Published: October 17th 2013 by Gollancz
Format: Hardcover, 203 pages
Genres: Fairytale Retelling
Goodreads ● The Book Depository ● Booktopia ● Bookworld
It's Sleeping Beauty, but not as you know her ...
Imagine a tower surrounded by briars, a brave prince, and a beautiful, enchanted, sleeping girl ...
... and now read the true story of Sleeping Beauty, told the way it always should have been.
Another enchanting and dark fairytale by Sarah Pinborough, Beauty is set before Charm and Poison and allows us to understand those stories a lot better. It introduces us to the prince, the huntsman, a very curious girl, and a deeply disturbing castle.
Beauty is a brilliant mixture of Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty, with many other fairy-tales thrown in to surprise and delight readers. It may come across as a confused mess to some readers, but I liked how Pinborough wove all the different tales into a riveting story.
As with the other books, it’s the characters who really carry the story. Our prince is slightly pathetic, having no real concept of the real world, and our huntsman is rugged, handsome and capable where the prince is not. The girl, Petra, is practical and honest, but obsessed with the howling she can hear behind the wall of briars in the forest. I liked how they played off each other, and their stories were great.
My favourite aspect of the novel is no doubt Beauty. She’s an amazing character and I’d never come across Pinborough’s spin on Beauty and The Beast before, so I was surprised by all the twist and reveals. The darkness and violence in this story certainly explain the prince and huntsman’s dispositions when we first met them in Poison.
Pinborough’s writing is worthy of praise, yet again. I loved how she’s re-imagined each of these beloved tales to bring us a story of a prince and huntsman who meet three very different women and have their lives changed forever by them. The magical and lushly described world only adds to the sense of grandeur of the series.
I have enjoyed this series a lot, and recommend it to readers who fancy darker, sexier, edgier versions of their favourite fairytales. They’re short and quick to read, and are sure to captivate readers.