This is one of Robin McKinley darker books. It is a loose and wonderful retelling of Donkeyskin, a Charles Perrault story. Princess Lissar suffers a horrible tragedy very young in her life, which forces her to flee from her family. This is the beginning of an adventure that gives her a new life and a new identify. Robin McKinley is a wonderful writer who tells this story with such compassion. The ending is hugely satisfying.
This is a powerful story. This has some very dark parts toward the beginning. There is an element of the mystical. Yet a very human story and very human struggle. This one is hard to explain. I would not suggest it for younger readers. It is not as suitable for them as "The Blue Sword" is. [I am not a parent however, and may have an inaccurate view of what young people can handle in terms of reading/viewing traumatic events. If you are a parent of a teen who wants to read this, read it yourself first.] That said, I really like this story and have re-read it a few times. It is no darker than Julie Garwood's contemporary novels as a point of comparison. Less so in some ways since the dark thread does not run so strongly (and menacingly) through it as with Garwood's new ones.
I saw a review somewhere else for this book and the writer said she wished the ending went a little farther in telling what happens with the heroine. I thought it was a good way to end the book. For any of you who feel the same however, read the first part of Spindle's End where they talk about the queen and her country of origin.
This is well-written, and it's a wonderful book, BUT - it's frequently found shelved in the young adult section of bookstores with Blue Sword and Hero and the crown, where it shouldn't be. The disturbing adult themes make it not-kid-friendly. Otherwise, it is a very good book, just like all of McKinley's books.
Absolutely riveting. You won't be able to put it down. Much darker than McKinley's other books, but really good.
Like most things Robin McKinley has written, this is well written and engaging, but had some themes that I found disturbing. Due to said themes, I will never reread this book though McKinley is one of my favorites.
I think the Author's Note is the best warning I can give without destroying the plot for people: "There is a Story by Charles Perrault called Donkeyskin which, because of its subject matter, often does not appear in collections of Perrault's fairy tales. Or if it does appear, it does so in a bowlderized state. The original Donkeyskin is where Deerskin began."
So if you want more details on where I got squicked, either google donkeyskin or send me a message. I don't want to ruin the book for those with a less delicate stomach.
Deerskin. By Robin McKinley
Princess Lissar was a forgotten child. She was overshadowed by her enigmatic and beautiful mother. But when her mother dies people start to notice young Lissar, and more importantly, her father begins to notice her in a way that disturbs her more than ever. Her mirror image looks of her mother bring attention that frightens her, and events cause her to run away in her sixteenth year. With only her loyal companion, Ash her hound, to accompany her Lissar must survive the physical, and more importantly, the emotional danger she faces as she travels under the name Deerskin to a new kingdom.
A dark and hauntingly beautiful adult romance. Beautifully written and keeps you glued to the page. Warning: Has some disturbing adult themes. Other than that I would recommend it to any fantasy romance lover.
An interesting tale, but one very adult and disturbing scene is integral to the story. Overall we liked the book.
I read this because I remember loving Blue Sword. This was certainly much darker and much more sad than the other. I liked the story, but it just sort of bothered me through out the whole thing... So, it's just an okay book to me, but I like the language alot. McKinley does write well, I just don't appreciate this partifular story as much.
My most favorite book by McKinley. I normally do not read books that contain rape, most especially rape via a family member. However, as I love and adore McKinley, I knew I had to read ALL her books - even this one. I put it off for awhile, but finally decided to just plunge in, thinking I could always stop or skip certain scenes.
I am SO glad that I finally read this! I couldn't stop, and didn't skip any scenes. I read this in under 24 hours. The subject was handled so well, so consciously, so thoughtfully that, though it inspired horror, rage, anger, it also led to other discoveries, thoughts feelings.
I definitely cried at many moments in this book, especially the ending, which I adored and liked that it wasn't a clean, easy, simple ending. I loved the heroine - in all her changes and transformations.
5 stars. This is a book I will be reading and re-reading several times as there are many lessons, thoughts, truths, etc., to be gleaned from it. If some readers are put off by the subject matter as I was - don't be. This isn't a book about rape (though there is rape in it). This is a book about strength, courage, love, independence, Truth, honor, discovery, ownership (of self). It's a book about believing that there could be something else to be had from the world other than ordinary things. Something extraordinary. Something magical.
Lovely lyrical story. I really didn't want it to end. My first McKinley book, but it definitely won't be my last!
This is the only Robin McKinley book I simply didn't like. I tried reading it again ten years later, hoping that age and maturity would make it grow on me. I found it just as dark and depressing the second time as I did the first. The whole tone and style of the book is different than all her others.
A little too descriptive for me. A lack of intrigue...I need more intertwinning plots. Nice story though. A princess fairy tale mostly.
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 lust and madness. With her loyal dog Ash at her side, Lissar will unlock a door to a world of magic, where she will find the key to her survival-and an adventure beyond her wildest dreams.
Author's Note: There is a Story by Charles Perrault called Donkeyskin which, because of its subject matter, often does not appear in collections of Perrault's fairy tales. Or if it does appear, it does so in a bowlderized state. The original Donkeyskin is where Deerskin began.
I usually like Robin McKinley (i.e. Beauty & Rose Daughter)- but I just couldn't get into this book. The writing and the story left me wanting. I pride myself on finishing a book that I start - but with this one, after about 100 pages (1/3 of the book) - I just couldn't do it anymore. I had to stop pretending that I cared about the character or the story. I am sorry to say that I cannot recommend this book.