Note: I’m starting to run out of my backlog of already-written reviews since I can’t read as much or as quickly while I’m in school as I can when I’m out. I might need to take a couple weeks off in order to read and write some more reviews or I might move the Series Week up a bit because I’ve completed that. I’ll keep you notified.
Rose Daughter is written by Robin McKinley. It is her second adaptation of the tale “Beauty and the Beast,” her first being Beauty (which I reviewed here). It was published in 1997 by Greenwillow Books. McKinley’s website can be found here.
“‘It is the heart of this place, and it is dying,’ says the Beast. And it is true; the centre of the Beast’s palace, the glittering glasshouse that brings Beauty both comfort and delight in her strange new environment, is filled with leafless brown rose-bushes. But deep within this enchanted world, new life, at once subtle and strong, is about to awaken.”
“The thorn-bushes had all disappeared under their weight of leaves. Even the deadest-looking ones round the almost-invisible statue had not been dead at all, only slow to wake from winter. And then flower-buds came, and Beauty watched them eagerly, surprised at her own excitement, wanting to see what would come. The weather turned cold for a week, and the buds stopped their progress like an army called to a halt; Beauty was half frantic with impatience. But the weather turned warm again, and the buds grew bigger and bigger and fatter and fatter, and there were dozens of them—hundreds. They began to crack and to show pink and white and deepest red-purple between the sepals.”
“The glasshouse was itself big enough to be a palace, and it glittered so tempestuously in the sun she had to find a patch in its own shade for her eyes to rest upon. It was very beautiful, tier upon graceful tier of it rising up in a shining silvery network of curves and straight lines, each join and crossing the excuse for some curlicue or detail, the cavalcades of panes teased into fantastic whorls and swoops of design no glass should have been capable of. Merely looking at it seemed an adventure, as if the onlooker’s gaze immediately became a part of the enchanted ray which held the whole dazzling, flaring, flaunting array together.”
Recommended Age Range: 12+
What I Liked:
This book, although based on the same story, is radically different from Beauty. The writing style is much more similar to McKinley’s The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown and it is focused much more on roses and gardening. This is definitely a much more involved, complicated tale than Beauty was. You could read both of them back-to-back and come away thinking you’ve read a completely different story. Completely different characters, setting, tone, situations, and even a different ending.
I loved the relationship between Beauty and the Beast. The ending is really sweet. The relationship between Beauty and her sisters, Lionheart and Jeweltongue, is also very well-done. There are some genuinely funny bits that I really enjoyed.
What I Didn’t Like:
It really drags in the middle, unfortunately, when Beauty is at the Beast’s palace. It gets tedious and even a little boring, which is sad because there is some really beautiful writing.
In comparison, I would have to say that I enjoyed Beauty more overall, but I like Rose Daughter’s ending more than Beauty’s.
Rose Daughter is a masterful re-telling of the story of Beauty and the Beast. The middle is a bit dry, but the ending is fantastic. McKinley has once again developed a beautiful adaptation of the fairy tale, and both books are worth the read.
Coming Up Next: Delirium by Lauren Oliver