(Spoilers in second-to-last paragraph)
I didn't expect to like this story. Beauty and the Beast had never been my favorite Disney movie, and in 8th grade, I had written a whole paper about fairytales in culture and how Disney changed a lot of the original tales they adapted. Beauty and the Beast was among them. The original tale isn't great, but in the Beast isn't exactly awful towards the girl other than keeping her captive (which is still A BIG THING). After writing that paper though, I couldn't see the Disney film without thinking "Stockholm Syndrome" and how it encourages girls to stay with abusive beasts because they can change.
I also was skeptical because I read this soon after the news of the live action remake had come out. Why fix something that you Disney Princess movie standards wasn't broken? At least with Cinderella, they "modernized" the story by having Cinderella meet the Prince beforehand so she's not marrying a complete stranger after just one night. That adaptation introduced issues of its own, but at least it was new enough to separate it from the animated version. Beauty and the Beast, on the other hand, does not need a reinvigoration of its brand. Almost everyone can sing "Tale As Old As Time" and knows that Belle is the only princess who is known to be a bookworm.
Anyway, I read it and liked it. The plot was a lot darker than the Disney movie (it's tone actually was more reminiscent of the often-bashed Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas which featured an evil organ named Maestro Forte). Mixing with fairies and magic of more traditional fairytales, I was glad to see an original side to the story (although the first part was strangely structured and had me wondering how any of it could have happened if no one in the original Disney movie knew any of this—the answer, the spell cast on Beast's castle made everyone forget about him and magic).
Rumplestiltskin by Jenni James is the third in her Faerie Tale Collection. In her version, Rumplestiltskin is not the villain; in fact, he’s the hero of this tale. Shunned by his family and believed dead by the kingdom, Prince Fredrico Baldrich Layton roams the hidden castle corridor, hiding from everyone’s sight. However, when a girl is unjustly forced to “turn straw into gold” or face the death penalty, Rumple knows that he must step in and save her from his cruel brother’s wrath.
Jenni James artfully introduces the reader into her world of Rumplestiltskin while still being respectful towards the original version. Her new interpretation paints him as merely misunderstood, which endears audiences to a previously one- dimensional villain. In addition, she turns a moral tale about greed into a captivating romance. An interesting twist is that Rumplestiltskin himself isn’t magic, which adds another layer of suspense during multiple tight situations. I recommend this book for fairytale lovers, fans of romance, and readers who like hearing new and sometimes unconventional retellings of a classic story.
I'm a self-published author— because being a college student wasn't hard enough! I write YA multi-genre fiction for young adults or the young at heart. I love This Is Us, NCIS, BBC's Sherlock,
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