So, Robin McKinley is clearly one of my favorite authors. I have several posts about her books—although, I should probably delete or re-write the one on Dragonhaven—but here’s another one.
One of the reasons that I enjoy reading McKinley’s books is because they continue to surprise me; I re-read Deerskin, Spindle’s End, and Sunshine recently. And I noticed that there were references in Deerskin and Spindle’s End about Damar, which is where The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword take place. Neither book is in Damar, but they are little off-hand lines that acknowledge the existence of the other continent.
That’s different; something that links all her books—you know, other than the fact that she wrote them. And I realized that I like Spindle’s End more than I thought. It wasn’t one of my go-to books before, but I like the idea of a Sleeping Beauty that saves herself and marries the blacksmith instead of the prince. And it’s a different kind of magic- magic that permeates the continent and is somewhat of a nuisance instead of a cure-all.
I really like that magic isn’t a cure-all in Spindle’s End.
And Deerskin is still a book that I like to read, but I can only read it in small doses. Actually, I can only read Sunshine in small doses too. Um… maybe there are parts of all of McKinley’s books that I can only read in small doses.
Because it isn’t just these three books that I like/own—I own most of her books and I continue to read and buy them because she has a very interesting writing style. You open the book and sometimes you are dropped right in the middle of the action. With Sunshine, you enter Rae’s head and you follow her thoughts and actions and people don’t think in a linear fashion. Rae’s thoughts are all over the place, the way that Jake’s thoughts in Dragonhaven are.
It’s not this happened, followed by this, which caused this. Rae explains that this is her life in the moment and there are a few things from her past and this is what she thinks about herself and her family and maybe this isn’t a good thing but the world might be ending.
Also, all of her books seem plausible—yes, there are dragons or vampires or magic, but the world might have been like this at one point or maybe the world will be like the book, particularly Sunshine and Dragonhaven.
And my last particular like for McKinley’s books is that you are kind of dragged along with the action. I spend a lot of time thinking, “Did I miss something?” but I spend a lot of time doing that in real life too. Sometimes we trip through life, the way I trip through McKinley’s books. It’s fun.
I always feel challenged by McKinley’s books, which is probably why I continue to go back to them. No matter how old I am, I can get sucked into them and remember what it was like the last time I read a certain book. However, I do go forward and find new things in the books and in life. It isn’t like reading some of my old favorites; I re-read Tamora’s Pierce’s books and I breeze through them in an hour- they are too easy for me to read at this stage.
I need to take a few days to read a Robin McKinley book—and a cup of good coffee and maybe a cookie too.