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Rose Daughter [Library Binding]

Robin McKinley
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 11 2008
In a fresh retelling of Beauty and the Beast, by the critically acclaimed author of Beauty, Beauty enters a terrifying new world, finding comfort in the palace's stunning greenhouse and restoring life to the Beast's lonely home."
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up. Gertrude Stein's famous quote, "Rose is a rose is a rose...," is dispelled by McKinley in her second novelization of the tale "Beauty and the Beast." (Beauty was her first novel, published 20 years ago.) Both books have the same plot and elements; what is different is the complexity of matured writing and the patina of emotional experience. Here, she has embellished and embodied the whys, whos, and hows of the magic forces at work. The telling is layered like rose petals with subtleties, sensory descriptions, and shadow imagery. Every detail holds significance, including the character names: her sisters, Jeweltongue and Lionheart; the villagers, Miss Trueword, Mrs. Bestcloth, and Mrs. Words-Without-End. Mannerisms of language and intricacies of writing style are key in this exposition. The convoluted sentences often ramble like a rose and occasionally prick at the smoothness of the pace. Word choices such as feculence, sororal sedition, numen, ensorcell, and simulacrum will command readers' attention. McKinley is at home in a world where magic is a mainstay and, with her passion for roses, she's grafted a fully dimensional espalier that is a tangled, thorny web of love, loyalty, and storytelling sorcery. Fullest appreciation of Rose Daughter may be at an adult level.?Julie Cummins, New York Public Library
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Gr. 6^-12. Almost 20 years after her well-received, award-winning Beauty (1978), McKinley reexplores and reexpands on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. This is not a sequel, but a new novelization that is fuller bodied, with richer characterizations and a more mystical, darker edge. Although the Library of Congress catalogs it in the 398s, the book really belongs on the fiction shelves alongside Beauty. The familiar plot is here, but the slant is quite different, though Beauty's sisters are once again loving rather than hostile as in de Beaumont's original version. A few scenes are reminiscent of Beauty. For example, in the dining room scenes in the castle, Beauty eats but the Beast merely is present: "I am a Beast; I cannot eat like a man." In Rose Daughter, Beauty has an affinity for flower gardening, particularly roses, because of her memories of her deceased mother; it is a talent that serves her in good stead as she nurtures the Beast's dying rose garden. Also, in some nicely done foreshadowing, Beauty suffers from recurring dreams of a long, dark corridor and something--a monster?--waiting for her at the end. Rose Cottage, where Beauty and her family settle after the father's financial downfall, and the nearby town and its residents, as well as the opulence of the Beast's castle and the devastation of his rose garden, are vividly depicted. Among the fantasy elements are a prescient cat, the spirit of the greenwitch who willed Rose Cottage to Beauty's family, unicorns, and preternatural Guardians. There is more background on the Beast in this version, allowing readers to see how he came to be bewitched, and Beauty's choice at the end, a departure from that in Beauty, is just so right. Readers will be enchanted, in the best sense of the word. Sally Estes --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying Retelling of Beauty and the Beast Nov. 30 2009
By Lorina
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I just finished reading Rose Daughter, having read Beauty a couple of times before. In short, I preferred Beauty to this retelling. There were a few problems I had with this novel and in the end, I was not satisfied. One of the elements of Beauty and the Beast that I enjoy is the developing relationship between the Beast and Beauty. Realistically, as in Beauty, our heroine is terrified of the Beast in the beginning. She does not warm up to him nearly as fast as she does in Rose Daughter. I remember a scene in Beauty when she tries to leave her room at night only to find the door locked, and in a panic, bloodied her fists from banging on the door. In another scene, forgive me if I get the details wrong, Beauty asked the Beast to let her go and he denied her. Her panic was palpable - the feeling of being trapped and never again to see the people you love was easy to feel and understand, reading that particular scene. In her panic, she passed out and the Beast cared for her until she awoke. Moments like those are why I love Beauty and the Beast so dearly. I can imagine myself feeling that way, reacting the same way to the circumstances. The moments when the Beast reacted to her sorrow or noticed her injured hands added to the romance, brought out the tenderness that the Beast could express, and made us love him more.

In Rose Daughter, it felt as though Beauty did not feel much of anything. I was surprised, to say the least, of her lack of emotion at being taken away from her family and imprisoned in the Beast's castle. I was expecting at least some emotional outburst, but Beauty's character remained pretty flat, aside from the odd recollection of her sisters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rosy yet empty March 7 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I guess there's a reason why authors rarely retell the same story twice -- it's not going to be as good one of those times. Sadly this is the case with "Rose Daughter," Robin McKinley's second adaptation of the traditional Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. It overflows with pretty images and words, but there doesn't seem to be a lot underneath them.

Beauty's mother died when she was only a tiny child, leaving her with only the memory of roses. Because magicians failed to predict her mother's death in a riding accident, her father turned against magic completely, even though it ruined his business. Then one of his ships turns up again. When the father asks his daughters what they want, Beauty only asks for a rose.

But that rose comes with a price -- her father takes it from the garden of a strange Beast, who demands that Beauty be sent to his palace. Beauty goes voluntarily, if reluctantly. But she finds that the Beast is actually peaceful and gentle, and asks her to marry him regularly. So, of course, Beauty must unravel the curse that keeps him a Beast.

Robin McKinley started her career with "Beauty," a version of "Beauty and the Beast" that let us see Beauty not as a vapid victim, but as a strong, intelligent young woman. The problem with "Rose Daughter" is simple: It runs along a lot of the same story tracks, and adds nothing except a few pretty turns of phrase and some peculiar subplots that lead nowhere.

Her writing is truly exquisite -- McKinley definitely has a way with descriptions and evocation. "Rose Daughter" is verbally lush as few fantasy books successfully are. If there had been a plot to go with it, then this might have been a worthy classic.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I tried-I really did. May 29 2004
By Cynical
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I like Fairy-Tale-Retold stories, and I've heard so much about Robin McKinley I decided to try it. The dialogue was boring, wooden, dull, and unimaginative. Beauty had no personality. The dissapointing thing was that sometimes it seemed like the story could pick up. When Beauty's roses bloomed after constant almost obsessive gardening, and when the Beast discovered her tending after his roses, those scenes were deep and actually believable. Those scenes hinted at PERSONALITIES. But soon I realized that no one in the book had a true personality.
Another thing is the way this book was written. It was too...flowery for my tastes. There were constant metaphors, and so many adjectives it was really hard to understand. I could read five paragraphs and suddenly realize they were still describing a character. It was confusing, dull, and overly-dramatic. It seemed like plot elements were thrown in just for aesthetics. Like the Beast, painting with his teeth?! I understand the goal of that, Robin wanted us to know that the Beast was a deep and sensitive person, but the Beast had no personality (at least no more than the other characters) and therefore I didn't care about him.
The one thing I liked about this book was the castle. I loved the eerie quality it was given, the constant silence and bizarre change of weather. I think that was what kept me reading. I made it halfway and finally just dropped it. It's laying on my shelf now, collecting skin tissue. Oh well. I gave it a shot.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Oddly disappointing... April 18 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having recently read Sunshine and Spindle's End, I picked up Rose Daughter expecting the same delightful twist to a common tale, this time Beauty and the Beast. So I was disappointed to discover it did not particularly engage me. I finished it -- something has to be truly awful for me not to finish -- but I was not smiling with satisfaction at the end. I was not involved in the characters, the plotting seemed entirely too pat, there seemed no doubt in each step of the tale. Granted, everyone should know the story of Beauty and the Beast. But McKinley usually gives us something different, a parallel tale perhaps, in which the characters do not necessarily do the same as their fairytale counterparts. The primary failing for me was with the characters. They were interesting on the surface, but I didn't seem to get beyond that surface. They seemed sketched, rather than fleshed out. We were told what they were feeling, rather than allowed to share their experiences. My first disappointment with McKinley: if you want to try her, go for one of the others, or her first Beauty and the Beast tale, aptly named Beauty.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A good and surprising ending but a struggle to get through
I have now read both "Beauty" and "Rose Daughter" and have to say that I think an ideal retelling of the faiy-tale would actually be a mix of both books. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2006 by K. Daley
4.0 out of 5 stars Only one problem
Okay I will admit that she wrote this story very well. I have read many books and I know a good writer when I read their books. Read more
Published on April 9 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
This was an amazing book of great literary merit. While it was not a book with much action it was wonderfully inspirational and leaves the reader with a sense of otherworldliness. Read more
Published on July 6 2004 by Anna
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good!
I don't quite understand why everyone is giving this good book a bad review. I loved it...the names were a little weird, as someone commented, but what do names really matter. Read more
Published on June 23 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring...Hated the Ending
I wanted to read this book since it was by McKinley and I had read BEAUTY (which I loved and love to reread over and over). Read more
Published on May 30 2004 by Rachel
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. Truly tragically disappointing.
I absolutely adored Beauty, McKinley's first novel. Rose Daughter? No. Not. At. All. Whereas Beauty had a spunky heroine, full of doubts, ideas, and heart, *this* Beauty has no... Read more
Published on March 17 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not as good as the original
Twenty years ago, she wrote "Beauty", a wonderful retelling of the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast". Now she comes back to the same theme with a fresh perspective. Read more
Published on March 8 2004 by Anna Stanford
1.0 out of 5 stars wtf?!
I have always considered myself a fastasy freak. I've read over a hundred version of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, etc. Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Robin Mckinley's Done It Again!!!
Rose Daughter is called Beauty, just like in the 1st book, only this time, Beauty isn't the narrator of her own story. Read more
Published on Nov. 25 2003 by Dan Persinger
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