Do you know that game where you sit in a circle and tell a story, each person breaking off at a critical moment to let the next person add to the story? This book felt like that kind of round robin story, only incorporating two stories in alternating chapters instead of just one. Maybe imagine two concentric circles and the story-telling, of two separate stories, goes around the circles in opposite directions–nah, that’s too confusing.
Wendy Mass wrote 11 Birthdays and Finally, two books I really liked. And she’s written some other fairy tale take-offs in the Twice Upon a Time series that includes this version of Beauty and the Beast. I haven’t read the others in the series, but I just couldn’t enjoy this one very much. I kept wondering when the “Beauty” chapters and the “Beast” chapters were going to converge, and then when they finally did about three-fourths of the way through the book, I just didn’t believe.
SPOILER, I guess. We have a wicked witch in this story who turns people into insects (and other animals). The insects, an ant and a grasshopper, then live for many, many years. I looked it up. Ants and grasshoppers don’t live that long, although I suppose enchanted insects could be different.
Tag line: The story of Beauty and the Beast like you’ve never heard it before.
That’s a true statement, but my problem is that I liked the way I heard it before better.
There’s Beauty or Rose Daughter both by Robin McKinley or Beast by Donna Jo Napoli or even the Disney movie of the story. This version just feels impromptu and implausible.