Beauty by Robin McKinley

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Genre: Fairy tale re-telling
Rating: 4.5 stars

Review:This was a lovely fairy tale re-telling for sure! I immediately fell in love with the story of Beauty and the Beast all over again. This is mainly because the author, Robin McKinley, was able to re-create an old, familiar tale with such respect and honesty while still being able to add her own personal touches to make it his own. One example of this would be what she did with Beauty's characterization. Her personality and ways were so on-point; I honestly would not change a thing the author did while re-creating her as a character.

Her prose, also, was quite fluid and flowed effortlessly. I just wanted to read her writing all day and all night, never wanting to stop. I just knew I wouldn't get bored. I also loved the fact that it was perfectly paced - fast enough not to get bored, but slow enough for the readers to appreciate what's going on.

However, there were a few misses for me. At times, I felt as if the author followed too closely to the original tale of Beauty and the Beast. I understand that this is a re-telling and not a "re-hashing," but I sort of expected some kind of freshness and newness to it. I felt like I was reading the short tale instead, all over again, and didn't feel like I was getting anything new from this version.
I also have to say that while Beauty's characterization was great, I thought the Beast's was lacking a bit. I felt like the story went by too quickly - too fast that as a reader, I wasn't able to fully see why we should fall in love with him.

Overall though, despite the minor flaws, I still enjoyed this book a lot. It was such a nice change to read something like this - I literally felt like I was a kid again, reading a classic fairy tale. And just for that, I have to say what McKinley did was superb. After all, at the end of the day, it's the reading experience that truly counts the most.

Thanks to Allie and La Coccinelle for recommending this to me.


  1. Meh, I saw it around but it never really appealed to me. And true, it is the reading experience that matters most after all.

  2. I loved this one. I bet you'll dig the movie since I heard it veers from the book a bit.

  3. Even though I love fairy tale retellings, I never picked this one up. There are an abundance of Beauty & the Beast books that I've read and enjoyed...but for some reason this one never made it to my to-read list. Good to know it's done well, even if it doesn't add anything unique to the story.

  4. I love retellings and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite Disney movies. ;)Great review.

  5. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    I agree that sometimes McKinley fails in fully developing some of her characters. She's gotten better over the years, but she still isn't the best at it. That being said, I really love her writing style. so lyrical!

  6. Great review. This is something I recently heard about (after reading Robin's Pegasus) and I've wanted to read it ever since. Now I'm gonna move it up on the TBR list a bit! :-)

  7. Aly - Interesting how we all have such different reading tastes :) I absolutely love fairy tale/myth/legend re-tellings so I loved this one!

    Juju - Ohh I didn't know there was a movie! I will look into that.

    Lizzy - This is my very first Beauty and the Beast re-telling, so I was excited to dig into it. If you have any more re-telling recommendations, please let me know!

    Nina - The Little Mermaid would be my favorite, but I love Beauty/Belle's character! She's a reader after all! :)

    Allie - Thanks for recommending this to me! I really enjoyed reading it. Oh and btw, thank you for letting me realize that Robin M. is a she. I feel so bad that I assumed the author was a he :/

    ham1299 - I have never read Pegasus yet but I want to, now that I've read Beauty. Plus Pegasus' cover is lovely!

  8. That cover is exactly why I read Pegasus! LOL I saw it at the library, and HAD to read it. It's pretty good, but obviously the first in a series. You can tell that it's setting the stage for future action, and the first 2/3 or so is quite slow. But, then the action picks up. I couldn't read the end fast enough! (Book 2 better not be too long in coming!)

  9. I've always wanted to read this and never have! I'm glad to see you like it. :)

  10. ham1299 - Haha. It is gorgeous though, isn't it?? Thanks for the mini review for me by the way ;) I think I will definitely pick it up.

    Sarah - I recommend it if you enjoy classic fairy tale re-tellings :) It's simple yet lovely.