Friday, May 30, 2008

A Magical Fantasy

I've recently reread The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip.

The prose, oh my goodness, it's like flowing poetry, like a song from ancient days. The descriptive words of the story fill a space in my heart, my mind, a space that I didn't know was there. Her prose is lush, compelling, it's hard to describe, you have to read it for yourself:

"Sybel sat long among the trees after Gules Lyon had gone. The sky darkened; leaves whirled withered in endless circles above her. The wind was cold as the cold metal of locked books. It came across the snowcapped peak of Eld, down through the wet chill mists to moan in the great trees of her garden. She thought of Tam running bare-armed, barefoot through the sweet summer grass and the tiny wild flowers, shouting at great hawks with the voices of rough mountain children echoing his. Then her thoughts slipped away from her to the silent rooms and towers of wizards she had stolen books from. She had listened to them arguing with one another, watched them working, and then she had smiled and gone quietly away, carrying ancient, priceless books before they had even realized anyone had come."

I really, really like this author. She wrote a series, The Riddle Master of Hed is the first book, that also fills that need for an ancient tale of magic and love and intrigue and revenge. I'll talk about the Riddle Master series later, I want to reread the trilogy again. Let me just say that it's an underappreciated masterpiece that just as complex and magical and wonderful as The Lord of the Rings.

You can find a list of her books and other information at More information can be found at --

According to the website, she lives in Oregon. I think I may try to look her up one day when I'm in Oregon, invite her for coffee, just so we can talk for a while about her books and poetry.

I really recommend not just reading her books, but buying a set for your personal library. These are DEEP and every time you reread them, you'll find new nuances, new ideas to contemplate. I'd also recommend that teachers put them on the shelf for elective reading.

Seriously, check her books out.

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