen in my reading list.

After reading Glass Sword I had thought that the addition of some novellas would have been practical as well as expected.  It wasn’t until I was finished the book and this thought had occurred to me that I did discover that there were in fact novellas already published, though not based on the characters I would have expected.

Queen Song

We are given the rare glimpse into the relatively unknown character of Queen Coriane before and after becoming queen.  The story has given us only the odd snippet into the life of the dead Queen, but nothing to really give us an idea of who she was.  This unexpected glimpse draws us in, though the story is cut short before we really get a chance to know her.  Though there are clues and connections to the main stories, there are also some questions that I feel may never be answered.

Steel Scars

Another unexpected glimpse into the character of Farley.  While she has become a main character later on in the books, at the time of the novellas she was still very much a ghost. Having read Glass Sword first there wasn’t much that was new or overly exciting to be shared in this novella.  Steel Scars was actually my least favourite and was quite painful to endure.  Had I actually read the book I feel as though it wouldn’t have been so painful as I would have been able to skip many lines and parts where as listening to the audiobook the reader was forced to read each line.  Much of the story consisted of confidential correspondence between the Red Dawn which has been decoded.  Though I am at a loss as to what the actual wording would have looked like in the book, the audiobook forces us to sit through an endless barrage of things such as: the following confidential message has been decoded colonel redacted something about a Ram location redacted seemingly short bursts of gossip between two high ranking officials about Farley interspersed with every second word being redacted.  Had I read Steel Scars, these snippets would have made much more sense and as I mentioned I would have been able to skip the lines of no consequence and make the read smoother.  Instead I sat through much of the novel thinking that one of the correspondents names was “Colonel Redacted” and why Mr. Redacted did not appear in the books and where Mr. Redacted fits in.  This became more confusing yet more clear when Mr. Colonel Redacted was also located in a place called Redacted.  This is when the light bulb came on, but did nothing to make the scenes more bearable.

I am very much a supporter of novellas.  They also do more good than bad and give us a deeper glimpse into characters and create deeper storylines that are assumed would take away from the main story.  You know… like take away from those middle books that are 3/4 filler of no importance rather than fittings things such as these into the story, but where would the business profitability be in that?

As novellas are must reads when it comes to any stories, these are a given, but be sure to at least attempt to read it rather than going the audiobook route.  You may be saved by this at least.

 

  1. Book summary courtesy of Harper Collins Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard book page.

Beauty and the Beast: Lost In A Book by Jennifer Donnelly

 

 

Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue.  The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she was a prisoner, seem within reach again.

The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her sparkling conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. Be what about her friends in the castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book before she loses herself in it forever.1

Just in time for the release of of the long awaited live action version of the beloved story of Beauty and the Beast.  Beauty and the Beast has and will always be my favourite movie and I’m fully expecting the live action version to deliver.  While I had taken a little hiatus from my avalanche of reading and book reviews I decided to start up again with an audiobook.  Little did I know that my phone was playing trips on me and when I selected this audiobook under the audiobook tab, it turned out to be an ebook.  When it comes to things like this I have made the mistake of changing my mind and returning something quickly thinking that it would make it all better.  Instead I had maxed out my check outs for the month and didn’t even get to enjoy my last check out.  Moving on…

Lost In A Book is an original Beauty and the Beast story feeding off the hype for the new release of the live action Beauty and the Beast.  Having the immense honour of being able to write a story with the magical background of Beauty and the Beast is not something to be taken lightly.  It is something that I would have assumed Disney would have had to approve, but surely this can’t be the case.

We all know the story of how Belle came to be at the castle with the Beast and the enchanted objects so the story wastes no time with that and jumping right into Belle’s stay at the castle and after her discovery of the enchanted rose.  Very little is known about Belle’s stay at the castle as the movie version of the events make things seem as if they occurred over a short period of time.  Belle has traded spots with her father, but her lifetime imprisonment with the angry Beast and the enchanted objects is difficult to come to terms with.  In an attempt to make Belle happy and a thanks for saving his life after the wolf attack the Beast gives Belle the library.  She is beyond thrilled with the library that has been making us swoon for years though in the book things are much more dark, drab and filthy.  We know this as we have to take the time to read as Belle, the enchanted objects and even the Beast pitch in to clean up the library.  It’s in the library that Belle discovers an enchanted book.

In many tales there is good and evil, there is life and death.  In Lost In A Book there are two sisters, Love and Death.  The sisters are playing a routine game of chess, Death taking her chance to cheat while her sister is distracted, though both sisters are fierce competitors.  Love has been keeping an eye on her Beast whom she still has hope that he will be able to find true love and break the curse.  Her sister, Death, decides to make things interesting by putting a wager on things.  Unable to back down from a wager and a gamble, Love increases the monetary bet that Belle will indeed be the one to break the curse.  As seen in the game of chess, neither sister likes to lose and neither is above cheating.  Death sends in her vultures to deliver the enchanted book which will take Belle to Nevermore, a magical place to make all her dreams come true and to escape the castle and the Beast forever.

The story jumps in and out of the land of Nevermore giving us those wonderful glimpses into the behind the scenes life at the castle, before once again whisking us off to Nevermore.  Lost In A Book is a mix between Beauty and the Beast and the Wizard of Oz.  The two stories, though they each have their merit, should be kept separated for the good of each other.  I would much prefer having read the story of Belle and the enchanted objects with the Beast in the castle, then a story of Belle and Nevermore.  The introduction of Nevermore brings adventure and magic to this already magical and moving story, but it also cheapens the story and it shows the characters in a much different light.  While the Beast doesn’t say much in the cartoon version, we know that in the live action and in many Beauty and the Beast stories, the Beast is actually a very well educated man.  Belle is one of the most inspirational of the Disney Princesses for an endless amount of reasons, but the Belle in Lost In A Book has been lost in translation.  The events of Lost In A Book take place in the middle of the story that we are familiar with.  While we can sympathize with Belle during her plight and her desire for escape, the whole scenario changes the heart warming story of Beauty and the Beast filled with magic and true love, to a story of sloppy seconds and a touch of “I guess it’s not so bad”.  Belle makes a series of poor choices in the land of Nevermore and falls victim to flashy objects, people and places forgetting those that were good to her and only remembering them when her life has turned to complete and utter shit.

The character of Death controls this story, and while the character of Love is very much a part of the wager, and the story is that true love prevails, Love is very much missing from this story in both presence and emotion.  I am completely disappointed with this story and sad to think that such a tale is receiving such recognition by riding the coat tails of a beloved Disney tale and the hype of the release of the live action version.  I can only imagine that this was a last minute decision, slapping together some nostalgic moments with our well known characters and punching it in the gut with some new and wacky magical adventures.  Not to mention the poor editing job where entire words are missing sentences.

The only thing that should be lost is this book in the bottom of a dollar bin nevermore to be heard of again, and so it is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that I welcome you tonight.  And now, I invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair, as the dining room proudly presents… anything but this book.

  1. Book summary courtesy of Jennifer Donnelly’s Webpage.