Friday, July 29, 2011

BEAUTY by Robin McKinley

The Blurb:

A strange imprisonment.

Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage.

When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, "Cannot a Beast be tamed?"

The Afterglow:

When I went to Borders yesterday to take advantage of the liquidation sale, I saw this book sitting on the shelf and immediately picked it up. It had been recommended to me before, and Beauty and the Beast is my favorite story ever told. My favorite version is the French tale, and I knew this book was a retelling of that.

What I didn't know was how much I would enjoy it.

Not only did it beautifully retell the story I know and love so well, it went into far more detail than I was used to, and I loved it! I loved learning more about the enchantments and the Beasts' family history from McKinley's point of view, and I loved the twists she added to the story. For example, in the original tale Beauty's sisters are vain and selfish, while in BEAUTY they are kind and selfless.

The twist I loved the most was the fact the Beauty herself is not beautiful. She is very plain looking at the beginning of the book, and is constantly avoiding her reflection in the mirror. I have always felt a kinship with Beauty, but I couldn't get over the fact that she was so beautiful and I didn't see myself that way. Reading this book from her point of view, I could relate to all of her insecurities, and it made me fall in love with the story all over again.



  1. Fabulous review! I love how you felt you could relate more to the Beauty character in this retelling than the original. That says a lot about this book. This is to-read on goodreads now. Thanks!

  2. I really like many of Robin McKinley's books. When one strikes a chord with me, it tends to be a very powerful one.

  3. I liked Beauty quite a bit, but I liked her second take, Rose Daughter, so much better. I believe that's a minority view though...

  4. In my experience, Fairy tale retellings are a gamble--but this book is one of the good ones.