A great book! I read the first version of Robin McKinley's Beauty & Beast with "Beauty" that she wrote in the 70s - which was fantastic! In reading this tale that she wrote about 10 years ago - it was just as great. There were some common elements, but they were so small that it did not detract from this telling of the story. This story was just as unique and had some more magical and enchanted elements to it. It also gave Beauty the choice at the end - keep the Beast as is, or change him into the handsome man. It was just a great, heart-warming story about magic and love. I highly recommend it!
This was a beautifully written book, full of flowing prose and vivid descriptions. Unfortunately, the flowing prose and vivid descriptions kept me from easily following the plot. I was really looking forward to reading this book, because I love Robin McKinley, and I loved Beauty (written 20+ years ago). To be honest, though, I still like Beauty much more than this version. While I enjoyed reading this book, I don't think she gave enough interaction between Beauty and the Beast to make me believe that they fell in love. I miss the Beauty who is a bookworm and has a beloved horse. I miss the helpful "ghosts" and Gervain and Melinda and the other characters. I miss an ending that I can really understand. Hmmmmm, I think I'll go read Beauty again.
I heard from someone once that this book is more popular with gardeners and adults, whereas Beauty is more for children. I liked Beauty better, though possibly because I read it first. I adore all books by Robin McKinley, but I have to say that I don't think her endings are very good...
Trying to describe something as complex and hauntingly beautiful as Rose Daughter is a remarkably hard thing to have to do. It takes your breath away with all the beautiful descriptions. It stays in your thoughts long after you've finished and will leave you wishing for more. Ms. McKinley has really outdone herself here. There is really only one way to describe a book like this...
I liked McKinley's Beauty better than this retelling, however this is nothing like that one. I was afraid it would be the same story with minor variations, but it really is very different and with a much more evolved writing style (Beauty was her first novel). Definately a good read.
A sweet retelling of her original, but Beauty will always be my favorite. A little too much emphasis on gardening, I suppose, but the ending was satisfying to me since it focused so heavily on loving someone for who they really are on the inside and not focusing on the outward.
Between Rose Daughter and Beauty, this ending was better.
Excellent book. I'm pretty surprised an author wrote a new version of a story she'd already handled before, but she pulled it off quite well. The characters, story, setting, pace, all were quite what I needed. I don't find that McKinley's books 'start in the middle' as some claim. The story builds layers of emotion into the storyline so that when something happens, it not only moves the plot along, but stirs eddies of emotional resonance for the reader. This book is in no big hurry to get anywhere; and I was in no big hurry to finish it. It was a good match for me.
My one quibble is the long drawn out discussions towards the end that sort of wrapped up the main questions and plotline in a way that felt a little hasty for the rest of the book. Well, whatever dreamland McKinley was in, I guess even there were publishing deadlines, lol.
What a great book! I read this one, then followed it with Beauty, her first retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast. I liked this book much better. I did think she spent some time making it much more in depth, and the details were more vivid. If you have the time and interest, read this one, and Beauty. If not, I'd say this is the better book!
Robin McKinley's second take at novelizing the tale of Beauty and the Beast has almost nothing in common with her earlier book, Beauty, other than the basic plot outline. This book is much more complex, harder to understand (some of its original plotlines aren't explained all that well), and not as heart-warming as Beauty. It gets a little too bogged down in the details and symbolism of gardening and the ending is abrupt and a little startling.
It's worth the read if you like fairy tale novels, but not my favorite of McKinley's books.
McKinley has another go at "Beauty and the Beast", after her novel "Beauty". This one darker and more complex, with lots of flowery prose and vivid imagery. So much so that the plot suffers from it - it's rather hard to tell towards the end what's happening. 3 sorcerers, and unicorns, and magical cats, good heavens. The end is the same: Beauty marries the Beast, although in this version one's imagination flinches away from how it's going to work.