"A strange imprisonment...
Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage.
When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, "Cannot a Beast be tamed?"
Robin McKinley's beloved telling illuminates the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple, Beauty and the Beast."
Yes, this is indeed a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. You can obviously see it in the title, the cover, and the synopsis. Without telling spoilers, I can easily tell you that it is a much kinder tale than Cruel Beauty. Also, it follows the original fairy tale more closely than most retellings. The difference? A few plot changes, plus dialogue. Oh, I forget. A few character developments. I can't forget about that either.
Oh, yeah. There are three dimensional characters, unlike those twits in the Middle Ages-themed fairy tales. Beauty is a book-loving girl, not too different from readers like you and me (unless you just randomly stumble upon my review). The Beast, for one, remains to be a good friend of Beauty. Yes, there is something more than friends. But sadly (or for most of the book) he lives in the friendzone. And there is something just romantic about him when he says that he couldn't live without Beauty literally. (Just reminds me of the quote from Cruel Beauty, which is probably inspired by the Bible. "Where he goes, I will go. When he dies, I will die; there I will be buried." It is just beautiful).
Beauty is one interesting character. We can easily relate to her, because we all think we are awkward ugly ducklings. And we all love to read. Plus, we do love a Beast (wink, wink). However, I doubt I would keep him in the friendzone.
The plot follows along the fairy tale. You just have to read Wikipedia to find out what this book is about and what is it like. Even with dialogues and character development, Beauty is still good. Better, even. It is better than the short fairy tale unless you hate to read long, long, long books of around two hundred to three hundred pages.
The writing and the descriptions are awesome. I never really liked a mostly blank fairy tale of one to two dimensions. All books need some color. Robin McKinley certainly added good amounts of color to Beauty.
Oh, I should also mention that Beauty and the Beast (the movie) might be slightly similar to the book, but neither fairy tale nor movie are closely matched to the book.
Best moment: The moment before the Beast turns back into a human. It is always the best part, because you get a bunch of tears from beauty. I think the friendzone parts are in the runner up positions though. Those are pretty amazing moments, also.
Rating: Four out of Five