Thursday, May 18, 2017

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


Page Count: 352
Published on: January 31, 2017
Published by: Disney Press
Genre(s): Fantasy, YA, Middle Grade, Fairy Tale Retelling
Source: Hardback - preorder
Age Rating: Middle Grade/YA
Where To Find It: Goodreads // Amazon
Book Depository: {click here}

Twitter: @

My Rating: 2 stars
Overall Opinion: Disappointing & not that magical

Goodreads synopsis:

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 became a prisoner, seem within reach again.

The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous 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. But what about her friends in the Beast’s 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.


Hey, guys!

      I am such a huge Disney nerd and when I found out about this book, I just had to pre-order it. The early reviews looked so promising and the fact that it was going to have connections to the newly released live-action remake made it a must have for my Beauty and the Beast loving self. Unfortunately, this book really disappointed me. There was such a lack of substance and magic that all Disney-based stories have. I thought that Disney Press would have published something much more magical, but in my opinion, they did not.

     This follows Belle right after the Beast shows and gives her the library. She discovers that the library is in pretty bad shape. She and the castle gang decide to clean up the library so that they can fully enjoy it again. Belle soon discovers a mysterious book called Nevermore that magically transports her to a magically fictional world where she feels less trapped. The world of Nevermore offers her everything she could ever want, but is everything as wonderful as it seems? Is it even real? There has to be some kind of price, right?

      I was really into this book for the first 100 pages, but then I started to notice the flaws and holes that occurred as the book progressed. First of all, the characters were not themselves. Belle, for one, was extremely annoying and whiney. I have never imagined her to be so naive, self-centered, and unintelligent. She read as a 12 to 15-year-old, which is completely incorrect. She has always been around 17-21 in my mind. She also is supposed to be exceptionally creative and intelligent, which was not how she was portrayed at all. I felt like her character was stifled and she did a complete 180 from how she was acting at the beginning of the book. (SPOILER: She literally recited the entirety of Hamlet!!!) The author purposely wrote Belle's character to make her less intelligent in order to drive the plot. She gradually went from smart to ditsy/stupid within 150 pages. I found that to be very aggravating and annoying. I also didn't like how it was blatantly shown that she didn't notice the foreshadowing or the sinister actions of the evil individuals. She could have noticed, but the author obviously just wanted her to be ditzy and dumb. She's definitely not supposed to be a dumb character, so why would anyone want to ruin the image of a fantastic character like Belle?!?! I'm quite salty about this if you can't tell.

     I would also like to point out that there were some chapters that were told from the Beast's perspective. I did, at first, enjoy this part of the book, but as I read more chapters, I noticed that his chapters basically sounded like Belle's chapters with a smidgen of masculinity. I did not enjoy the way the author portrayed the Beast. He was much too fluffy sounding (that is his character wasn't like the brooding and tragic Beast that he was supposed to be). It was as if he had already experienced his character arc. I would have liked to get more of a positive character arc rather than the blah thing I experienced. 

     I know it sounded that I really didn't like this book, but there were a few redeeming qualities that made up for the stuff I really did not enjoy. For one, the allusions to the original Disney characters were great. I loved the little moments with Cogsworth, Lumiere, Plumette, Chip, and Mrs. Potts. I love their characters so much, so it was great to read about them again. I'm such a sucker for Disney. I also liked the little development and the tiny bit of emotion we get from him. I would love to read something from the perspective of the some back story. I love his character. 

    Overall, this book had the potential to be really fantastic. The concept of the book was very intriguing and I really enjoyed the Death vs. Love. It added a cool dimension to the book. However, I had too many issues with the execution and writing of the characters to fully enjoy this book. Belle was just a massive disappointment. There were so many instances where I (rudely) muttered: "I could easily rewrite this to make it better!" I know that is rude and dismisses the effort of the author, but this book was so disappointing! I, unfortunately, do not recommend this book. 

Other Retellings You Would Love:
  • A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas (ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE SERIES)
    • Beauty & the Beast + Fae
    • My Rating: ALL OF THE STARS
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
    • Cinderella + assassins and political intrigue (loosely based)
    • My Rating 4.75 stars
  • Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
    • dystopian after Oz - Dorothy is evil
    • My Rating: 5 stars
  • East by Edith Pattou
    • Norwegian Beauty & the Beast retelling
    • My Rating: 5 stars 
  • The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm #1) by Michael Buckley
    • Descendants of the Brothers Grimm. Solving mysteries in a town full of fairy tale characters 
    • My Rating: 5 stars
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
    • Dystopian fantasy retelling with moon people, cyborgs, political intrigue, and a fantastic cast of characters.
    • My Rating: 5 stars
Happy reading!
@LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino