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