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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
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Another retelling Oct. 30 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The beginning of this book was brilliant, in my opinion, and engaged my interest far more than Robin McKinley's original Beauty. I liked the better characterization of the sisters, the father and Beauty herself, and the world and events were far more fascinating. Where this book loses momentum is, strangely enough, when the plot gets going and Beauty meets the Beast. The scenes at the Beast's castle are incredibly slow, with large amounts of description and nothing much ever happening. The only times I felt a spark of interest again was when it returned to Jeweltongue and Lionheart, which surely shouldn't be right? The original Beauty was also quite a slow-moving book, but at least managed to track the development of the relationship between Beauty and the Beast in a believable and more interesting way. I preferred the ending of this book, of course, but found it didn't work after the poor setup. It's too hard to believe that they could fall in love in only seven days, during which they didn't even see much of each other.
I liked some of the gardening information in this book, but again, felt it was over-described, and was disappointed to see Beauty's love of books going out the window to make room for it. The descriptions of the roses worked at Rose Cottage, but not at the Beast's castle - there they just fell flat. Overall, this book had a much more fairytale feel to it than the original Beauty, but didn't tell the story nearly as economically as fairytales manage to do. In my opinion, you should read both Robin McKinley's retellings of this story, if you're interested - both have their flaws, and their strong points. Neither of them are going to be my favourite books.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written, But Adds Little to The Tale March 24 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Robin Mckinley's Rose Daughter goes to great lengths to establish a setting for the tale it is based on, but it lacks a degree of fresh insight and depth needed to make the book truly great.
Based on The French Fairy Tale of Beauty and The Beast, Rose Daughter follows the struggle of Beauty, her three sisters and her merchant father, from wealth to finincial ruin to the courtship of the Beast. Mckinley handles the story with a grace that belies true talent, and she creates a magical world full of detail and imagination that will entertain readers throughout the book.
But while Mckinley pays special attention to lavishness of setting, and goes to great lengths to give Beast a backstory and Beauty a family, she seems outright negligent on other aspects of storytelling. Her novel ends abruptly, as though she simply decided she'd had enough, and she seems uninterested in exploring what happens after the traditional fairy tale ends. The novel's supposed "allegorical resonances" ring hollow, and in my mind it fails to address some of the more complex process of learning to love a beast. McKinley seems to preoccupied with detail to address other areas of the narrative.
All in All, Mckinley has crafted an extraordinarily well-written book filled with imagination and delightful prose. It's well worth reading for those who simply wish to immerse themselves in a grand fantasy world and see Beauty and the Beast in far more detail than previously imagined. But for those looking to see a deeper approach that develops characters and conflict in a way the original tale never did, this book falls short of a solid delivery. Rose Daughter is an enjoyable book, but not an earth-shaking one.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying Retelling of Beauty and the Beast
I just finished reading Rose Daughter, having read Beauty a couple of times before. In short, I preferred Beauty to this retelling. Read more
Published on Nov. 30 2009 by Lorina
2.0 out of 5 stars Rosy yet empty
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. Read more
Published on March 7 2007 by E. A Solinas
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
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