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Od Magic

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,688 Ratings  ·  221 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 invit ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 6th 2006 by Ace (first published June 7th 2005)
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Jan 13, 2009 Brittany rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Mike (the Paladin)
Mar 12, 2013 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Althea Ann
Sep 05, 2012 Althea Ann rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 28, 2008 Lightreads rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
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
May 22, 2015 Andrea marked it as flipped-to-the-end  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, audiobook
Not a successful story for me, I think in part because it seemed quite clear at the outset where the story was going. With so many viewpoint characters, it seemed to be taking an inordinately long time getting there (I have a strong preference for fewer viewpoints, not more). I was also bugged by the plotline of the princess, ordered to marry and not pleased with it. It just didn't seem to fit with the world, where every other woman we see seems to be having careers or, at least, possess conside ...more
Jenny Shipp
Jan 09, 2010 Jenny Shipp rated it really liked it
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
Mary Moore
Oct 11, 2013 Mary Moore rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 14, 2011 Desclian rated it it was ok
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
Jul 30, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-adult
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
Sep 12, 2013 Meghan rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Sep 13, 2009 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jul 13, 2008 Holly rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Feb 21, 2016 Joyce added it
Reads like a cut-down and relaxed version of the Riddlemaster trilogy. You have your country bumpkin whose power comes from his bonds to the land, your headstrong princess torn between the chaotic and lawful parts of her own heritage (sort of divided into two characters here), various wizards and magicians and magical beings (frequently disguised), misbegotten betrothals, pursuits across the length of the kingdom, and ancient magics. I wouldn't exactly call this high fantasy though, more like... ...more
D. T.
Jul 19, 2015 D. T. rated it liked it
This would be a 3 1/2 star book if we had that option. McKillip's prose is always a pleasure to read (it must be, since this is the 15th I've read by her) and this one isn't any different, but somehow it left me wanting.

Perhaps it was the too-neatly-tied-up ending. Perhaps it was the shifting between the five story lines that ultimately did not completely mesh for me even when they started to converge. McKillip's usually nuanced when it comes to her characters motivations; maybe it was that the
May 09, 2014 Mjhancock rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
May 10, 2014 Arlian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 12, 2010 Lowed rated it really liked it
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.
Sherrill Watson
Nov 13, 2015 Sherrill Watson rated it really liked it
Brendon Vetch connects with plants. REALLY connects. So Od recruits him to be her gardener in the place under the shoe in town, which has REALLY changed since OD founded it years ago. The King has arranged to keep the wizards and magic-makers in Kelior, kingdom of Numis, confined to that one school, under his roof and total control. But that was not what Od had intended, nor what Brendon was about.

Of course, where she has been, why she has left the school to itself for years, why the King has be
Jul 30, 2014 Esther rated it liked it
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
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.
Oct 08, 2014 Peter rated it really liked it

This was my first experience with Patricia McKillip's work, and it was a good one. She has a way of writing in Od Magic that somehow makes my mind feel light--peaceful yet intrigued. I suppose it could be best described as beautiful. It is unlike any other prose I have read, and I appreciate it for that. I appreciated her ability to resolve problems without violence, and many of the characters had compelling personalities.

The book has its failings. I wish Brendan's story would have been mo
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.
Feb 13, 2016 Tasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once I had a dream where I was brought by mysterious circumstances to teach in a magical school. It wasn't necessarily a prophetic dream, as it was very different from what I encountered here, but the feeling is much the same. How often can I say that about a book? This truly did feel like a dream.

I almost don't want to say too much here. Strong female characters abound. McKillip also manages to capture the essence of a character so steeped in pure magic that they feel inhuman at times. That's
May 25, 2015 Ellie rated it liked it
More like 2 stars but I'll round to 3...

This book has too many adjectives!

In the first six lines alone, we have 'busy street, tiny shop, neat black letters, wooden clog'. It's too much! Perhaps instead of informing us the street is busy, the author could walk us through it - bring us along with the character.
There are also lots of adverbs - more than I think there should be. Show not tell is so important in a good story!

Anyway, to get to the point, the first quarter or so of the book was a slog
Matthew Galloway
Nov 09, 2015 Matthew Galloway rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The audiobook reader was excellent.

What I loved most about this book was the characters. They were such lovely, lonely characters trying to figure out how they fit in the world. Their relationships enhanced all this whether they were learning to understand an old love, creating a new one, reforming family bonds, learning to be a better teacher, or anything else. Almost every single one found their way into my heart and just resonated.

I also loved how much power could hide within grief and sorr
Oct 27, 2014 Aelvana rated it liked it
It was about what I've come to expect from her: very lyrical prose, fluid action, nothing desperately exciting but solid enough. I liked how she twisted everything around at the end, so the "bad guys" got another chance and were simply human after all. It's about a gardener who is rather upset because his parents died after he figured out the cure to their disease too late to save them (but saving everyone else in his village). He was invited to garden at a school of magic, and sparks off a lot ...more
Mar 28, 2016 Jonquil rated it liked it
Never really pulled me in as much as I wanted it to. Although I liked most of the characters, I didn't feel there was enough growth or change to give much of an arc to the story. And the ending was a quick fix, with an undeveloped character swooping in out of nowhere and magically fixing everything, mostly by telling everyone to be nice to each other. The main message of the book seems to be to value wonder and discovering new things over staying safe inside restrictive rules. A nice message, bu ...more
Aaron Carson
Feb 28, 2014 Aaron Carson rated it really liked it
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
Mar 11, 2014 Dale rated it really liked it
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
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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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“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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