Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast

Beauty by Robin McKinley, is not your average fairytale. You see, in average fairytales, you read them quite swiftly & there is little time to truly know the characters. You love Beauty, because she is the heroine. You eventually love Beast, because Beauty does.

In this retelling, that is how things work. You cannot breeze through the book, because it's so packed with detail that you have take time to enjoy it properly. Her descriptions are so well written, that you almost feel like you are seeing the dresses Beast sends to Beauty's sisters. You feel like you can see the fateful rose that leads to this odd arrangement. You feel like you can see the sorrow in Beasts eyes, each time Beauty says "no."

The general outline remains true to the original. Beauty's father becomes lost on a journey, finds his way to an enchanted castle, where he's waited on hand & foot. When morning comes & he sets out for home, he sees a rosebush and remembers a promise to bring back rose seeds for Beauty. Thinking that a single rose will have to do, he plucks it, incurring the wrath of Beast. Beast demands that he go home, but return in one month alone or with a daughter. The catch? The daughter must choose to come of her own accord.

The truly beautiful thing about this novel, is that you grow to love Beast as much as Beauty. The time is taken to let the reader understand him better. And as the novel progresses, despite knowing full well how it ends, you find yourself cheering on the relationship, and cringing each time it fails. When the end does come, and it is of course happily ever after, we are happy for all, but sad that the book has ended.

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