2015 Favorites Extravaganza: Day #8
Deerskin by Robin McKinley
First Published: 1994
Adult, High Fantasy
As Princess Lissar reaches womanhood, it is clear to all the kingdom that in her breathtaking beauty she is the mirror image of her mother, the queen. But this seeming blessing forces her to flee for safety from her father's wrath. With her loyal dog Ash at her side, Lissar unlocks a door to a world of magic, where she finds the key to her survival - and an adventure beyond her wildest dreams...
You are probably slightly confused about the place of this book in my 2015 Favorites, considering its relatively low rating. The thing is, this book is one of those books that the farther away I am from it; the more I think about it. In a good way.
Before getting this book as a birthday present, I have never heard of it. Or Robin McKinley. I guess it's not too surprising, as this book is different than most anything I've read before, so it wouldn't have been on my radar. That's not the case anymore, as now the name Robin McKinley equals something I'd like to check out.
Deerskin is written in a matter which includes very few dialogues. Most of the story is told through a storyteller, who describes the surrounding, lore, and thoughts of our main characters. In fact, it takes about 170 pages, maybe even longer, until we meet a character for Lissar to speak to, and even then - Lissar is a woman of few words.
I expected this to really hinder my reading process, as the first time I tried this book, it did feel a bit oppressing. But this time around? I gulped it up, in one sitting, stopping pretty much only to eat. And when I reached the end of part one, I felt like the writing style was a smart choice.
Why? Because the writing style, especially at first, really helps distance you emotionally from what was happening. Now, you must be thinking - wait, what? How is that a good thing? But in this particular book, it was. I don't think I would've managed to go past the horrific events of part one if this story was written any differently.
And then, slowly, as Lissar began to interact, so did we as readers, right in time for the PUPPIES and OSSIN. So we were able to go through the horror, and still connect with the good. I think that is a wonderful thing; because this book is about overcoming and finding the good. Finding a will to go on.
And as I said, Ossin and the puppies. I mean, those effing puppies, man! Soooo cute.
And Ossin... Okay, let's talk for a minute about this guy. He's a prince, yeah? But his favorite place is the kennel, where he take cares of dogs... even dying puppies (two words that should never be said together!). And he is not handsome. At all. Like... nope. But he is sweet, and kind, and loyal and real, and I dig it!
Especially when he was together with Lissar. It wasn't the mushy, hands-on, I'll-die-for-you-or-without you type of romance, but it was real and sweet and sneaked up on both characters. <3
The reason this is not a four star is that the events at the end really confused me... Like, wtf happened to Lissar? Her mother?... and the blood?... like, what even? And what actually became of Lissar, and her powers? Were those just a loan from the Moonwoman?... Color me baffled.