Synopsis: Almost 20 years after her well-received, award winning Beauty (1978), McKinley re-explores and re-expands on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. This is not a sequel, but a new novelization that is fuller bodied, with richer characterisations and a more mystical, darker edge.
Title: Rose Daughter
Author: Robin McKinley
Publisher: Avon Books
I’m always a little hesitant to read reworks or retellings of stories or fairy tales – why would you re-read the same story, if only told in a slightly different manner when there are so many new ones to get through.
But, after being forced to read ‘The Song of Achilles’ and loving it (one of the best books of 2013 so far) I decided to give Rose Daughter a try, as it was recommended by the same person and I generally trust her opinion on books.
Maybe, I had set myself up to be amazed, as I had been with Song of Achilles; maybe the Disney cartoon has forever ruined any book that I will read about Beauty & the Beast – whichever ‘maybe’ you choose to go for, I didn’t really enjoy this read. It’s a nice tale but is simply exciting enough for me to get hooked on.
I felt McKinley was attempting to make this a more gripping read, with a more complex plot to the original fairy tale; but it lacked the pace even though there were some potentially thrilling parts in the plot. I would have forgiven this had I felt the content was captivating enough. Not every story needs to be action-packed (I’d be exhausted all the time if that was the case), but I generally find the slower-paced novels – the good ones – make up for it in atmosphere, detail, interaction etc. Unfortunately, Rose Daughter was lacking in these too.
All in all, I was a little disappointed with this one – I wouldn’t tell someone not to read it, but I wouldn’t recommend it either. Oh well… on to the next one.