{Review/Giveaway} BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: LOST IN A BOOK by Jennifer Donnelly

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O P E N I N G   L I N E:

    ONCE UPON FOREVER, in an ancient, crubling palace, two sisters, Love and Death, played their eternal game.
    Death was mistress of the palace, and any mortal who journeyed to its rusted gates never returned. Her face was as pale as a shroud; her hair as dark as midnight. She wore a black gown and a hunter's necklace of teeth, talons, and claws. Her emerald eyes narrowed as she contemplated the chessboard before her. 
    "It's your move," said Love. 
    "I'm quite aware of that," said Death.
    "Tick-tock," said Love. 
    "Only folls rush Death," said Death.
    Sighing, Love rose from the table where she and Death were seated. Her eyes were the same deep green as her sister's. Silvery blond hair tumbled down her back. Her dark skin was set off by a gown of white. Her only adornment was a necklace of twining willow branches. Shimmering beetles, bright butterflies, and dusky spiders clung to it, each a living jewel.
    A tall mirror stood against a wall in the great hall where the sisters played, its silver frame mottled with tarnish. Love waved her hand over the glass and an image appeared. It showed a dining room--once grand, now ruined. Outside the room's mullioned windows, snow fell. Inside, a tormented creature--half-man, half-animal--paced. Back and forth he went, casting longing glances at the door. His eyes were fierce, but in their depths, haunted.

(pgs. 1-2, US hardcover edition)

    "Belle didn't know whether to feel scared or thrilled. And then she saw something--something spidery and black crouching in the shadow between Nevermore's cover and its pages. It darted out of the book and crawled up a wall. Another scurried up the side of the desk. A third jumped onto a bookshelf

...What are they? she wondered warily. Bugs? Mice?

The cover opened wider...and Belle's wariness turned to wonder as she saw what it was. Not an insect or a rodent, but a word.

She knelt down and put her hand on the floor, palm up. EAGER jumped onto it. OAF ran over her toes. CERTAIN chased DUBIOUS around the room. PRECIOUS and EXQUISITE shoved each other.

The room was filling up with words. They spilled out of the book like water tumbling down a streambed. They curled around her ankles and tugged on the hem of her skirt."


If you're a huge fan of Disney's version of Beauty and the Beast, LOST IN A BOOK is going to be your new best friend. Were you enamored with Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas? I admit it: I was. It's one of my favorite Disney sequel movies. I loved that it took place before the curse broke and introduced us to more of the palace magic. LOST IN A BOOK does the same thing.

As the story opens, readers are dropped into a chess game between eternal sisters Love and Death. The two are constantly at war and waging bets with one another. This time, they're betting on whether or not Belle will break the curse and if the Beast can change. Death really doesn't want to lose, so she slips a book called Nevermore into Beast's library for Belle to stumble upon.

In the timeline of Beauty and the Beast, Beast has just saved Belle from the wolves and has now gifted her his gorgeous library. Belle and her household friends clean up all the dust and grime, and when Belle is finally alone in the library, she discovers an enchanted book called Nevermore, one that lets her step into its pages and promises her a world of everything she could ever want: Knowledge, Travel, even life with her father. It promises an easy escape from the Beast and his cursed castle. But Belle has no clue that she's writing herself into a cursed story until it's too late....

This was such a fun addition to the Disney canon! I love that there are little bits and drabbles from the original movie thrown in, such as how Belle thought when she was gifted the library, vicious reminders of the encounter with the wolves, etc. We get to see more of Beast's personality begin peeking through, too. He makes jokes with Chip, he learns to laugh at himself, he genuinely cares about Belle and her interests. Even better, he's a scholar himself and has read a lot of the books in the library! Belle needs an intellectual like herself in a significant other, and the fact that they love some of the same books helps endear Beast to her. And it also showcases the havoc the curse is wreaking on everyone, from Cogsworth and his creaking, faltering old-man gears to Lumi√®re, whose humanity is being rubbed out of his appearance as he turns more and more into an ordinary candlestick.

I also really enjoyed the opening encounter with sisters Love and Death. Plus, the way the book opens--ONCE UPON FOREVER?? How fun is that! So much better than once upon a time, right? The ending reflects this playful change on a familiar theme as well, though I won't say more because spoilers. I loved seeing the game the Sisters played, and the descriptions were stunning. A few of them may be a little scary for younger kids:


The knight advanced. The pawn raised her hands, begging for her life, but the knight, unmoved by her pleas, swung his sword and lopped off her head. China shards flew everywhere. The pretty head rolled across the board, its eyes still blinking.


Checkmate...As Love and Death watched, the queen offered the king a kiss. Surprised by so sweet a mercy, the king embraced the queen. A second later, he crumpled to the board, a dagger sticking out of his back.

There are a couple of similar lines later in the novel during a battle scene. It's a little scary, a little creepy, but not too bad in comparison to other children's novels for the same age group! But at the same time, it makes the story more interesting and captured my attention right away!

The dedication states the book is for every girl who wants to write her own story because, literally, Death's trick is helping Belle write the story she always dreamed of experiencing for herself. What would you do if you found a book that could grant your every hope and dream and wish? If everything you ever dreamed of suddenly came true or was possible? You'd want to stay forever, right? Sometimes, you want something so much, you can't see that it might just be too good to be true, that danger lurks in the corner. So, too, is Belle captured up in her dream, never seeing the enchanted book of Nevermore for what it truly is.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: LOST IN A BOOK is a captivating adventure that explores wishes and hopes and dreams, that brings a new adventure to our beloved Disney friends, that appeals to book lovers and dreamers everywhere. This is a book that transcends age, one that adults and children alike will be rushing to pick up!


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: --
Language: --
Violence: G ( TA couple slightly scary scenes for young kids where Death and Love are playing chess and a Pawn's head is cut off and rolls across the board and a King is stabbed in the back, as well as a scene later where a couple automations are decapitated with moving eyes. )
Other:  --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

You IMMEDIATELY know this is a Beauty and the Beast book, one set in the world of Belle no less! AND it has Beast's breath-taking library front and center. It's Belle's favorite, and any booklover's as well! 

Plus, look at that swirl of magic! An adventure is coming!!!

I was captivated the moment I saw this cover and intrigued to learn a little more!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Release Date: Jan. 31, 2017
Publisher: Disney Press
Received: Borrowed


An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, LOST IN A BOOK follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. There, Belle is befriended by a mysterious countess who offers her the life she’s always dreamed of. 

But Nevermore is not what it seems, and the more time Belle spends there, the harder it is to leave. Good stories take hold of us and never let us go, and once Belle becomes lost in this book, she may never find her way out again. 

This deluxe hardcover novel expands upon the beautiful story and world seen in the new Walt Disney Studios' film, Beauty and the Beast.


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