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Rose Daughter (Folktales, #2) (1998)

Rose Daughter (Folktales, #2) (1998)

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3.76 of 5 Votes: 5
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0441005837 (ISBN13: 9780441005833)

About book Rose Daughter (Folktales, #2) (1998)

I talk about my love for Robin McKinley's books a lot. I know everyone's read Beauty. It was her first book. It's essentially a classic of fairy tale retellings now. And I love it and will always love it for giving me a Beauty who was not beautiful and avoided mirrors at all cost and a Beast with a library of books from all the ages, including ones that hadn't even been written yet. Makes my little heart sing just thinking of it and the way I absorbed it when I was twelve. But fewer people are as familiar with Ms. McKinley's second retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast. If you have a free moment, it's really worth hopping over to her site to read the wonderful essay, "The Story Behind Rose Daughter." It's lovely. When I discovered she was returning to her favorite fairy tale twenty years later and giving it a fresh new take in an entirely new novel, my skin tingled with anticipation. And not a little curiosity at just how she would give the story she'd done so well by a fresh take and whether or not it would capture my imagination the way the original did. People seem to be very divided on their loyalties to these two books. Some would fight to the death for Beauty and don't give ROSE DAUGHTER a second glance. Others feel quite the opposite and gravitate toward the slightly more lush second version. I've listened to these conversations. As for me, my heart is big enough to love them both. And I am so glad she wrote both books. Because someone who understands and loves that particular fairy tale the way it seems she does should never stop telling it, in my opinion. I would read a third and a fourth version and I will re-read these two for the rest of my life. Her earliest memory was of waking from the dream. It was also her only clear memory of her mother.Beauty and her two older sisters Jeweltongue and Lionheart live with their father in the city. Their lives have been rather gentle ones, filled with plenty to eat, soft beds, and the best society has to offer. Though they lost their mother early on, they have managed to make a good life with their father, each pursuing the hobbies and talents they love, as represented by their names. Lionheart is brave and strong and loves riding and sport more than anything else. Jeweltongue knows exactly what to say in every situation, sets people at ease, and sews and embroiders the most beautiful dresses. Beauty loves nature. She loves flowers and gardens and especially roses, in all their varieties and iterations, because they remind her of her mother. Then tragedy strikes. Their father loses all his wealth and they are forced to move to tiny Rose Cottage far away in the countryside. The sisters' talents are put to good use earning what meager money they can and their lives are changed in starkly unimaginable ways. But none more than Beauty's. All her life she's had the same dream. More of a nightmare, really. In which she is walking down a long hallway, uncertain of the mystery she will find behind that final door, but dreading it all the same and filled with the terror that she will both eventually get there and not get there in time. The usual events follow and Beauty takes her father's place and finds herself living in the Beast's home, where his lovely rose garden is dying. But, of course, everything is more than meets the eye, and Beauty will, in the end, have to make the hardest decision of all.Roses are for love. Not silly sweet-hearts' love but the love that makes you and keeps you whole, love that gets you through the worst your life'll give you and that pours out of you when you're given the best instead.Sigh. I love this book so much. It is, without a doubt, a more adult retelling of the fairy tale. And I don't mean that there is any potentially objectionable in it at all. I merely mean that you can feel the depth of experience and emotion in the work, which I think represents what the author brings to the tale twenty years after she first retold it. The sisters feel a bit older, a bit more mature, though I always love that McKinley represents them as loving and kind to one another and as in the whole thing together. The Beast himself feels more ancient to me, closer to the end of his long existence, and we get even more background information on how he came to be the way he was and what his interminable penance has really been like. And the love of beauty and gardens and all living things permeates the page in such a way that I, who am the most unskilled and amateur of gardeners, go looking for a spade and seeds the minute I put the book down. The language in ROSE DAUGHTER swallows me up as well. I find myself eternally charmed by the archetypal names and the various village denizens the girls encounter: Miss Trueword, Mrs. Words-Without-End, Mrs. Bestcloth. Each personality is distinct and you can tell that they each have their own vital stories playing out, even as the focus remains on Beauty and her path. Each time I read it, I relish getting lost with her in the ever-changing castle that is the Beast's home, as the words and the corridors wrap their twisty novelty around me and the heady magic that suffuses the place and the world has its way with me. The romance is wonderful and just as it should be. The magic is dense and carefully woven. And the descriptions so visual I can call them to mind on any given day, so vibrant are the impressions they made on me. And the ending, you say? Well, you shall have to find out for yourself. To me, it is perfect. I'm interested what it is to you.

I read this book as a teenager but retained no memory of it. After reading it again, I know why. McKinley says in the afterward that she chose to revisit the Beauty and Beast story because she had more to say, especially about roses. Well, that's about all she has to say in this book. Lots about gardening, description of stuff, and cutesy-wootsy little animals. Other than that, nothing goes on in this book whatsoever.The problem with this book is there's just no conflict. All the possible conflicts are glossed over or resolved before they even have time to get serious. --The impoverished family has a ridiculously easy time in the most idyllic provincial town in existence. --The two older sisters are paper thin archetypes of the clever one and the tomboy, and they find suitable husbands who have no personality and pretty much never show up. --There's some kind of a curse on the family. But I still have no idea what it is. But don't worry. It wasn't a curse anyway! Duhhh--Beauty is never really mad at the Beast for threatening and kidnapping her. She just figures he wouldn't have hurt her dad anyway and, hey, cool garden!--The Beast himself was a perfectly nice dude as a human, and got magicked into a beast as an accident. No character flaws here.--There's some kind of villain figure with the oldest son of an important family, but no one listens to him anyway and Beauty's dad punches him with no repercussions. Problem dealt with. Guess it wasn't so urgent for Beauty to come home anyway.--In lieu of any conflict at home, Beauty loses her memories, which is the only reason she forgets the Beast's flower until it's almost too late. Whoops.--Beauty decides to keep the beast at the end and go back to a provincial life instead of marrying a human and having influence. I guess it's not bestiality--except it literally is--but just shows again that life is just so damn perfect.That brings up Beauty herself as a character and Good God is she annoying. I know she doesn't have anyone to talk to for a lot of the book, but her incessant ramblings to every cat, bat, toad, and spider she comes across get really old. "And I do hope you'll be a good little spider now and not have the bad manners to leave cobwebs in my perfect garden..." It's that self-conscious British flippancy that always sounds really pretentious. Pages of it. Beauty reminds me of the Butch's ditzy girlfriend Fabienne in Pulp Fiction. Except, if possible, more so. The girl who rambles on about what she's going to eat for breakfast and how cute she'd look with a potbelly but totally forgets to pack her boyfriend's super important family watch.Beast: "So this rose is very important..."Beauty: "And I'm going to plant whole forests of roses if only I can get them to be well-behaved enough little darlings, and I'll let the sweet little hedgehogs get all those troublesome slugs..."Beast: "...Because I'll die when the last petal falls."Beauty: "Aren't you a cute little kitty! Oh, did you go and have kittens, you clever thing?"Beast: "Are you even listening?"Beauty: "Something about a rose. Roses can only be grown by those with magic, and I usually don't care a thing for magic..."The additions McKinley does make to the story, such as the background about the witch who owned the cottage and some kind of war between sorcerers (not too clear on what actually happened) don't seem to add much to the story. Whenever McKinley gets too much into magic, it always gets messy and a ton of seemingly symbolic things happen but it all seems kind of random.This is always the problem with McKinley. She starts out with an interesting premise and evocative language, but gets bogged down in description and unnecessary animal sidekicks, only to end with a convoluted "It's magic, bitch" because she can't stand not to hand her characters everything on a silver platter.Stick to the first book. Sweet and simple. Unfortunately, Rose Daughter is McKinley at her most infuriating.

Do You like book Rose Daughter (Folktales, #2) (1998)?

I liked most things about this book, except for the fact that the beast (*SPOILER*) remained a beast and didn't become the handsome man of the so significant portrait. I kept waiting and waiting for the moment to arrive only to have my hopes dashed by some twaddle about "I love you as you are and don't need you to change". Um... doesn't sleeping with a beast count as bestiality?I did, however (being a flower lover) like all the descriptions of roses and the way they were such an exotic flower to grow in the book. I found all the animals that were attracted to Beauty both hilarious (the hedgehogs) and endearing. I also liked the way the story was told with a mysterious and off-hand distance - almost in the style of an Arabian Nights tale. I particularly liked the way the characters changed throughout the book - each of the sisters coming to understand the importance of being nice to people and not relying on their way with words or physical strength to control people, but using kindness instead.

2.5 starsThe first half wasn't that bad....Actually, mid-way through this book I thought it was pretty good, and I was sure that this one was going to end up wrangling 4 or 5 stars out of me. Oh well, I've been wrong before. Several things happened that lowered my enjoyment level down to nothing, and they all happened toward the end. First, it's not like the pace in Rose Daughter was very fast to begin with, but I was dealing with it (admirably, I thought). You know how sometimes the beginning of a book drags and you can't get into it? Or in the middle of a story it sloooooows down to a crawl, and you just want to scream Get on with it already!? Well, in Rose Daughter it was the ending, wouldn't end. I can't recall another book I've read where the pacing was like that. The ending was booooring. For example, there's the part when she goes back to find Beast and tell him she loves him, but she gets lost in the magical house (or whatever it is). It took forever to get her from point A to point B. And we hear about all of it. Every. Convoluted. Minute. What she tastes, what she smells, what she hears, what she feels, what she thinks, how many times she weeps, and (last but not least) what the people in the paintings are wearing. Pages and pages of it. Are there actual readers out there who care about that stuff?! There must be, otherwise McKinley wouldn't have sold such a boatload of books. On the upside, if you like to skim when you read, then this is the book for you! Never fear, Dear Reader, you won't miss out on some important detail, because none of it matters! Ok, even with such a slow pace, I probably wouldn't have rated it so low, but the ending creeped me out! Ugh! Awful! (view spoiler)[See, the Beast doesn't turn back into a human at the end. WTF?! Now I know there are some people out there going Oh, but looks aren't everything! I think it's sweet that Beauty loved him just the way he was!. No. It's skeevy and gross. They are not even the same species, people! Ewwwwwww! When I was seven years old, and thought that being married meant that your BFF was a boy, it wouldn't have freaked me out to think about Beauty getting married to an actual Beast.Why? 'Cause I didn't know about sex yet, and I didn't know married people had it, that's why. So, as Beauty was stroking his giant hairy-ass paw at the end, and telling him how happy their marriage was going to be...urp. (hide spoiler)]

Twenty years after Beauty, McKinley retells "Beauty and the Beast" once again. I liked this version better. The writing is beautiful and the story drew me in right away. Beauty has few memories of her mother, who died when Beauty was very young. When her father's business fails, Beauty's family loses everything. One day, Beauty finds a will that leaves a home called Rose Cottage to her family. They leave the city, not knowing what they will find in their new home.Beauty and her sisters, Jeweltongue and Lionheart, discover that they are happier in their small country cottage than they were in their fancy city house. Until the day that their father returns home from a visit to the city and tells them of his encounter with a mysterious and frightening Beast.To save her father, Beauty goes to live in the Beast's castle. There, she becomes friends with the Beast and works to bring his once-beautiful rose garden back to life.Though the ending still leaves a few questions unanswered, I thought the story behind the magical events was better told in this version than in Beauty. Long sentences and some difficult vocabulary will make this version more enjoyable for those with higher-level reading abilities.

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