Book Review: The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley

Book Review: The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley

Title: The Door in the Hedge
Author: Robin McKinley
Publisher: Firebird
Paperback: 224 pages
Source: Chicago Public Library
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

Robin McKinley here spins two new fairy tales and retells two cherished classics. All feature princesses touched with or by magic. There is Linadel, who lives in a kingdom next to Faerieland, where princesses are stolen away on their seventeenth birthdays-and Linadel’s seventeenth birthday is tomorrow. And Korah, whose brother is bewitched by the magical Golden Hind; now it is up to her to break the spell. Rana must turn to a talking frog to help save her kingdom from the evil Aliyander. And then there are the twelve princesses, enspelled to dance through the soles of their shoes every night.

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Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Robin McKinley’s strong suit is not short stories. Her books usually start off slow and take a while to warm up and become interesting, and with short stories, that sort of thing just doesn’t work out as well. While the stories themselves had interesting plots, the way McKinley writes most of them is plodding, to say the least. The first story kept losing my interest, but I know how her writing works, so I continued on, regardless of how bored I was from her initial set-up. With that said, however, the first story is by far the weakest and the stories only get stronger and more interesting as the book moves along, which I really appreciated. Well done on whoever created the chronology for this anthology, because the best stories were put last, so there was only buildup and things to look forward to rather than reading a great story at first and then getting disappointed by the next one.

I’m a huge fan of fairy tales, which is part of the reason why I picked up this book. I very much enjoyed the retelling of the Princess and the Frog. While predictable, it was still an interesting twist on the original tale, and I absolutely LOVED the twelve dancing princesses retelling. It could have been several pages shorter, but it was overall quite well done.

Basically, this is great if you’re a fan of fairy tales and Robin McKinley. It takes a lot to to get through the set ups of most of the stories, but they do have some sort of payoff that I felt was worthwhile. It’s not amazing by any means, nor are these particular retellings must-reads, but they’re great if you’re in need for a fairy tale fix.

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