The Ghost of Gaston Parts I, II, III, IV, & V
Reading this story is like watching a time-lapse video of a slug melting. It's not finished yet; why it was ever undertaken is a complete mystery to me. The characterization is so bad that I wonder if the author actually watched the movie, or if she was just walking in and out of the room when it was playing. The story, what little there is of it, doesn't ring true, and the spelling mistakes and bad sentence structures littered throughout would make an English teacher spontaneously combust.
This story features that old chestnut of fan fiction: bringing an indisputably dead character back for your own purposes (except he's actually dead this time, hence the title.) He comes to Belle in a dream and tells her that he still wants her. Of course, she's just mortified by this. This brings the servants, her father, and the Prince to her room.
Although Belle wasn't usually the type to be really scared of nightmares, everyone believed that what had happened to her had just been a bad dream, but the prince agreed to stay with her for the rest of the night anyway to keep her company.
Riiiight. The Prince was just asking to be turned into a wimpy surrogate parent with the average intelligence of a character in a bad horror movie.
We pick up with Gaston in the village as he recounts what happened in the movie. In the old familiar tavern, where the Bimbettes just haven't gotten over his organs being turned to pizza, he receives a mysterious message from a Mr. Demone (way to be subtle! Where are Mr. Helle and Mrs. Satana?) telling him to look for a glowing cottage in the woods [Note: if you're in the woods,and you see a cottage, and it's glowing, check your water supply for lead.]
Anyway, Gaston finds the cottage and meets Snidely Whiplash... sorry... he meets Mr. Demone, who gives him a some magical objects and instructions on how to use them -- it's some gibberish about removing Belle's soul. Mr. Demone obviously has motives of his own, but you won't care one way or the other. After another absolutely nauseating desecration of the Prince's character...
She was all ready for bed when her Prince came and knocked on her door. "Belle?" he called, "Are you going to be all right by yourself tonight?" "Yes, I'll be fine." replied Belle. She was determined not to let Gaston scare her so much. After all, he couldn't touch her, and she wasn't scared of him when he was alive. Why should he scare her now? The Prince kissed her tenderly and held her tight, as if he might lose her. In her Prince's arms, Belle felt much more relaxed. Then the Prince fled off to his own bed chambers, and Belle was alone.
...Gaston comes and removes Belle's soul. The next morning, the Prince and Mrs. Potts come in and see the state Belle is in. Try to read the following without vomiting:
"Belle! Oh, Belle!" The Prince's eyes blurred with tears as he tenderly caressed her. As he pressed her body against his own, he felt a faint heartbeat. She was miraculously still alive. Behind him, he heard a gasp. He turned to see Mrs. Potts standing in the door. He slowly stood up and looked at her with a tear stained face. "She's not breathing!" he exclaimed. Mrs. Potts was stunned. She had grown to love Belle like her own child.
"Then we must send for a doctor at once!" she exclaimed, struggling to keep her composure.
The Prince nodded in agreement. "Watch over her Mrs. Potts. I'm going to the village!"
"But Master, you haven't been to the village since before the spell was cast!"
"I'll take Phillipe, Belle's horse. He'll know the way!"
Actually, that thing about Mrs. Potts's love for Belle makes perfect sense. It's pretty much the only thing that DOES make sense here.
So the Prince takes Phillipe to the village and, in a scene with all the depth of a John Hughes movie, goes to the tavern to seek help. The Bimbettes attempt to hit on him, but he gets directions to a doctor who rides with him back to the castle.
The doctor went to work examining Belle's limp body as everyone watched intensely looking for the slightest sign of life in her. Soon, the doctor turned to speak with the Prince. "It's the strangest thing I've ever seen." he said. "At first glance I thought she was dead for sure for she is not breathing at all and her face is ashen, but the girl still has a pulse. It's as if by some miracle her heart refuses to quit. I never would've thought it possible."
"Can you help her?" asked the Prince in desperation.
"I'm afraid not. I really don't know what to tell you... This is a most bizarre illness indeed." the doctor replied solumly.
The Prince felt completely torn apart. Doing something he hadn't done since the enchantment on him had been broken by Belle's love, he threw back his head and howled a heartbroken cry that came from the very bottom of his soul.
That's where it ends. Apparently, the author is going to revise it. Why bother? It's already a disaster.
First off, let me just say that this review doesn't seek to embarrass anybody. Lostillusion.net is a well-made webpage and the women who run it kick ass. They were kind enough to accept some Beauty and the Beast poetry that I submitted. But there's a role-playing game on that site that must be taken apart. It's necessary to the survival of the entire universe that I do this.
There's enough angst in Hearts Ablaze to kill Trent Reznor. The people writing this story seem intent on making Belle suffer, psychologically and physically. Try reading "Belle's Fever" and "A Walk In The Garden" (something to that effect). They even dangle the prospect of the Prince changing back and forth between human and animal, but never permanently (that would make Belle happy, and we can't have that, can we?) I kept waiting for him to say, "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry... " Since it's a role-playing game, they're just going to go on... and on... and on... and on.
Unfortunately, the story doesn't make sense. If you, the reader, love Beauty and the Beast, this is going to piss you off. Of course, it's just fan fiction so it really doesn't matter, but it exists, and even that is too much.
They decided to ignore the ending of Beauty and the Beast. The Beast is not transformed into the Prince. Seems an evil sorceress cast some kind of spell to prevent this from happening (gosh, don't you just love it when the people who made the movie forget to tell you these things?) This is my main complaint. The story happened. You can't just ignore that for your own purposes. There was no Sorceress at the end of Beauty and the Beast. I know happy endings are just so cliche nowadays, but at the end, it's perfectly obvious that Belle and the Prince have truly found happiness and love in each other.
Unfortunately, Hearts Ablaze could have been so much more than the huge waste of space it is. I wish I could cite an excerpt of its wrong-headedness, but there are just too many examples. Uninteresting characters. Anachronistic language. A generally abusive attitude towards the characters to which the page is dedicated. I just don't get it.