Deerskin is Robin McKinley's most disturbing and powerful book, and possibly her most beautiful.
The heroine, Princess Lissar, is beautiful, royal, and a survivor. "Deerskin" rips apart our most
treasured little-girl fantasies - that being beautiful, rich, royal and the belle of the ball must
be wonderful; that families are perfect, and that princes are always handsome.
The story is riveting, sometimes even painful to read. McKinley's incomparable
skill with language draws us into the kingdom ruled by Lissar's handsome and heroic father, and her mother,
"the most beautiful woman in seven kingdoms" - the quintessential fantasy land. When Lissar's mother dies, her
father's grief knows no bounds, and eventually takes a sinister turn. The illusion of perfection is forever shattered,
along with Lissar's trust - and her life as she knows it. The tale of this traumatized young girl's
survival and her growth into a remarkable woman (with just a little magic thrown in) is the rest of
the story. Add a faithful dog and the love of a most unlikely prince to complete the fairy tale. "Deerskin's" enchantment springs from the
lovely but dangerous realms of the original tales of the Brothers Grimm. It's not for children. McKinley's other books are
stunningly beautiful. "Deerskin" is beautiful - and stunning.