Deerskin – Robin McKinley

I loved Robin McKinley’s Beauty, which I read earlier this year.  Then, I read Spindle’s End, which I liked for the most part, except for the way the story ended.  I was really hoping for another win from this fairy-tale author, so I read Deerskin next.

The simple fact that McKinley chose to write about Donkeyskin, a fairy-tale so unknown, is wonderful.  I became acquainted with this fairy-tale through Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, with the story called Sapsorrow.  It is a very interesting fairy-tale, and I thought it would make a wonderful novel.  I definitely had high hopes for this one!

Unfortunately, my expectations were not met.  Deerskin started out interesting enough, with the details of Lissar’s childhood, and the terror she is subjected to was something I read through quickly, eager to read more.  After this, however, which is only about a third of the way through the book, was terrible for me.

I found this heroine annoying and weak, although she is supposed to be a strong character.  I love strong female characters, but Lissar ran away from her problems over and over (and over and over…) again, and it was entirely too annoying for my taste.  I did appreciate the prince in this tale, with his realistic representation and his love of dogs.  However, I couldn’t stand Lissar, and since she is the primary character in the book, it made it difficult to read.  So difficult, in fact, that I had to stop reading the book half-way through, and only finished the story several months later (with effort).

I am now in the awkward stage of deciding whether I want to try another McKinley or not.  I loved Beauty, but Spindle’s End had a terrible ending, and Deerskin was just plain terrible to me.  Hmm.  This will take some serious consideration.  **

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