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Deerskin Paperback – Bargain Price, May 3, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 315 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Heir to her late mother's legendary beauty, Princess Lissar becomes the victim of her grief-maddened father's desire. Fleeing her home, she seeks solace and solitude in a great forest--and discovers a magic that leads her toward healing and justice. Loosely based on "Donkeyskin," an obscure fairy tale by Charles Perrault, this story of a young woman's survival and recovery is both a classic hero's journey-tale and a parable for modern times. Award-winning YA author McKinley turns her storytelling acumen and stylistic grace toward an adult audience, handling incest and rape with unflinching honesty while at the same time building a case for hope and renewal. A good choice for fantasy collections.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A first foray into adult fantasy for the author of such well- received children's books as The Outlaws of Sherwood (1988), etc. In an unnamed, standard fantasy kingdom, an unnamed queen dies after bequeathing to her unnamed king a portrait capturing her surpassing beauty. Their daughter, the princess Lissla Lissar, is the very image of her mother, even to her black-red hair. On Lissar's 17th birthday, the king announces that he will marry his daughter! Horrified, Lissar locks herself away, but the king breaks in to beat and rape her. Barely alive, Lissar escapes with her dog Ash to find sanctuary in the mountains. The moon goddess, the ``Lady,'' heals Lissar--suppressing the dreadful memories, changing her hair to white, giving her a stainless white deerskin dress--and four years pass in what seems a day. Now Lissar enters a neighboring kingdom, where she meets the dog-fancying prince Ossin. As she slowly regains her memory, so she falls in love with Ossin, who proposes. Unable to tell him of her past, Lissar again flees into the mountains, returning the following year ready to denounce her father, regain her black-red hair, and marry Ossin. Turgid, lurid, soporific fluff. Might have made an adequate fairy tale at a twentieth of the bulk. McKinley will have to do much better than this to capture an adult audience. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Trade (May 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441012396
  • ASIN: B003IWYHD8
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (315 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,199,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Barks Book Nonsense TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 29, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
McKinley's writing is amazing, dreamlike, gutwrenching & heartwarming. This book is *not* for everyone. It has a very dark tone & the first few chapters are very painful to read. Your heart will be ripped to pieces several times before the book ends. BUT despite all of this I found it to be a very uplifting story of triumph & love. I didn't just read this book I lived it.
It is the story of Princess Lissar, who at first glance appears to live a charmed life. Actually, once we dig a little deeper we realize Lissar is very alone & isolated in her world. Her parents don't seem to remember she exists, she has no friends only servants. The turning point begins when her Mother dies and she receives a puppy as a gift of condolence from Prince Ossin whom she names Ash. Dear old Dad, crazy with grief over the loss of his Queen, turns into a nutcase & completely forgets he has daughter for several years. During this time Lissar & Ash grow up together & become bonded closer than any two beings can be. Then one day Dad remembers he has a daughter & decides it is time for her to marry & start producing an heir. Once he takes a good look at Lissar he notices how beautiful she has become & how much she resembles her mother. I don't want to give anything else away but this is the beginning of Lissar's transformation into the mystical creature Deerskin & the end of her life as she knows it.
Despite the dreary beginning, this story is ultimately a positive one & especially recommended for dog/animal lovers. The scenes with the puppy rearing, Lissar's eventual opening up to Prince Ossin & the magical, mystical qualities of the story make this a must read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I, like other reviewers, am very put off that someone could criticize this wonderful tale for being "dark". And furthermore, how on earth did this one person accumulate enough impatience to THROW IT AWAY before reading even 100 pages of it??? Hello??!! This is a ROBIN McKINLEY BOOK!!! It deserves to be read all the way through at LEAST once.

I did read it all the way through, in fact, I stayed up until 3 o'clock in the morning to finish it. By the end, I had my hands clenched and in the course of reading had yelled things like "NO!" "Oh MY GOD!", etc. several times.

It starts out seemingly perfect, as all the old boring fairytales seem to be, with tales of the handsome King and the Queen who is "the most beautiful woman in seven kingdoms". This tale is told to their only child, a daughter Lissla Lissar. She at a young age is enthralled by the tale of how her father completed an impossible quest to win her mother. But, we soon see the reality of the tale in that the King and Queen are so absorbed in each other that Lissar is completely ignored.

Then, a tragedy more profound than first appearance enters in. The Queen dies (not that she couldn't have prevented it) and Lissar is given her first friend in the form of Ash, a Fleethound puppy who is a gift from a prince in a neighboring country. Lissar isn't much affected by her vain, self-absorbed mother's death but a certain facial expression her father bestows on her keeps Lissar dreading him for the next two years for reasons she cannot discern. What she does not realize is that she is beginning to look more and more like her exquisite mother. In her maddened father's eyes, she is the only woman in the country who compare to his belovedly beautiful dead wife.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was searching for a book when the cover of Deerskin caught my eye, whoever designed it has a true gift for art. After reading the book I believe the artist to have a great talent for capturing a characters soul. Although many of the previous reviewer do not recommend this book for young readers I feel I must. I read this book at about 13 and it opened my eyes to the painful world many of my friend have had to live through. I love the way McKinley allows our heroine, Lissar, time to heal herself and come to terms to what has happened to her. It is refreshing to read a book that shows an acurate portrayal of a young woman in pain. McKinley's simple yet strong writing style only adds to the drama that is naturally engrained in the storyline. Ash is the perfect character for the necessary comic relief, subtle yet so true one can picture ones own dog acting the same way. It was a refreshing change to have an animal companion as the balance in Lissar's upside down world. Ossin is the perfect romantic lead for this story. He's not macho or overbearing he is only concerned for Lissars happiness and the wellbeing of his dogs, an interest they both share. In the end the reader is pleased to see the obligatory romance occur. It's like watching an old friend finally get the happiness they deserve. That is what this book is to me and I hope is to many people, an old friend. After reading Deerskin i ran out and bought every McKinley book I could find and have been emmensely pleased with every one. I would reccomend this book to any one who has suffered in any way or to anyone who loves a good read. Like many other of the reviewers of this book I have read this book many times and I will continue to do so in the future.
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