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THE ROSE AND THE BEAST by Francesca Lia Block Kirkus Star


by Francesca Lia Block

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2000
ISBN: 0-06-028129-4
Publisher: HarperCollins

Nine fairytales are given shimmering and scary shape in very modern dress, with Block’s luminescent, darkling prose. The one-word titles evoke but do not prescribe. In “Snow,” a screaming child who quiets in the arms of the gardener is given over by him to a houseful of self-described freaks—seven men with the names of animals, who are not-quite-fathers to her. It is the gardener who awakens Snow from her poisoned sleep, but she rejects him to choose the life she knows with the seven. “Wolf” reconfigures the Red Riding Hood story in a harrowing tale of incest and sorrow; “Rose” is a powerful metaphor of the bond between sisters, Rose White and Rose Red, and how emergent eroticism looses that tie. “Bones” recasts Bluebeard as a sinister L.A. promoter. The place of California dreams, desert light, and movieland glitz familiar in other Block books is her fairy landscape, repopulated with girls who have rose tattoos and remember River Phoenix. She uses language like a jeweled sword, glittering as it cuts to the heart. Readers who thrilled to Donohue’s Kissing the Witch (1997) and Donna Jo Napoli’s Zel (1996) will find similar dark magic here. (Fiction. YA)