So remember when I said that Fairy Tale Week would keep going on in my heart…
Well I didn’t go to the library last week looking for a fairy tale, but I just couldn’t resist “Once Upon a Dream” when I saw it on the shelf. To my delight, it was the second book in Liz Braswell’s trilogy based on retellings of classic Disney tales:
- A Whole New World
- Once Upon a Dream
- As Old as Time
I’ll give you one guess as to which fairy tales she chose.
I’m in the middle of the last book right now and I can confidently say that I’m enjoying her fresh take on my favorite Disney movie…but I don’t think she’s going to be my new favorite author. I would give her series a 7.
The twists and turns that Braswell adds to these three stories adds fresh magic to them. However, I feel like I’m having to work too hard to find that magic. There are just too many little author tendencies that I’m not fond of (repetition, tell don’t show, etc.).
I enjoy doing the work of a reader and bringing the story to life in my mind, but it’s a lot easier to do if the author isn’t cramming too many words in there.
But, in the case of Braswell’s first two stories, it was worth it to see her ideas played out. I think it’s really going to be worth it to see where she takes “As Old as Time.” I guess I have no right to complain after saying that.
This series might not be your cup of tea. Ask yourself if you are willing to put in the work, if you like fairy tales and Disney, and if you’re willing to see those classic tales cracked wide open.
*****Beware: Spoiler Alerts*****
Here’s a run down of the books in case you’re thinking of picking them up for yourselves:
“A Whole New World”: Aladdin and Jasmine still meet and Aladdin still travels to the cave of wonders. But what happens if Aladdin was trapped in the Cave of Wonders and Jafar got the lamp? What happens if the people are willing to follow Jafar because he provides for them when Jasmine’s father did not? Things just got very complicated.
The thing that really baffles me is why Braswell chose to write this story first. I liked the character histories that she filled in, but I don’t feel like the main story line really fit right. It was a nice idea, but it was too much of a change.
“Once Upon a Dream”: The first part of the story happens as we remember it…but Aurora doesn’t remember it that way. She has no idea that her parents aren’t bad, that the trio of fairies who raised her aren’t evil, that Maleficent isn’t her savior, who the Prince is…or that she’s asleep in a dream world. Things just got very complicated.
This book has to be my favorite in the series so far. I never even stopped to wonder if anything was going on in the princess’ head after she pricked her thumb on that thimble. I can really see Braswell’s dream world as a canon idea. It’s a good balance between Disney’s story and hers, and between wonderfully magical and completely creepy.
“As Old as Time”: Belle has no memories of her mother…and neither does anyone else. Her life comes to a crashing halt when she is trapped inside a magical castle with the Prince-Beast that her mother cursed years ago. Can they find Belle’s mother before they’re trapped forever? Things just got very complicated.
I haven’t finished this book yet, but I can already tell that this one is Braswell’s most complicated work. I feel like she was finally able to achieve a tight connection between the story we know well, her own twists, and the character backgrounds that she created. I hesitate to say that I had more fun learning about Belle’s parents than her own story…but that might have been what Braswell was intending to happen.
So there’s my two cents. I’m going to go finish the last book now, and then I’m going to go watch some Disney movies to recapture the real stories of my childhood.
Feel free to share any other opinions you have on Braswell’s series if you’ve read her books.