Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley was born in Warren, Ohio on November 16, 1952. She graduated from Bowdoin College in 1975 and her first novel, Beauty, was published in 1978. She has received numerous awards for her work including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown; a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword; the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature for Sunshine; and the World Fantasy Award for Imaginary Lands. Her other works include Spindle's End; The Outlaws of Sherwood; Rose Daughter; A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories; Chalice; and Shadows.
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The New York Times–bestselling author of Rose Daughter reimagines the classic French fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast.

I was the youngest of three daughters. Our literal-minded mother named us Grace, Hope, and Honour. . . . My father still likes to tell the story of how I acquired my odd nickname: I had come to him for further information when I first discovered that our names meant something besides you-come-here. He succeeded in explaining grace and hope, but he had some difficulty trying to make the concept of honour understandable to a five-year-old. . . . I said: ‘Huh! I’d rather be Beauty.’ . . . 

By the time it was evident that I was going to let the family down by being plain, I’d been called Beauty for over six years. . . . I wasn’t really very fond of my given name, Honour, either . . . as if ‘honourable’ were the best that could be said of me. 

The sisters’ wealthy father loses all his money when his merchant fleet is drowned in a storm, and the family moves to a village far away. Then the old merchant hears what proves to be a false report that one of his ships had made it safe to harbor at last, and on his sad, disappointed way home again he becomes lost deep in the forest and has a terrifying encounter with a fierce Beast, who walks like a man and lives in a castle. The merchant’s life is forfeit, says the Beast, for trespass and the theft of a rose—but he will spare the old man’s life if he sends one of his daughters: “Your daughter would take no harm from me, nor from anything that lives in my lands.” When Beauty hears this story—for her father had picked the rose to bring to her—her sense of honor demands that she take up the Beast’s offer, for “cannot a Beast be tamed?”

This “splendid story” by the Newbery Medal–winning author of The Hero and the Crown has been named an ALA Notable Book and a Phoenix Award Honor Book (Publishers Weekly).
 
From the Newbery Medal–winning author of The Hero and the Crown: the story of a princess who flees her father’s unwanted attention and finds an unexpected new life.

Princess Lissla Lissar is the only child of the king and his queen, who was the most beautiful woman in seven kingdoms. Everyone loved the splendid king and his matchless queen so much that no one had any attention to spare for the princess, who grew up in seclusion, listening to the tales her nursemaid told about her magnificent parents.

But the queen takes ill of a mysterious wasting disease and on her deathbed extracts a strange promise from her husband: “I want you to promise me . . . you will only marry someone as beautiful as I was.”

The king is crazy with grief at her loss, and slow to regain both his wits and his strength. But on Lissar’s seventeenth birthday, two years after the queen’s death, there is a grand ball, and everyone present looks at the princess in astonishment and whispers to their neighbors, How like her mother she is!

On the day after the ball, the king announces that he is to marry again—and that his bride is the princess Lissla Lissar, his own daughter.

Lissar, physically broken, half mad, and terrified, flees her father’s lust with her one loyal friend, her sighthound, Ash. It is the beginning of winter as they journey into the mountains—and on the night when it begins to snow, they find a tiny, deserted cabin with the makings of a fire ready-laid in the hearth.

Thus begins Lissar’s long, profound, and demanding journey away from treachery and pain and horror, to trust and love and healing.
Think of yourself out of your comfy chair and your nice house with the roads and the streetlights outside—and the ceiling overhead low enough that a fifty-foot dragon can’t stand on her hind legs and not bump her head—and think yourself into a cavern full of dragons. Go on. Try.

Jake lives with his scientist father at the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies in Smokehill National Park. Smokehill is home to about two hundred of the few remaining Draco australiensis, which is extinct in the wild.

There are five million acres of the Smokehill wilderness and the dragons rarely show themselves. Jack’s never seen one except deep in the park and at a distance. They stay away from the Institute—and the tourists. But dragon conservation is controversial. Detractors say dragons are much too dangerous and much too expensive, and should be destroyed. Supporters say there is no record of their doing anything more threatening than eating sheep, there are only a few hundred of them left at best and they must be protected.

But they are up to eighty feet long (plus tail) and breathe fire.

On Jake’s first overnight solo in the park, he meets a dragon—the thing that he would have said he wanted above everything else in the world. But this dragon is dying—dying next to the human she has killed. Jake knowns this news could destroy Smokehill. The dead man is clearly a poacher who attacked first, but that will be lost in the outcry against dragons. But then Jake notices something even more urgent: the dragon has just given birth, and one of the babies is still alive…
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