Picoreview: Beauty and the Beast: exceeded my expectations by a considerable margin.
(Also, irrelevantly, I was sitting between two little girls who sang all the songs they knew, and an older woman who kept wiping her eyes, both of which I found pretty charming. :))
The showing I went to go see originally was sold out, which meant I basically spent four hours wandering vaguely around downtown Drogheda (spoiler: it hasn’t got 4 hours worth of entertainment in it) so I could go to the next one. I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be worth four hours of puttering around.
I was, in fact, feeling pretty…cautious about it, overall. I hoped I’d like it. I wasn’t sure. The animated film has problems, especially with the timeline, that I figured would be extant in the live action version as well. I mean, obviously it was a *chance* to fix those problems, but every time I think an adaptation is going to take advantage of BEING AN ADAPTATION and FIX PROBLEMS WITH THE ORIGINAL, it doesn’t. So I didn’t have much faith.
But the screenplay was actually much stronger and dealt with…basically every issue I had with the animated movie. I was astonished. It had *other* problems, new ones of its own, but that’s what I want out of an adaptation, as expecting perfection is unreasonable. :)
Having JUST written my own version of BatB ([begin shameless self-promotion] ROSES IN AMBER [end shameless self-promotion]) there were moments early on where I went “oh but that’s not the way the story went,” but I got over those swiftly and settled back in to this being a new, improved version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. And I really do think it was improved.
I shall have many thoughts, but not many spoilers, behind the cut.
I’ll start out with the links, in case that’s all you’re here for. :)
Beauty and the Beast is my favourite fairy tale. Always has been, perhaps since I read “The Wounded Lion” in the gorgeously illustrated ENCHANTED TALES (Rand McNally, 1978) as a small child. I read Robin McKinley’s Beauty until the cover fell off, and Rose Daughter years later. Between those, I loved Gargoyles and the 80s tv series starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman; I watched the 1946 film and the 1991 one, and I read many, many versions of the story. When I learned the story we all knew was based on a 1756 French fairy tale, I read that version too, delighted to have read the ‘original’, in so far as fairy tales have definitive originals.
Except very recently, I discovered the 1756 version was adapted from a longer, more complicated and backstory-heavy version from 1740. Many, many elements are the same familiar ones we know: a wealthy family brought low, a retreat to the woods, a chance at financial redemption, a rose that wrecks everything.
But the backstories, OMG. The wicked fairy wasn’t *just* a nasty old fairy who transformed the prince for being a pill. The kingdom isn’t *just* left bizarrely bereft of its ruling family. There were all *kinds* of other things going on. There are political and sexual revolutions underlying the story. It was amazing!
I had–of course–always wanted to write a version of Beauty and the Beast myself (I mean, the actual fairy tale itself; The Negotiator Trilogy *is* a BatB story, obviously), but I’d never really known what I might be able to bring to the story that others hadn’t. And with this 1740 version of the story in hand, I all of a sudden knew what to do.
A great deal of what you’ll find in these pages is drawn from that centuries-old story. Not all of it, obviously, but maybe more than you’d think. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, because I had SO MUCH FUN!
Amber Gryce believes in magic the way anyone does: as a thing of the past, marked now only by the long reign of an ancient queen sworn to live until her stolen son is returned to her. Such stories are romantic but distant for Amber, surrounded by family and wealth.
But like magic, wealth can disappear. Left destitute, Amber’s family retreats to a forest holding far from their city home, where Amber’s love of roses leads her into the heart of enchantment, and draws her into a retelling of the tale as old as time….
LOOK WHAT ARRIVED
I STARTED WRITING THIS BOOK ON JANUARY 1, GUYS
LOOK AT IT
Tomorrow is Official Launch Day. I don’t know if print editions will automagically show up on B&N/Amazon IMMEDIATELY or not or it’ll take some time to work through the system, but e-book editions for Kindle, iTunes, Kobo and Nook either are or will be available as of Valentine’s Day, 6 weeks after I started writing it!
I have to say this is one *seriously* cool aspect of the whole self-publishing thing. O.O