Lissla has always lived in the shadow of her parents, the king and queen. Lissla’s mother was the most beautiful woman in all the kingdoms, and the king was deeply in love with her. Due to illness, the queen dies when Lissla is fifteen, and the king’s heart is shattered. As a mourning gift, Lissla receives Ash, a greyhound puppy, from a prince in a neighboring kingdom.
Years pass, and Ash has grown to be Lissla’s best friend. The princess is still not getting much attention at court, until her father notices how similar Lissla looks to her late mother at a ball celebrating her seventeenth birthday. The king becomes obsessed with her, leading to an act so horrible, she loses her memory and runs away with Ash. The journey is difficult, and Lissla almost dies one day. But a moon goddess heals her, and changes her and Ash’s appearance so that they are unrecognizable.
Lissla and Ash continue until they reach another kingdom. She finds work in the royal kennel, run by Prince Ossin, the same prince who gave her Ash when she was younger. The two become close as they work together. Memories gradually return to her, and one day, she fully remembers her old life and what was done to her. How will she face her fears? And can she find peace in her life?
Overall, I enjoyed Deerskin. However, the beginning of the novel felt slow to me, because Lissla’s inner monologues rambled on. Things finally start to pick up once you pass the first third of the novel. Deerskin is great for readers who enjoy heartfelt relationships between characters and their dogs, or for those who like to broach darker topics.