As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

April 10, 2012

DEERSKIN, by Robin McKinley, 1993

As Princess Lissar reaches womanhood, it is clear to all the kingdom that in her breathtaking beauty she is the mirror image of her mother, the queen. But this seeming blessing forces her to flee for safety from her father's wrath. With her loyal dog Ash at her side, Lissar unlocks a door to a world of magic, where she finds the key to her survival - and an adventure beyond her wildest dreams... (Goodreads)

Reviewed by Laina, an artist, bookworm, knitting, horse-back riding, somewhat writer

Deerskin is one of my favorite books. One because I have far too many favorite books. Robin McKinley's books are always beautiful, but this one was haunting and beautiful. This book kept me up at night until I finished it, and it haunted me even after I finished it.

There are some books that just touch your soul. This was one that gripped mine. I ached at the injustice and the pain. I cried for the loss. I smiled at the hope.

I have never read the fairy tale this book is loosely based off of, so i don't know how much is the same or different. In Deerskin, the story is about Princess Lissar and her best friend and companion, her dog Ash. She is a lonely, in shadows princess, eclipsed by her radiant parents. At her mother's death, Lissar's father goes slightly mad. Lissar rarely sees her father until her seventeenth birthday. Lissar fears her father. She sees something in his eyes.

Princess Lissar and Ash flee from a horrible pain and terror. I wont give away the rest. You need to read for yourself the magic of this book. It is a story of human darkness and the will to survive. This is not a little children's book. This is an emotionally powerful story. If I could describe it in just two words, I would say: Haunting and Beautiful.

Market: Adult Fiction
Language: None that i remember
Sensuality: Mild
Violence: Mild
Mature Themes: death, abuse, love

Book formats:


Natalie Gorna said...

Robin McKinley is an amazing author. And I'm personally thrilled to see "Deerskin" on Bookshop Talk, as it is one of her novels I've been considering reading.

In regards to the original fairy tale it's based on..."Donkeyskin" is one perplexing story. A beautiful girl's father falls in love with his only daughter because of his dead wife's sinister wish. A frightened, self-reliant girl is forced to run away from home and live in poverty in order to escape the horrors and insanity of incest. And in the end, a handsome prince brings sanity back to the fairy tale by righting all wrongs. I've always been strangely intrigued by the elements that make up "Donkeyskin" and its alternate versions. And I think "Deerskin" is a great recommendation of a retelling. A note of warning: I've been told that there is an explicit assault scene in the midst of the story (hint hint).

Amy Finnegan {} said...

Thanks for the great background information, Natalie!! :) :)