Od Magic
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Od Magic

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  2,168 ratings  ·  187 reviews
Brenden Vetch has a gift. With an innate sense he cannot explain to himself or describe to others, he connects to the agricultural world, nurturing gardens to flourish and instinctively knowing the healing properties each plant and herb has to offer. But Brenden’s gift isolates him from people—and from becoming part of a community. Until the day he receives a personal invi...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 6th 2006 by Ace Trade (first published June 7th 2005)
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McKillip is a pleasure to read. She writes these little books that are more like fairy tales than they are anything else. They are finely drawn, beautifully detailed, perfect stories that make you think of the beautiful miniatures of another era. She borrows themes from old fairy tales and weaves them together into something surprising and new.

She doesn't write with the depth or character development of someone like Guy Gavriel Kay, but they're not meant to. While he writes novels that are like...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I've read a few books by Patricia A. McKillip. Some I really didn't get into but some drew me in and stayed with me. When I read The Riddle-Master of Hed I found an amazing world and struggled with the wait between each book. Here we've got another world that grows around you and absorbs you into it.

Od is a giantess who seems to have lived hundreds or even thousands of years. She in the past established a school of wizardry in an old cobbler's shop. After establishing her school she wandered off...more
Althea Ann
McKillip is one of my most favorite authors. I find myself hoarding her books, waiting for the perfect time to read them - because I know they're going to be perfect. (I know this makes no sense, and I will likely die with wonderful books unread due to this horrible tendency.)
McKillip's books remind me of neo-medieval bands (Qntal, Faun, etc.). They are deeply rooted in tradition, but unmistakably new. They are pure without being innocent, complex without being muddy.
That said, some of her books...more
Centuries ago, the mysterious giantess Odd founded a school of magic in the heart of the king’s city. Wizards learn there, magic ruled and regulated by the state. And once in a while Odd shows herself again, sending someone of her choosing down to the school as she does Brenden, the wild and untrained gardener of enormous natural power. Brenden is just one of many magicians in this book – the frustrated teacher tired of ruling his magic and his tongue, the king’s daughter secreting away her tiny...more
Jenny Shipp
I loved this book. It is so like Patricia McKillip, it is light and fanciful. She is always wandering in fantasy worlds. But I loved this one. Basically a community gets hide-bound and tight and a group of people come through the town. They are tumblers, theater people, full of play and magic and they terrify the powers that be. It just struck me, how serious our lives are. OK, maybe I'm talking about my life but really, everyone needs more glitter, masks, music, costumes and Play. And lots more...more
McKillip is absolutely wonderful at writing fantastic stories, but in this book she made so many odd choices (no pun intended). I think the main problem is that she wanted to tell too many stories and, for me, I felt that she focused on the wrong one. Brendan's story, so well developed in the first chapter, was not touched upon nearly enough, and for most of the plot he seems a backdrop to the princess and Tyramin. This also leads to the problem that there are far too many "main characters" that...more
I missed this book when it came out, and stumbled across it just a few days ago. It shares a few ideas with her earlier works, but it felt much more polished and I found it hard to put down.
Od is powerful and eccentric, even in terms familiar to readers of fantasy. She makes Merlin and Gandalf look positively normal. Centuries before this story takes place, she founded a school for magicians, and it has mostly operated without her all this time. The thing is, she keeps popping in every few decad...more
Od is the founder of a school of magic. She appears one day when Brenden is eating lunch in his garden:

Any number of animals seemed to be crawling over her. Mice peered from one shoulder; a raven with a missing claw perched on the other. Lizards clung to her hair. A ferret stuck its head out of her cloak pocket. A great albino ox with a broken horn stood at a polite distance behind her, downwind, or Brenden surely would have smelled it coming. It carried an owl on its unbroken horn. A few mongr
Good book; not her best. I'll forgive her for cribbing a quarter of it from Harpist In the Wind, even though she didn't turn himself into a fish when she was turning him into stuff. (I always liked the fish thing.) It's quite good up till the last chapter, which reads like she was up against a very short deadline. You want to say, "Oh no, PM, too trite, too pat--he gave in way too quickly--gimme a break." Maybe she was out of disk space, or something. But I liked the many wild, different charact...more
I think the best thing about this book was the cover art…and that is where the interest ended for me. I am a little surprised that this book got so much praise from other readers because I actually found myself drifting off and thinking of other things repetitively while reading this book. It was that boring! Don’t get me wrong because the book wasn't horrible, but just not memorable. In addition, the plot and characterization seemed so simple it was almost like it was written for a child or a t...more
Once upon a time, a woman well-versed in magic saved a king, and in gratitude, the king let her found a school for magic in his kingdom. But he never learned to trust the mages it produced... Od Magic is about the king's descendants rather than the king himself, and Od herself touches on the plot briefly at best. But that starting point is enough to set the main conflict: on the one side, there's the king and allied mages who believe magic and magical training should only happen under close guid...more
This book was a bit of a weird one, and not in a particularly good way. I was confused and turned off by how muddled the message of this book was.

So, the basic premise of the book is that the King (named Galen) is a man who is scared of wizardry (because he "is scared of power, of which he has none") and thus the citizens of his country live in a vaguely totalitarian world, where if you are found practicing "unregulated" magic you either get exiled from the country or have wizards invade your m...more
A fairytale set in a world where monarchs rule over everything including the use of magic that helps and threatens the very existence of the land of Numis.

But the wizards are about to choose their fate towards the use of their gifts.

McKillip weaves the magic thread of creating a world where marriage of princesses and princes are a part of their duty, and Love- is but a chance.
I enjoyed this much more than some of McKillip's other post-Hed books. Her style of prose makes it often difficult to be sure exactly was has happened, and there's so much focus on the language of the heart and the mind that sometimes it's hard to see that anything *is* happening. At the same time, this is closest to the grounded world she created in the Hed books, though neither Brenden, Yar, or Aneth are Morgon, and neither Sulys nor Mistral comes close to Raederle.

Beyond that, there are thes...more
This started off pretty interesting with Brendan and then it bored me for awhile. By the time I was interested again, I was ready for it to be over.

I love the cover art though and I liked that the story is just this small little section in time.
There is an almost leisurely pace to the book. The descriptions are wonderful, but at times the plot feels a little too slow. In some ways, I think the plot would've worked better as a poem than as a novel, if that makes sense.
This is a book about seeing past the end of your nose and that you can not define the world by what you want to believe is real. If you struggle to make yourself heard, you will find sympathy in this book.
Aaron Carson
I'm a big fan of Mckillip. This one took a bit of getting into, but I felt she outlined her philosophy about magic rather well, and it so happens to match so nicely with mine. The essence of the philosophy is that the purpose of magic is the sense of exploration and discovery it engenders. It is not necessarily a means of attaining power, or dominance over others.

The world created in this book was so interesting, I felt a bit more could have been put into exploring at and filling out the adventu...more
Beautifully quiet McKillip story of a gardener invited to a school of magic, an entertainer who just shows up and entertains in the Twilight Quarter of the city, and of course they are more than what they seem. Then there's the King and his wizards and the school of wizardry all of which uphold the laws of magic. And then there's Od—she who saved the kingdom centuries ago and originally founded the school of wizardry. Oh, and she's the one who sent the gardener to the school of magic, and had hi...more
McKillip does not disappoint. I enjoyed this book immensely--how the different strands all interwove, how even seemingly-unsympathetic characters had motivations for their actions. The different kinds of magic fascinated me, as well as the view of a school of magic from the teacher's perspective. McKillip writes fantastical fantasy but the worlds she creates, no matter how full of enchantment and strangeness, no matter how much they resemble the gorgeously oneiric Kinuko Y. Craft covers, always...more
Find this and other reviews posted at http://momsbookbanter.blogspot.com/. A gardener with unrealized magical capacity in a fantasy adventure sounds like the makings of a great story to me. This story has almost everything you need and want in a fantasy novel. The imagery in McKillip’s adventure was amazing; my favorite parts being the descriptions of the twilight quarter and the magician’s performances. Her descriptions were so vivid I felt transported to the performance. As we read along, seve...more
Brenden Vetch is a strange gardener who listens to the world. One day he is recruited by Od to be a special gardener at her school. Od is a driving force but a silent one during the novel. She saved a city in exchange for the right to found a school of magic. Instead of becoming a place of discovery and learning, the school became restrictive and political. No magic was allowed to exist in the kingdom unless it was controlled by the school and the school did not attempt at extending their knowle...more
Siriusstar Desrosiers
This was a truly beautiful tale with exquisite prose. There is a distance in the storytelling that gives it a folk legend or fairytale feel. There were times I longed for the intimacy of the more traditional novel because I felt as if I wanted to know Brenden better than the prose would allow. Brenden remains distant and frightened of the designs of those in the world around him. We see his feelings and actions, but not so much his character, if that makes sense.

There are many threads in this r...more
I'm starting to think you have to read McKillip from a very right-brained perspective. Od Magic is all mood and veils, with its thin characters moving along a thin surface along their different stories. The result is a little too slight when the short page count is divided amongst so many subplots (actually none even emerges as a main plot), even for the effortless style she's concocted. I really would've been intrigued by a whole novel about a garderner wizard, or one about the performing magic...more
Before this book, my favorites of Patricia McKillip were Winter Rose and The Riddlemaster trilogy. Now, Od Magic is a serious contender to replace these two. I know I should let a few days pass , to let my enthusiasm cool and maybe do a review, but I've been thoroughly enchanted by the story here.

What threads link and draw together "a gardener, a trick monger, a sentence in an ancient scroll"? Od Magic is the journey to find out. It starts up in the northern wastes of Numis with a young man who...more
Patricia McKillip is one of my favorite writers. I have been with her since I first read The Forgotten Beats of Eld. For a few years, I was out of the loop and had not picked up one of her books. I had Od Magic in the house but never read it. In late summer I read it and just was carried away. McKillip's prose reads like poetry. It is dense but never too much so. Her descriptions are lyrical and sensual. I always feel like I have stepped into her stories. She creates mythology, taking some of th...more
Mary Moore
This is by far my favorite McKillip novel. Her prose is enchanting as always, but there is something about the story that really catches me.
Fantasy writers often lose something when they become linked to a publishing house. They begin to churn out pale versions of their original works for the sake of more sales, whether it be under pressure of their publishers/agents or for their own gain. It is, unfortunately, not a surprise to a fan/reader when they pick up a newer book by their favorite fant...more
It took me awhile to remember where I got this book. There it was in my bookshelf -- magically appearing! And by one of my favorite authors, Patricia McKillip. After awhile I remembered that I'd bought it in California at a discount bookstore just before I moved back to New England. It got packed up and unpacked three thousand miles away with my other books, then left to sit there until last Sunday, when, looking for a book, I grabbed it on the way out the door as we went whale watching.

Od Magic...more
Kathy Davie
Odly enough, I didn’t find Od Magic to be as poetic as other McKillips I have read. It felt more as though it were a compilation of other of her stories.

We start with a sad story of Brenden Vetch nursing his brother and village through a terrible disease after losing their parents in the initial onslaught of the illness. His brother takes off into the world while Brenden chooses to stay and thoroughly immerse himself into the magic of the natural world around him. As Brenden roams, he comes acr...more
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Patricia Anne McKillip is an American author of fantasy and science fiction novels, distinguished by lyrical, delicate prose and careful attention to detail and characterization. She is a past winner of the World Fantasy Award and Locus Award, and she lives in Oregon. Most of her recent novels have cover paintings by Kinuko Y. Craft. She is married to David Lunde, a poet.

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More about Patricia A. McKillip...
Riddle-Master: The Complete Trilogy (Riddle-Master, #1-3) The Forgotten Beasts of Eld The Riddle-Master of Hed (Riddle-Master, #1) Heir of Sea and Fire (Riddle-Master, #2) Winter Rose (Winter Rose, #1)

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“But dear, you hate to sew.

I will be married soon. Lady Thiel says a woman with needlework in her hands is generally assumed to have no other thoughts in her head and can safely harbor any number of improprieties. That will come in handy, especially when I'm married to a wizard.”
“I don't teach lies, but I do not teach all I know is true.” 4 likes
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