I love fairy tale retellings! I loved Shannon Hale's Goose Girl , I loved Alex Finn's Beastly and, naturally, looked forward to Beauty. Unfortunately, I think I might have set my lever too high because where the other books managed to enthise me, this one falls flat on its ass. Good things first: I liked Robin McKinley's writing style, and the descriptions in this book really are top-notch. The world is built carefully, if not historically set, and the build-up to the meeting with the Beast and Beauty's background are all well-explained. It's important to know where your characters come from, after all, and if Beauty is to be a well-read heroine, then she must come from a family where that is possible in this time period.However, for all the build-up there is, the actual story of the Beast is very much unsatisfying - his interactions with Beauty are all well and good, but the actual conflict in the story, the thing that triggers Beauty to finally realize her feelings for Beast, is rather rushed and uninspired. Not to mention that the ending was so abrupt that I had to make a double-take to make sure I was reading the same story. How is it that the author who so spent so much time building this world would end the story in such a deus-ex-machina way? So in the last four or five pages Beauty gets some prophetic dream, get lost, arrives at the nick of time, confesses, Beast transforms, love confessions are made, Beauty is made to see how wonderful she really is, all their beloveds arrive in their best clothes for a triple ceremony not only does Beauty's sister get married, but their father as well. Ack! . Forget that it's all too Hollywood perfect - how about somebody explains how this happened? Did Beast get magical powers during his stay, but was too emo to make himself live? Why did his curse come about? What kind of a man is he? Yes, he has repented and cares for Beauty very much, but we're never shown what kind of person he was and therefore can't appreciate the transformation for what it's worth (in my opinion). And what of Beauty? For all her intelligence she can't decide whether it's the face or the heart that matters. Why do I feel like all the mentions of Faerie Queen, the Greek philosophers and poets were the same name-dropping inanities that pissed me off so much in Evermore? It's not a bad book. In fact, I enjoyed most of it, even some of the ending. But I cannot help but feel that there could have been more to it than what it is, and I deeply regret the fact that all this build up was leading up to such an ending.