Beauty – Robin McKinley

Beauty: a Retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast
by Robin McKinley
Genre: Adult Fiction
Form: Hardback Book

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?”
Robin McKinley’s beloved telling illuminates the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple: “Beauty and the Beast.”


I love the story of Beauty and the Beast. It was my long-standing favorite Disney film for forever. I think I like it mostly because I can relate to Beauty. Her love of books, hope of true romantic love, and down to earth-ness on many aspects of life. Anyhow, someone recommended Robin McKinley’s rendition of Beauty and the Beast to me after I read her book, Sunshine. It took me a while to get a hold of the book (I was waiting on a trade from, and then I just had many things on my to be read list that I just wanted to get to first…so it took me a while to get it. Reading Beauty on the skirt-tails of reading The Thirteenth Tale was perfect, because the authors have a very similar style. There are a lot of details in the writing style. It was a good combination for me.

I was captivated with this story from the start. Again, I think it was mostly because I knew the story, I knew what happened and was really excited to see it unfold. But then again, thinking about to reading Sunshine, I was captivated by that story too. It took me a long time to get into it, but once I was I cared about the characters and was excited for what happened. I think Robin McKinley must have a very unique writing style that does that. I cannot pinpoint exactly what it is that is so great. Maybe in some small way it IS all the details in her books that eventually slam into each other to make this wonderful story. Her books don’t have a lot of action. Well, Sunshine did closer to the end, but still yet, I found the book moved very slow. Her books are also not overly romantic. In fact, in both books I’ve read of hers, Robin McKinley has left me wanting – wanting MUCH MUCH more. More so with Sunshine than Beauty.

As a reader, I do like details, I like full stories with a wonderful happily ever after, I really like romance. I love perfect couples. Beauty did offer most of that to me. It wasn’t until after the book was done and read that I thought, “but what about…?” There were so many things that just didn’t get explained in my opinion. Things like, what DID Beast eat anyway, that probably really aren’t important details in the story, but ended up being important to me. I also wanted more love, more of a connection between the two. I’m afraid that Beast proposing every night to Beauty felt more like desperation than love. It felt like he just wanted to break the curse and move on rather than he was truly in love with her. But, on the other than, there was the scene where Beauty faints and Beast carries her. His tenderness at this, and her shock when she wakes up in his arms, was beautiful – and the most expressed love that I saw from Beast, outside of granting her a week with her family.

So I loved the book, and at the same time it was “eh, just okay” too. It’s weird to have two different opinions, and makes it even more difficult to write about it. It did get me thinking that I’d like to read a book from the Beast’s perspective, since most every rendition is from Beauty’s. A quick search on brought me to Beastly by Alex Flinn. I’ve never read anything by Alex, and am not sure how this will measure up to the usual story, but I’m sticking this on my TBR list and hoping for the best!


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