Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Review for Beauty by Robin McKinley

"When the family business collapses, Beauty and her two sisters are forced to leave the city and begin a new life in the countryside. However, when their father accepts hospitality from the elusive and magical Beast, he is forced to make a terrible promise - to send one daughter to the Beast's castle, with no guarantee that she will be seen again. Beauty accepts the challenge, and there begins an extraordinary story of magic and love that overcomes all boundaries." I’m a big fan of the story of Beauty and the Beast and have read and watched countless re-telling’s of it as well as the original fairy-tale and Disney movie. So despite not enjoying one of Robin McKinley’s previous books Sunshine I was willing to give this author another try what with me loving Beauty and the Beast and all and I hate to say that I was left disappointed again. The book takes a long time to get going with the Beast not even coming into it until we’re over 100 pages in. Before that point I considered giving up on it numerous times as like with Sunshine I wasn’t enjoying Robin McKinley’s writing style at all but decided to be fair and wait until the Beast came along hoping that then things would pick up and I’d be reminded of why I love this classic tale so much and whilst it did pick up to some extent it wasn’t enough for me to enjoy it. The main problem I have is with Robin McKinley’s writing style. What makes a book good for me is definitely the characters and interaction between them but Robins characters have very little dialog instead the pages are filled with what the characters are doing and thinking. Because there was little talk between Beauty and her Beast I wasn’t ever really convinced of their growing love and friendship instead we’re told it happens without any evidence really shown to support it. With the lack of dialog a lot of time is spent inside Beauty’s head and as I didn’t like her very much this was another reason why the book wasn’t enjoyable for me. Robin McKinley defeats one of the main reasons why I and so many people love this story. Beauty and the Beast is supposed to be a story about how beauty isn’t skin deep and instead Robin creates Beauty to be the most frustrating character I have ever come across. She refuses to wear pretty dresses because she doesn’t feel like she deserves them because she’s too plain, and when the Beast turns into a handsome prince she feels she can’t marry him because she is unattractive and therefore underserving of such a handsome husband it is only when the Beast leads her to a mirror showing her how beautiful she has become during her time at the castle that she finally feels like she deserves her happy ending with the now handsome prince. I’m sorry but what? Does that not just defeat everything the classic tale stands for? The only thing that made this book readable for me was the Beast I thought he was an interesting character and came to feel rather sorry for him and his lonely years spent in the castle. I also liked the fantasy world Robin McKinley created for the backdrop of this story and was intrigued by all the magical goings on in this world. I’m sad to say that the only reason I finished this book was because it was so short. By the time I decided it wasn’t going to get any better for me I was already half way through and figured I may as well finish it. This book for me didn’t capture what this classic tale is all about something that I believe is important with any re-telling which in this case are the beautiful epic romance and the lesson that it’s what’s inside that counts. That isn’t to say that I don’t think other people would enjoy it. I’m sure a lot of people will appreciate the magical fantasy world and whilst Robins writing style isn’t what I personally enjoy there’s no denying that she’s a very successful writer. All of her books sound wonderful and I know she has many fans out there but unfortunately her books just don’t seem to sit well with me. As a die-hard Beauty and the Beast fan I can’t say that I would recommend this book but if you’re a fan of Robin McKinley’s other books chances are you’re going to enjoy this one too. I hope that if you do decide to pick this up that you enjoy it more than I did. My Rating 2/5 stars ** Thanks go to Random House for sending me this book for review Synopsis taken from Amazon


  1. Good to know. This could have been a book that picked up to read. But now I might want to turn my attention elsewhere. Thanks for the review!

  2. Thanks for the review! I have not heard about this book, but I don't think I will pick it up.


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