Robin McKinley

If you judge by the reader comments in the review sections of, fans of Robin McKinley are a varied bunch. While all of her books can be filed under “fantasy”, the scope and tone of her writing varies wildly with every book. People who loved the lush fantasy of the Newbery Award-winning The Hero and The Crown and The Blue Sword were left cold by the odd, dreamy pacing and half-explained world of Sunshine. People who enjoyed her charmingly unsentimental versions of Beauty and the Beast and Robin Hood were perfectly appalled by Deerskin, a horrific retelling of Charles Perault’s (already pretty creepy) Donkeyskin story. So this particular Wordcandy recommendation comes with a warning: all of Ms. McKinley’s books are awesome, but the best way to enjoy them is to avoid forming any preconceived notions about the contents of the others.

Mostly that I periodically see copies of Deerskin shelved in the little kids’ section of bookstores. This is a book with an incestuous rape scene, people. It’s an excellent book, and if the kid is mature enough to handle it, great, but please don’t just grab it off the fantasy shelf and ship it off to your nine-year-old niece, thinking, “Hey, the kid likes Harry Potter, right?”.


Other Recommendations:
The Dark is Rising Sequence, by Susan Cooper

Possession, by A. S. Byatt

Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause

The Wrinkle in Time series, by Madeleine L’Engle

Snow-White and Rose-Red, by Patricia C. Wrede

Anything by Gail Carson Levine (for younger fans)

Anything by Diana Wynne Jones (for older fans)

Anything by Laurell K. Hamilton (for fans of legal age)

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Posted by: Julia


06 Mar, 2005 01:04 PM @ version 0

I like all of McKinley's full-length novels but her short stories are nowhere near as good.

01 Apr, 2005 09:53 AM @ version 0

One of my all time favorite books is Spindle's End. The Hero and the Crown is pretty good too, but my favorite is Spindle's End.

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