Sunday, 18 August 2013

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Title: Beauty
Author: Robin McKinley
Published by: Corgi Children's
Publication date: 6th January 2011
Pages: 272
Genres: Children's/Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Beauty has never lived up to her name. Pale, thin and awkward, she has no interest in pretty gowns or handsome suitors, and spends her days lost in the books that are her most treasured friends.

But all that is about to change. For when Beauty's father loses his way in the dark forest and finds himself in the clutch of a terrible Beast, Beauty becomes entangled in a story more bewitching than any she has ever read: one of bitter revenge, dangerous magic, a powerful curse and of a love so transcendent that it can reveal the true beauty in everything.

Why on earth didn't I discover this book when I was younger? I'm pretty sure that if I had read this when I was 10 or 11, I would have become a big fan of Robin McKinley and enjoyed the book even more than I did.

The story itself is pretty simple. This re-telling of Beauty and the Beast is given a new life with Beauty herself as the narrator. There were a lot of interesting twists and turns in this re-telling which is good because if it had been exactly the same as the original, I would have put it down straight away. Luckily, this was completely different. I'll be honest, I'm not really a fan of fairy tales anymore. I prefer re-tellings! Robin McKinley is a very gifted writer, with an intelligent and elegant writing style that leaves you waiting to read what happens next. She has a knack for creating something new, yet still showing pieces from the original. I didn't expect to like this book, but it was really fun to read! She's really good at portraying each character's feelings - this is definitely one of her best works.

In this version of the story, Beauty doesn't live up to her name as she is not very beautiful. Her real name is Honour (to go with Grace and Hope, the names of her sisters) but then she changed it to Beauty. One of the things I love about this story is that Beauty loves books and reading, and one of the things Beauty likes about Beast is his massive library. Not enough books include characters who enjoy reading! Another thing I liked was that Robin McKinley included family. The family is quite close and I think that makes the story a lot better.

To conclude, this was a very good book that I enjoyed, but I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more had I read it a few years ago. Everything is well described and there were some truly magical moments, but sadly I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have. For that reason, I am giving this book a rating of 3.5/5.


  1. I really liked this book. I agree that if I'd read it when I was younger I would have loved it more, but I felt it was a pretty good retelling of Beauty and the Beast.


  2. Great review Amber! I'm usually hesitant to read re-tellings but I love that this one had the right balance of originality but was still true to 'beauty and the beast'. I also like that the main character isn't beautiful and that she loves reading. You've got me quite intrigued and I'll definitely have to keep 'Beauty' in mind when looking for something to read :)

    - Sunny @ A Sunny Spot Blog

    1. Thank you, Sunny! If you get to read Beauty, I really hope you enjoy it.

  3. It is really annoying when you wish that you read a book when you were younger. I read Me, Susy P a few weeks ago and I really wish that it was released when I was about 11 *sigh* But I'm glad you enjoyed Beauty!

    I've only read one good fairy re-telling and all the others have not been very good. YAY FOR CHARACTERS WHO LIKE READING :D Great review!

    1. Oh I think I remember reading that in your review! I was thinking about reading Me, Suzy P but maybe not now.

      Thank you Zoe! :)

  4. Ive not experienced reading a book I'd have liked when I was younger. I do love Beauty! Its somewhere on my blog, I just went and reread it. I too enjoyed Beauty's love of reading! I had an issue with Beast's magic, apart from that this is a definite keeper.

    1. Ooh I haven't seen your review, will go and have a look now! Thanks Jessica :)

  5. I love Robin McKinley books and read and read them over and over. I don't quite understand this idea of enjoying a book more if you'd read it younger though, will have to think about that.

    1. I meant that her books tend to be aimed at readers a bit younger than myself and I know I would have enjoyed it a lot more had I been in her target audience. Thanks for your comment, Jax. :-)