Sunday, October 9, 2011

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley

This much-loved retelling of the classic French tale Beauty and the Beastelicits the familiar magical charm, but is more believable and complex than the traditional story. In this version, Beauty is not as beautiful as her older sisters, who are both lovely and kind. Here, in fact, Beauty has no confidence in her appearance but takes pride in her own intelligence, her love of learning and books, and her talent in riding. She is the most competent of the three sisters, which proves essential when they are forced to retire to the country because of their father's financial ruin.
The plot follows that of the renowned legend: Beauty selflessly agrees to inhabit the Beast's castle to spare her father's life. Beauty's gradual acceptance of the Beast and the couple's deepening trust and affection are amplified in novel form. Robin McKinley's writing has the flavor of another century, and Beauty heightens the authenticity as a reliable and competent narrator.

My Review:

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We all know the story of Beauty and the Beast. This tale is told from Beauty's POV. Her real name is Honor, and she is the third daughter of a wealthy merchant. When her father looses all they have to a failed business venture, they move up north to start over. But one day, her father has to go back to their old home town for a ship has come back. And on his way back to the family, he gets lost in a blizzard. He happens upon the Beast's castle. After staying the night, the old merchant takes a rose for Beauty since he was unable to get her anything in the city. For the theft of the rose, the Beast demands Beauty to come and live with him. Beauty willingly goes, but regrets it as every night the Beast asks her to marry him. She knows that there is something wrong, that this isn't "normal", but will she find out in time to save the Beast?

This beautiful retelling of the classic story is given new life by Robin McKinley. Beauty is a selfless character who loves her family,but feels awkward as the "ugly" daughter. She is a hard worker, but has an extreme love for books (Thus another reason for this avid reader to love this character!).

For me, though, the Beast is my favorite character. Unlike some B & B stories where Beauty changes the Beast, the Beast has already changed in this story. He is repentant for what he has done, but is still waiting for the right girl to release him from his curse. He is gentle and kind, and only desires to be human again, but who wouldn't after centuries of being a beast?

I really love Bessie and Lydia... think of the cutest (most annoying) older busy-buddy, and make them invisible (but you can still hear them), and that is what you have in Bessie and Lydia. They are hilarious!

I absolutely love this story. The magic of this novel is unlike any that I have read before or after. It is a perfectly blended piece of work that leads you to want to read it over and over again. I've been reading it since I was in middle school, and it is my go-to novel when my life is in the dumps. That should say how great it is... I've been reading this book over and over for 15 years!

Love this book, highly recommend it, and can't wait to see what Robin McKinley is going to write next!

Happy Reading!



  1. Great review! There are a few Beauty and the Beast retellings, but I've heard the most favourable things about this one. I still haven't read a Robin McKinley book and I really want to. It sounds like she's a great writer.

  2. I have been wanting to read this for a really long time. Thanks for the great review, it sounds like a would really like this one!

  3. Great review lov beauty and the beast one of my fav tales


Thank you for wanting to comment... I'll promise I'll do my best to respond to all of you!