Book: Deerskin by Robin McKinley

Title: Deerskin
Author: Robin McKinley
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Length: 309 pgs

Summary: Deerskin by Robin McKinley is fantasy only in its setting: a generic kingdom with a handsome king and a queen more beautiful than any before, and more beautiful than any queen to come. This is the story of their daughter, Lissa Lissar, largely ignored, and therefore unused to people. It is with the death of her mother that her father finally notices her, and with that notice comes a danger that I, for one, was not expecting.

Why should you read this book?
This was, I believe, McKinley’s first major foray into adult fantasy. And while Lissa’s character is very well developed (this is an extremely introspective book with little dialogue), I wouldn’t suggest this as your first McKinley reading. If you are working on character development, and the treatment of delicate, controversial subjects, and the emotional/mental/physical repercussions of said subjects, this is an excellent book to read.

That said, Deerskin is not light reading. I will admit to taking a break from it, because I was slightly bothered by some of the imagery, though the imagery is highly symbolic. I would say, only because this is a fantasy, and there are elements of magic and mystery, that McKinley successfully works with adult subjects.

Once again, if this is your first McKinley reading, wait a while. Try Beauty, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Or, better yet, my favorite McKinley prose: Spindle’s End, an earthy, organic and unique retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

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