'Beauty and the Beast' is perhaps my favorite fairy tale. I love reading different variations of it, and seeing how different countries/cultures have similar tales with slight 'adjustments'. (Personal favorite is probably the Norse/Scandinavian story 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon', with the Beast being a Polar Bear). After reading - and loving - Robin McKinley's Pegasus, I decided to investigate her other novels (good thing to do, while waiting on the 2012 sequel, right?), and Beauty was the first I could get my hands on. I was told, by my could-be-sisters-virtual-friend Jessica, that Beauty was amazing and even in her "Top 5 Books of All Time" list. So I was excited to read it! I was not disappointed.
I loved the build-up to the story. McKinley starts by introducing 'Beauty' (the tongue-in-cheek nickname of Honour, the youngest and plainest of three sisters), and her family, and setting the stage for the beginning of a magical adventure. I loved getting more of the 'background' information in this version (as opposed to Disney's Beauty and the Beast which I've just revisited on DVD not so long ago). And I loved that it was Beauty's choice to go to the Beast - no wavering, no questioning, just a 'random' decision to go. Most of us are familiar with the story, so you know how pretty much how it's going to unfold -- but there are some little twists and variations in this version that I found delightful. And I may or may not have fallen in love with the Beast all over again.
I thoroughly enjoyed the read, and am looking forward to reading Rose Daughter - another 'examination' of Beauty and the Beast by McKinley.
Book provided by my local library.