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Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley is a talented, but not very prolific author. Many of her novels are based on legends or fairy tales, but with the exception of Deerskin, I'm fond of them all.


This is McKinley's earliest novel, and is a fairly straight-forward retelling of the fairy tale. The characters lose their extremities-- Beauty is no longer beautiful, her sisters are no longer wicked. Beauty, who is somewhat plain, prides herself on her learning and is utterly practical. The Beast is equally likable, and the whole thing is purely magical.


This is another retelling of Beauty and the Beast, written some twenty years after Beauty. The style is very different-- very much more surreal and beautiful (think Patricia A. McKillip. The characters are a little colder, a little distant, and roses and magic, rather than people, are the emphasis. There is some wonderful back story involved, lots of different roses, unique magic, dreams, statues, etc. Surprisingly different from Beauty, but equally readable.


In this retelling of the familiar Robin Hood myth, the realities of living in the forest are explored. It no longer is a glorious, heroic life, but rather a hard one. Characters gain dimension and life, and the antagonists are not wholly wicked. If Robin occasionally comes across as a bit flat, Maid Marian and the other companions make up for it.


Aerin-sol, the daughter of a witchwoman who had married the king, was ignored by almost everyone in her father's court. When she discovers a musty book with a fire-proofing spell, she goes on to become a dragon-slayer, and then far beyond that to become the wielder of the Blue Sword...and a true hero. This book has it all; battles, magic, dragons and love. The story is a familiar epic, made memorable by the living characters, the prose, and the world.


Set years after the events in The Hero and the Crown, Angharad is abducted by the desert riders led by Corlath and caught up in the cultural clash in which she has a destiny to fulfull. Not as good as Hero, and I *hated* the last chapter, but quite readable otherwise.


This is an utterly charming, whimsical retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale. Although the prose is wonderful and witty, the character development, of the humans in particular, is a little lacking. I would have liked to see more of Narl and gotten to know the whole crew better.


A retelling of the unpopular fairy tale, Donkeyskin, Lissar is forced to flee after being raped by her father. She is given a new name and appearance by the Goddess until she recovers enough to accept who she is again. Warning-- some of this is quite graphic and I didn't enjoy it as much as her other books.


A collection of four longer stories. Two are retold fairy tales, fleshed out and beautiful versions of The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Frog Prince, and two original fairy tales, equally beautiful and enjoyable.

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