I'm hesitant to call Beauty a re-telling of "Beauty and the Beast" as it's not so much a re-telling as it is a telling. McKinley's rendition of this classic fairy tale not only fails to veer off from it's typical path, but it also - sadly - fails to capture much of the magic of the original tale as well. I half expected my Kindle to burst into song or for "A Tale as Old as Time" to suddenly play out of thin air, but I fear I enjoyed even Disney's telling of this tale more than McKinley's.From the surface, there is nothing egregiously different about this story from the classic "Beauty and the Beast" tale. All the usual elements are present - Beauty willingly goes to live in the Beast's castle, the Beast slowly wins her heart, and the spell of bestiality is broken. With such a simple formula, it seems impossible to really fail; and McKinley hasn't. I cannot deny that her writing is lush and gorgeous, the magical enchantment strangely enticing, the interactions between Beauty and her Beast unerringly lovely. And yet, I feel as if the fault of this novel lies in its perfection.Most notably, to me at least, is the utter humanity that seeps through the Beast. After a two hundred year imprisonment, this is - oddly enough - not a man to lose his temper or give in to any of his bestial traits. In fact, he is always the perfect gentleman, which essentially makes him a bore. Either than a small temper tantrum that is mentioned - not even witnessed - Beauty is given no reason to dislike the Beast. Not only is he kind and caring, but he provides Beauty with every comfort, including companionship. Of course Beauty falls in love with him - what's not to love? With this fairy tale, appearance is the only obstacle to cross, which takes away from the depth of this classic story. Beauty never has to tame the Beast, as she so bravely announces in the first part of this novel, so their love story is disgustingly sweet and a complete bore as well. Beauty herself is also another paragon of perfection. When confronted with sending her father to his death or willingly venturing into the Beast's lair - one where, rumor has it, he eats humans - she quickly volunteers to go and swiftly begins to enjoy her time spent in the enchanted castle. Although she is described as being studious, she is disappointingly dull and never curious at all, which works well for the story, but not so much for her characterization. Furthermore, while Beauty is forced to defend her Beast against her family's opinions, they all come together in the last few pages for a typical happily-ever-after without the surprise or wonder of seeing Beauty's Beast transformed into a man.Unfortunately, the more Robin McKinley I read, the more I am convinced that the rest of the world is seeing something I am not. I think McKinley is an extremely talented storyteller, but as an author, she manages to nearly always fall short of my expectations when it comes to characterization and development. Is Rose Daughter a sad repeat of Beauty? I suppose I'll find out, soon enough.