So yesterday got me thinking about other Robin McKinley books that I loved. Deerskin is one that I know the author herself is not too fond of. It is much darker than her other stories in many ways. And while it takes place in the same world as The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword, somewhere between those two books, it is never found with them. That is because this is based off of, like so much of McKinley’s work, a fairytale. Specifically, Donkeyskin. If you are familiar with that fairytale, you know the basic plot of the story.
Lissa is the Princess, daughter of the most beautiful woman in seven kingdoms. After her mother's death her father sees the same beauty in her and becomes determined to marry his own daughter. Along with her dog, Ash, Lissa barely escapes with her life and her sanity.
For those who are looking for something with a world a little less kind, Deerskin is wonderful. But the end is definitly a tear jerker as the main character tears open emotional wounds to finally let them heal. This is for mature readers though. Keeping in mind I found this book shortly after I found The Hero and the Crown though, I think maturity has less to do with age than with ability to handle disturbing ideas. And, I'll be honest, at the tender age of 8 I didn't quite grasp everything the first time through.