Author: Robin McKinley
Beauty is one my personal favourites. It is one of the brightest, most intelligent, and enchanting works of fiction I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I've read it so many times that I've been through two paperback copies.
Beauty is a retelling of the classic French fairy tale La Belle et la Bete, written in Robin McKinley's visionary style from the perspective of the main character, Beauty. Beauty, despite her name, is described as incredibly plain in comparison to her beautiful sisters Grace and Hope. The story tracks the collapse of their family's fortunes in the city and their subsequent retirement to the country, where the events that lead up to Beauty's moving into the castle unfold.
Beauty is an entertaining, endearing character, her ever-intellectual voice becoming the background and colour for the mysterious world of the enchanted castle of the Beast. Beauty is meticulously told- and in other books, this can be an irritating trait; but here, it's gripping and, to borrow the book's vernacular, enchanting. McKinley blends just enough of the fantastic with reality to make the tale seem like something you heard as child, a beautiful fairy tale about the girl who went to save her family and tame the Beast.
From beginning to end, Beauty tells details in just enough colour and description to make you read through the next sentence to find out more about the world that she is living in. There are a few places that, as a fourteen year-old, I didn't understand her references (she refers to the Beast as The Minotaur, Yggdrasil, and Cerberus in some places; in another, she references King Cophetua), but that takes you inside her head all the more. Beauty is the intelligent, humble heroine that all of us want to meet someday in an an enchanted castle in the wood.
Unfortunately, Beauty is not available on eBooks yet (I am writing a strongly-worded letter), but you can find it in Barnes and Noble, Hastings, Border's, or Bookman's if you look in the fiction section. And I recommend that you do so today or tomorrow- this book is completely and totally worth the read, and it won't take you long, either. I once finished it, sighed, turned back to the first page, read it again, and completely enjoyed every word. Robin McKinley's beautiful piece is very much worth the time and few dollars you have to spend on the paperback copy.