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4.0 out of 5 stars Not the best, but still quite good...
I came across this book as a "suggested read" in a self-help book for female survivors of childhood sexual abuse and I was intrigued that a fantasy book had made the list. So I checked it out and I'm quite pleased that I did.

Was it the best thing I've ever read? Certainly not. It dragged in parts - especially when it came to the minutiae concerning dog raising...
Published 7 months ago by katcosplay

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3.0 out of 5 stars Take the Good with the Bad
It's the tale of your usual most-beautiful-princess - with a twist. Her father decides to marry her after her mother's death, the tale has a rather graphic assault scene to end Part One, and a weak ending to indicate happy ever after. I found Part One (84 pages) very tiresome and tedious, with the language very 'fairy-tale-like', which is great in a short fairy tale but...
Published on April 15 2004 by Essay


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4.0 out of 5 stars Not the best, but still quite good..., Aug. 31 2013
This review is from: Deerskin (Mass Market Paperback)
I came across this book as a "suggested read" in a self-help book for female survivors of childhood sexual abuse and I was intrigued that a fantasy book had made the list. So I checked it out and I'm quite pleased that I did.

Was it the best thing I've ever read? Certainly not. It dragged in parts - especially when it came to the minutiae concerning dog raising - and could have easily told the same story in a third the length. However, when it came to dealing with the topics of betrayal and lost innocence that come with child abuse, McKinley did an absolutely remarkable job. She treated the subject tenderly and with real heart and everything about Lissar's journey of healing and self-discovery resonated very deeply within me. I appreciated that the romance aspect was "unsatisfactory" as some reviews have said, because it felt realistic and keeping with everything that Lissar was going through.

I do wish McKinley had spent more time refining the climax of the story and tying up loose ends that she started and never quite finished instead of spending SO much time explaining little unimportant details of the main character's day-to-day life, but overall I was very moved by this book and I would recommend it for ANYONE who has had experience with Lissar's trauma.
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4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good, May 5 2008
By 
elfdart - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Deerskin (Mass Market Paperback)
this is a retelling of the story donkey skin. a short summery of the book would be; after the death of a girl's mother, her father abuses her out of grief and she runs away, and i think she takes her dog with her (it's been a while since i've read it). she kind of looses herself because of her grief at what her father did in the wilderness and after a while comes to this castle, wearing a deerskin dress, and they take her in and call her deerskin, and there's a prince etc. i won't spoil the ending.

there is an odd obsession with dogs in this book, as the girl (princess) has her own dog and also takes care of the prince's puppies. i don't have a dog or care about them much, so while fascinating, this part of the book didn't really draw me in and dragged on a bit at parts. there was a nice symbolism present and the heroine did regain a sense of herself and an acceptance of herself by the end of the book. overall not my favourite read, but decent. worth it if you put in the time, but nothing mind blowing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, Dec 11 2007
By 
Jana (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Deerskin (Mass Market Paperback)
I think my true rating for this novel hovers somewhere between 3 and 4, and to be honest, having just finished this book -- I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it.

Some points:

-- In the begining, I really enjoyed the somewhat vague voice of Lissar as it seemed to fit well with the fairy tale elements of the novel, but by the end I found it frustrating, as despite the very detailed descriptions of pain, sorrow, misery, etc. we were given, I never felt as though I actually got to know anything about her.

-- Why did her physical healing seemingly take an insanely long amount of time? Months? Years? She really spends five years in the mountains??? Why does it seem only like one winter before spring arrives and Lissar ventures from her hut again?

-- I like my villains fully developed. The father was not. In the end as she confronts him -- it's very dissapointing. I would have liked a greater insight into his mind.

-- I really wish that Ash had been made a male dog instead, because I couldn't distinguish in many sentences whether Lissar or Ash were being refferred to!

-- The writing is quite beautiful and intelligent and suprisingly free of cliches, especially considering this is a fantasy novel -- but it could have done with some more careful editing because many sentences are rather clunky and confusing.

-- As Lissar is an only child and the princess and heir of a vast and rich kingdom, I find it hard to believe that either her parents or court would have actually neglected her to the point that they did.

-- Her journey of self-discovery and healing is the essential part of this novel, but did it have to be so LONG and REPETITIVE?

-- The romance was dissapointing. Very, very dissapointing. Many others have commented on this as well -- but I just had to restate it.

Regardless, I did enjoy the story, but it will not become one of my favourites and as such, I think it will be a very long time before I reread it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not great, But so what?, Nov. 16 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Deerskin (Paperback)
Well, I will admit that I didn't really like reading all of part one, mainly at the beginning becuase all it was was explaining a bunch of stuff that I pesonally realy didn't think was worth knowing. However, when i got to the rest of the story i couldn't put it down! I was so into it! It is definatly a girl story, and I wouldn't recomend it to a boy, but the story was good. I would like to tell all those who have read the first part and no further that the dog does live. So if you weren't reading it because of this, keep going.
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4.0 out of 5 stars But what of the child of a "true love" story?, July 6 2004
By 
Mary Gollihugh "aka 'Ash' or Mariance" (On the Lake Erie Shoreline, PA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Deerskin (Hardcover)
I just finished rereading "Deerskin", which was part of the origins of my alias "Ash" on various music message board (like ChrisCaffery dot com - of the group "Savatage") Great book.
Good font, easy one the eyes for anyone with less than perfect vision.
Smooth writing style, great rewrite and update of the fairy tale "Donkeyskin", which I now wish to find!
Recommeded for anyone that has a fondness for animals, primarily dogs. If you have a greyhound ("Fleethounds" in this story) or know of one, you can see that the perspective is excellent. Please e-mail me if you are interested in rescuing a greyhound - in real life, October is the Killing Month, since that is when the racing season is over. Perhaps having had a greyhound makes this story even better, closer to the heart, for me.
Good characters (a few slips in the logic area) with a touch of mythology. (the Lady, Moonwoman etc)
The premise starts with a "true love" story of the 'most beautiful woman in seven kingdoms', and the man that wins her heart ... these two people, royals at that, are so in love to the exclusion of every one else ... they make an excellent team as King and Queen ... what is left for their daughter?
She is smart, but one really cares or notices until after the Queen dies. Lissar, the princess, and her true friend, the fleethound "Ash", stumble through the king's dementia over the loss of his queen, giving Lissar memories that she dares not remember. She takes the name of "Deerskin" after being gifted "the gift of time" as well as a few other things (such as a white deerskin dress that never needs cleaning - oh I wish!)
Some sexually explicit scenes., so it isn't suitable for young children, but reads as easily as a YA book.
Definately a 4.5 star book, one I recommend, and is a reread and a keeper.
For anyone grieving a loss, the truth is often that the only true thing that will help is that gift of time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of her Best, May 31 2004
This review is from: Deerskin (Mass Market Paperback)
I've read Deerskin at least four times! I find it extremely interesting and enjoyable. There is a rape scene, which can be disturbing, but isn't as graphic or "horrible" as several other books I was required to read in English class. Although I would not recommend this to younger teens, it is a wonderful book for everyone else. My favorite parts are of Lissar in the forest (the first time) and of her caring for the puppies with the prince. I McKinley had contiued the end out a little bit more (I do love love stories)...but I found it fulfilling enough. Read this book...if you like McKinley, then you'll love this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy tales don't come true ... and that's ok., May 19 2004
By 
Raein2001 "raein2001" (Modesto, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Deerskin (Mass Market Paperback)
I love this book. I've read it 4 times.
It begins like a classic fairy tale as the Princess Lissla Lissar learns about the courtship and marriage of her parents. Their history together is the stuff of myth and legend, and their fairy-tale romance has made them the most popular, fashionable couple in the Kingdom's history. Even the language lends itself to classic tale-telling--it is lyrical and visual with plenty of superlatives (ie. Lissar's mother is the most beautiful woman in seven kingdoms.) But the author asks herself some important questions: What if it were true?? What if a woman really was that beautiful? What if her intended really did risk life and limb on an impossible quest to win her hand? This stuff happens in fairy tales all the time, but what if it happened in real life? The answer is one that many fantasy readers aren't ready for. McKinley postulates that such a relationship would foster a sick co-dependence and any children in the equation would be mere afterthoughts.
There are several clues right from the beginning that all is not well, but they are subtle. Many previous reviewers don't understand how things could suddenly change from fairy-tale perfect to dark horror, but they have missed the important point that things were never REALLY perfect! The story is written from the point of view of a child who grows up to realize her parents aren't the heroes she believed them to be (don't we all?). As she learns, the clues become less subtle and more internal to the character's perspective.

Isn't it always great tragedy that sets up the opportunity for tremendous human kindness? This story is a beautiful example of just that. Yes, it deals with incest and rape, but is does so briefly and tastefully. There are no cheap Nora Roberts-esque graphics here.
In a nutshell, this is a great survival story of the Robinson Crusoe variety. And don't worry, the bad guy gets what is coming to him.
Although Deerskin is a Reality Tale, it never loses its lyrical quality, and it contains enough traditional magic and myth that the fantasy reader is completely satisfied. Now, please excuse me. I have to go read it again...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Take the Good with the Bad, April 15 2004
By 
This review is from: Deerskin (Mass Market Paperback)
It's the tale of your usual most-beautiful-princess - with a twist. Her father decides to marry her after her mother's death, the tale has a rather graphic assault scene to end Part One, and a weak ending to indicate happy ever after. I found Part One (84 pages) very tiresome and tedious, with the language very 'fairy-tale-like', which is great in a short fairy tale but not so fun in a book. However, I slogged through and found that Part Two was much lovelier and worth the wait. Part Three was good, but not the rousing conclusion that Part Three merited. As much as I like McKinley, and as much as I enjoyed Part Two of the novel, I have to rate it lower since the beginning and end weren't as pleasing
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not too good, but not bad either., March 29 2004
This review is from: Deerskin (Mass Market Paperback)
While I wouldn't go so far as to say this book was excellent, I would have no qualms about giving it to children just because of the incest themes. Stories like these can be very helpful to kids who've been molested by a parental figure. Children who are fortunate enough not to have had this experience should still know that it exists, and a folktale is an excellent way to bring it to their attention.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth it, Feb. 17 2004
By 
Michele Slack "book bean" (Lehi, UT USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Deerskin (Mass Market Paperback)
If you're looking at this because you're a fan of the other McKinley books, I'd skip it. It has a disturbing rape scene at the beginning & is definetly not for children. I am willing to read things like that if the story is worth it, but I didn't think it went anywhere or was interesting. I'm a huge fan of Robin McKinley but I threw this book away.
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Deerskin
Deerskin by Robin McKinley (Turtleback - July 1994)
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