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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  86 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Ariane came to visit Sylvie at midwinter, hoping to rekindle the old magic of their girlhood game: the Nine Worlds, a fantastical universe founded in a handful of marbles and a tarot of cards, whose myths and kingdoms the two friends had chronicled between them. But when Sylvie disappeared in a moonlit wood, Ariane followed her - not into the familiar ground of their fanta ...more
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Prime Books (first published 1991)
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Jan 12, 2011 Genevieve rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Pamela Dean, Alan Garner, King Lear, The Winter's Tale, Gawain & the Green Knight
Recommended to Genevieve by: the internet
A tangled wild wood of a book, written in a sort of low Jacobean style that I found mostly delightful but occasionally infuriating. It's a quest story, except not. Its magic is very much in touch with the seasons, the turning of the year; it builds a world in which the bones of myth jut up out of the earth, the one subtending the other. Also the first and probably the last book that I've read in which knowing the vocabulary of contra dancing came in handy. A wonderful book to dip into and savor ...more
"There is a type of young woman we have all either known or been; who worships at the alter of the Romantic; plays old border ballads on pennywhistle, recorder, or hammer dulcimer; tacks a hand-lettered sign reading MAGIC IS AFOOT on her dormitory room door; reads the Tarot for friends and The White Goddess for pleasure; and treasures a hundred obscure books by measure of how close they come to an ideal world in which gypsies and scarecrows, old marbles and long skirts, elves, quilts, candles, ...more
Allen Garvin
Probably the most poetic prose you'll ever encounter in a novel: this book is filled from beginning to end with delightful phrases, beautiful imagery, little bits of word play, achingly beautiful prose. The story echoes many traditional myths and folktales, and is engrossing in itself, but it's the fabulous writing that makes this one of the best fantasies ever written.
What can I say about this gorgeous little book? This world contained within two, flimsy paperback pages? It’s stunning. There are, I’d imagine, a lot of folks who wouldn’t find it as endearing as I, that would find it tiresome and confusing. That’s fine. It’s not a book for everyone. It IS, however, a book for those who love exquisite world building and who love language. Correction: Gilman doesn’t build a world: it’s already there and she is simply its scribe. She uses words in their truest and ...more
R. Izumi
I tried several times to get through this one but finally gave up. The author is a little too fond of arcane words and while having a good vocabulary is certainly desirable, hauling around a heavy unabridged dictionary is a lot of work for a paperback I was reading for "fun."
I feel like I need to preface this review: if you are a hardcore fantasy fan this might be something you should struggle through for the few moments of clarity and true fantasy. In my experience this is a seminal piece of fantasy writing, but its not an easy read by any means.

I had incredibly hard time reading this book because while the language was beautiful and Shakespearean, it was very difficult to parse out what was actually being said due to the use of rural speech patterns and old Englis
Rena McGee
This is not a book review. It is not even the opposite of a book review. It is a sideways book review that takes a trip into the unknown lands of Faery, but not too far in because the reader is unable to figure out what the heck is going on, but the words look pretty so she keeps trying to delve deeper into the book. Unfortunately, she is soon brought up short by not being able to follow what the heck is going on, because the prose is not only purple, its purple in a completely different languag ...more
Katherine Harbour
This lyrically written book is presumably set in modern Britain, but the language used to tell the story is old and fey. When young and practical Ariane comes to visit her best friend, Sylvie, in a house in the woods, Sylvie is lured away into a dark otherworld of witches and tricksters. There are stories woven throughout, which Ariane uses as a sort of map to find her friend. It's the language here that makes this book stand out, because it defines the world and the story you soon become lost i ...more
Jun 30, 2007 Yoon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sff
This is thin on plot--a mysterious man, two women and their fantasy world Cloud, and something of quests--but oh, how the language is rich. Unfortunately, it also contains a lot of dialect or archaic vocabulary that I never did manage to find in the dictionaries I had at home, so it's entirely possible I missed out on whole swaths of the action. Not something I'd recommend for everyone, but if you like the first chapter, definitely give it a go.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Seems a bit like Lud-in-the-Mist, with slightly more obscure language. (I consider myself an extremely experienced end user of English but there were a couple words I had to look up because I couldn't completely infer their meaning from context ... this doesn't happen to me very much.) Seems intriguing, but my hands are just too full right now.
I really liked this book but hardly anyone I know did. It's a verbally beautiful book that I think you have to read a few times. For one thing the book spirals into the story so as you go inward - it becomes clearer and you understand the journey the two women take. The dialect Gilman uses often puts people off I think. But I read it over and over for the words and the invented mythologies.
I'm not a poetic person, so all of this just annoyed me. Also here I was thinking I had a pretty decent vocabulary, yet I needed to find a dictionary to help me more than once for each page. The book sounds interesting and I wish I could finish it and find out what happens, but I just couldn't get into it, oh well.
There should be a category for "about to give up on" under the "currently reading" heading. I'm finding it pretty much unreadable. I like the author personally and have always found her witty and interesting. I read her LJ posts (see nineweaving). I have been trying to drag myself through this book and just can't.
felt the need for a dictionary about every other sentence. got rather lost in the plot and wondering exactly what was going on. difficult to slog through. kept the book with the intention to reread and hopefully make sense of it one day.
Sherwood Smith
This book caught my eye when it first came out. At times it was a struggle to read, not because the prose is awkward (far from it!) or difficult (which it is) but because the tone tended to sustain itself. Gilman's abilities have soared far beyond.
I remember this one. The writing is poetic and the idea a good one, but the language is too dense in places and impedes the flow of the story. I ought to read it again sometime; it's been many years and my opinion may change.
I re-read this book every Autumn. I love the rhythm of her prose. Had a hard time when I first started reading it until I started reading it out loud. Beautiful book!
More like failed to read. Twice. Could not get past the first 30 pages. Too much effusive description before you know anything about the characters.
Lily C
I found that the words hid the story.
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Reading Greer Gilman: Moonwise 24 12 Aug 02, 2012 08:54PM  
  • Map of Dreams
  • The Porcelain Dove
  • Fudoki
  • Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light
  • The Labyrinth
  • Song for the Basilisk
  • Winterlong (Winterlong, #1)
  • The Tricksters
  • The House of Discarded Dreams
  • Pride of Kings
  • Prince of the Godborn: Seven Citadels Part One (Seven Citadels, #1)
  • The Night Watch (Resurrection Man, #2)
  • The Innamorati
  • Lifelode
  • In the Forest of Forgetting
  • The Dubious Hills
  • Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. Beagle
  • Viriconium
Greer Gilman has been writing stories set in Cloud, her Northern mythscape, for a quarter of a century. Her love of British lore and landscape, of its rituals and ballads, is a constant in her work; her love of language at its roots. Her books are written for the ear, as much as for the understanding. Like the earliest stories, they are meant to be sung.

Greer Ilene Gilman was educated at Wellesley
More about Greer Gilman...
Cloud and Ashes: Three Winter's Tales Cry Murder! in a Small Voice Exit, Pursued by a Bear A Crowd of Bone The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fourteenth Annual Collection

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