Sunday, 26 April 2009

Beauty by Robin McKinley

I am a big fan of Disney movies. There I've said it. Now that we have that cleared up, let me introduce you to Robin McKinley's Beauty: a retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast.

Being a huge fan of Robin McKinley's adult fiction, Sunshine, I was pretty excited when I came across her young adult novel Beauty.

Whether you openly admit that you still watch Disney movies or not, most of you know the story of Beauty and the Beast. However in McKinley's version, Beauty is the unfortunate nickname of young plain girl who lacks the beauty and grace that her older sisters' possess, but who has an amorous love for books and animals.

After Beauty's father's business in the city collapses, the family is forced to move away to a country town that borders an enchanted forest. One day, when Beauty's father goes back to the city to salvage what he can of his business, Beauty asks that he bring her back rose seeds. However when her father picks the rose from near the enchanted castle that the Beast living in the castle becomes outraged and gives the father an ultimatum: that he return to the castle within the month and be killed for his intrusion or that he send one of his daughters to live with the Beast forever.

The story is very well written with a good combination of humour, romance and fantasy. The characters are very realistic and it's a pleasure reading and watching how the relationship between Beauty and the Beast unfolds.

However, I was rather a little disappointed with one aspect of the story. While the storyline was good it didn't deviate much from the original story of Beauty and the Beast. And I think McKinley waffled on a bit too much and that it took too long for McKinley to get to the heart of the story. But it didn't put me off the book completely; it's still a worthy read.

If you've read the book let me know your thoughts,

Peace out,



Anonymous said...

I am 15 years old and I love this book, it is romantic and beautifully written. I am really sorry, but I have to disagree with you about it sticking too much to the original fairy tale of beauty and the beast. I found that one of the book's most refreshing qualities, as (perhaps due to my age) my idea of the story is completely based around the Disney interpretation because I had never been told the original. I think that for teenage/young adult readers it is fabulous, although I must admit it, I do still love the Disney version.

Rafah said...

Haha you are entitled to your opinion so no need to apologise! I'm glad you liked it! I just found it very slow to get into and I think that put me off the most. Funnily enough though, McKinley did go on to write a different version of Beauty and the Beast called "Rose Daughter" and it's quite different. We don't have a copy of it at CCLC but you can place a hold on it from our catalogue if you like.
And yeah, I think Disney version remains the best :)

Anonymous said...

I've read the book many times over and over again, word for word. McKinley gave Beauty a credible character any reader could relate to, and that was one of the reasons I loved the book so much. The idea that as long as you do what you love, one day you'll grow into the beauty you are inside, and all will be well. No, I'm not a romantic at heart, I just like Honour/Beauty. :)

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