[review] Beauty by Robin McKinley

Honour has never liked her nickname, Beauty, because with two beautiful sisters to compare herself to, she knows she is not a beauty. But she is strong and she is brave, and when her father is forced into a deal with a devil, Beauty knows what she must do.

BeautyThis book was recommended to me by my friend Shannon who claimed it as her favourite book of all time. I’ve read very few Beauty and the Beast retellings, despite it being my favourite Disney movie, so it quickly found its way to the top of my tbr, and I quite enjoyed it.

It starts slow, but in a necessary sort of way, building the character of Beauty and her family, and showing the reader their relationship and fall from fortune. By the time the part of the story that most of us will recognize from the Disney movie begins, the reader has a solid grasp on all the characters, their motivations, their personalities, and you will love them.

The love story builds much in the same way, slowly and realistically. The reader lives Beauty’s emotions, but also has an outsider’s view, getting to feel the bittersweet role of cheerleader as you murmur “go on!” to the pages. It pushed all of my Labyrinth Sarah/Jareth and Once Upon a Time Belle/Rumpelstilskin buttons, so if you are a fan of either of those pairings, you will love this book.

I would love more stories in this world with these characters, especially in the castle. I felt like there was so much more to be discovered in the castle that wasn’t explored. Like, the book case. Guys, just wait until you read about this fantastic book case. My book nerd senses were tingling so hard.

My one issue with this book is the theme of beauty. I loved that Beauty wasn’t a beauty, and for me the ending left something to be desired on that aspect.

Books with similar aspects

Beast by Donna Jo Napoli

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

Ever by Gail Carson Levine

Recommended to fans of layered stories with rich characters and settings and fairy tale retellings

Not recommended to those looking for a lot of action or fast-paced adventure

Don’t just take my word for it!

“Unfortunately, I think I might have set my lever too high because where the other books managed to entice me, this one falls flat on its ass.” -Katya

“If someone asked me what book changed my life the most, this would without a doubt be the one.” – Shannon @ A Crystal Moon

“Fairy tales are becoming even more popular and there are new retellings coming out all the time in books and on TV, but Beauty definitely stands a notch above.” - YA Librarian Tales

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About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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5 Responses to [review] Beauty by Robin McKinley

  1. First of all, if you ever seen my Goodreads avatar (Avatar!), you’ll know how much I love Belle and Beauty and the Beast. I’ve had this book on my tbr for ages, and I’ve been hoping to read it this year. I wasn’t aware of this AWESOME book case…I can’t wait to read about it!

  2. Amanda says:

    Beauty is my favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling, and I’ve read a lot of them since I wrote a research paper on Beauty and the Beast. It’s actually pretty faithful to the original tale and it has this sort of quiet elegance about it. I love it! You might be interested to read Robin McKinley’s other Beauty and the Beast retelling, Rose Daughter. It’s pretty different but also very good.

  3. sanalith says:

    I always get a happy, tingly feeling when people read this book, especially if they end up enjoying it! :D I so wish McKinley had written another book about the castle servants, especially Beauty’s handmaidens. I adored them! And THAT BOOKCASE!! This is the book that made me swear that one day, I would be rich enough to afford a house that had a true library, even in it wasn’t as fantastic as this one! <333

  4. I absolutely adore fairytale retellings, so this sounds like a book that I’m definitely going to love. Beauty and the Beast is possibly one of my favorite stories of all time – so I can’t wait to check this out!

  5. Ohhhh I just love love love Beauty. And the bookcase was so wonderful to read about. Plus the way McKinley builds the world is so well-done.

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