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Moonheart (Ottawa and the Valley)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  3,684 ratings  ·  185 reviews
When Sara and Jamie discovered the seemingly ordinary artifacts, they sensed the pull of a dim and distant place. A world of mists and forests, of ancient magics, mythical beings, ageless bards...and restless evil.

Now, with their friends and enemies alike--Blue, the biker; Keiran, the folk musician; the Inspector from the RCMP; and the mysterious Tom Hengyr--Sara and Jamie...more
Paperback, 447 pages
Published February 15th 1994 by Orb Books (first published October 1984)
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5.0 stars. Fresh, original urban fantasy with deep, rich settings, well drawn characters and a terrific multi-layered plot. De Lint's use of the Celtic and North American Indian mythologies as the foundation of the story made it all the more enjoyable as they are not often portrayed in fantasy. There are so many memorable characters that it is hard to pinpoint any one that stands out above the rest, but characters like Pukwudji and Tamson House itself showed De Lint's incredible talent for creat...more
With a title like Moonheart and a description that includes the phrase "fey folk beyond the shadows of the moon" you are fairly warned that this is fantasy of the uber-nerdy species. Nonetheless, this book is good fun. The characters are well-developed and the Otherworld that they enter is very romantic and captivating. What develops as the plot is good versus evil with the simple twist that the good characters are normal people like us that have no idea what they are doing and must learn how t...more
a really, really difficult read. it might work for a young teenager.

this was one of many books by the author that hit the user-selected top 100 books of the 20th century put out by some publishing group, i forget who. at the time i was making an effort to go through and read the top 100 picks from both the academics and the popular list. this book was the highest rated by this author. if this is his best book, i would never dare open another.

poor characterizations, uncompelling plot, lack of dra...more
This is a very early Charles de Lint book, about a modern-day magic house, a druid, a Celtic bard, Native Americans, elves, wizards, um, am I forgetting anything? :) It's fun, imaginative, and exciting, and its only real flaw is that the characters are more like caricatures. The Native Americans are humorless native warriors who live in teepees but have a strong tradition of association with the spirits, the Celtic bard talks like, well, a Celtic bard from legend, etc.. And, like his other early...more
I just reread this fantasy classic for the first time in twenty years. I had forgotten how much I liked it. Sarah Tams lives with her uncle, Jesse Tams, at a large and mysterious house that occupies an entire city block in Ottawa. Sarah also runs an "antiquarian" store, where they sell all sorts of odd objects. Going through storage boxes in the back room, Sarah finds some odd but intriguing items, including what appears to be a ball of clay but turns out to have a golden ring hidden inside. Fro...more
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Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Sara and her uncle Jamie live in Tamson House, the old family mansion that takes up a street block in Ottawa. While Sara runs their cluttered curiosity shop, Jamie spends his days studying the arcane and playing host to the eccentrics and homeless people who come and go through Tamson House. Sara and Jamie’s interests collide when Sara discovers an old gold ring that seems to draw her into an ancient past — a past where Welsh and Native American mythology...more
My first brush with Charles de Lindt, when I was 16. The first time I fell in love with a character in a book! (This was before I met Heathcliffe, but Blue, the biker shaman in Moonheart, knocks the socks even off him!) I love the way that de Lindt moves his stories effortlessly between the *real* world and the *other* worlds that he writes about. If anyone has been there, along with Brian Froud, it's him. He's not as well known in the UK as he is in the US, which is a shame. Should be shelved a...more
I read this in college after a friend strongly recommended it. This is easily a world that you can fall into, with believable characters in an unbelievable world. The best way to describe this book is an "urban fantasy," but it's more than that. There are dusty bookshelves, mysterious artifacts, a house that transcends earthly limits, a biker dude named Blue, a computer named Memoria, and Native American rituals. This is a great way to introduce yourself to Charles de Lint.
This is an urban fantasy that delivers on every promise it makes; unlike many of the current crop, this book gives you characters to really care about, as opposed to making the protagonists nearly as unlikable as the antagonists.

Well worth the read for any who like Celtic mythology, shamanism, or just a little magic in your everyday.
I loved this book when I first read it (20+ yrs ago?) and the at least 3 times I read it since. It's been at least 5 years, so it looks like it's time again. I never considered it to be urban, didn't even know the term the, so I am very interested to see how I view it through my slightly older eye.
For years I have heard great things about Moonheart. So much hype centers around this as a defining work in the career of Charles de Lint. I had read several works by de Lint and liked them all. However, all the hype made it hard for me to get started and this book sat on my shelf for a year.

Then I started reading. The book starts in 'real world' Ottawa with introductions for some of the recurring 'main' characters. This part moved nicely along and set up the blend of mystery, urban fantasy, and...more
Charles de Lint is one of my favourite authors of contemporary fantasy. He makes me believe in magic and that it could be alive today. I was so excited to find this gem in my local second-hand bookstore.

The combination of ancient lore and modern times works in this book. Written in 1984, except for a couple of references to obsolete technology, it stands the test of time. Sara Kendell finds a medicine bag and a remarkably clear picture of two men in the back of her uncle’s store. She and her un...more
So, I Read This Book Today
Who among you remembers the first book you read? Or, shall we say the first which made a real impression on you? For me, I grew up on a household that didn't read, and didn't really provide books for a budding bibliophile. So, I did what I could, mostly snitching school books to read from my older cousins. The first I really remember? Being six years old and sneaking my cousin's high school mythology books from her room. The ideas there absolutely fascinated me. Gods and monsters. Far distant la...more
Lisa H.
I had read de Lint's The Riddle of the Wren years ago - around 1980, if I recall - and remember nothing about it except the cool cover, with its Celtic-influenced design.

Then a friend passed Moonheart to me as a must-read, and I was hooked.

De Lint's storytelling web is woven out of European folk beliefs, Celtic myth, Native American practice, that little niggle inside your head telling you there's more to certain places than meets the eye, mysterious pockets of forest amid an urban setting that...more
Overall, I had a connection with Moonheart. I read it in the early 90's and something within it struck me and I know I liked it. Unfortunately the novel reads like a dream and as with a dream it quickly becomes forgotten. I will re-read it as this dream-like quality is typical of Charles de Lint's work. That does NOT mean it's terribly written. On the contrary, it is elegant in many ways.
The pace is slow though, so some may find it boring. There are a lot of subtleties that have to do with the p...more
Ben Babcock
I’m Canadian and a lover of fantasy but have somehow managed not to read any books by Charles de Lint, ever. I’m not sure if this represents great skill or just gobsmacking stupidity on my part. It’s probably some mixture of the two. My roommate lent me Moonheart, promising I would love it in tones that made me hope I would, lest awkward differences of critical opinion ensue. Fortunately, I do love this book. De Lint does an amazing job combining Celtic mythology and contemporary Canada to creat...more
This book has many elements I like - contemporary Canadian content! Ancient Celts! Native Americans! Shapeshifters! Music! But it never adds up to a whole that makes any sense, and none of the characters are particularly attractive, nor do they seem at all real. Even the city of Ottawa feels nothing like the city I know. This is the 3rd de Lint book I've read; at this point I must draw the conclusion that he simply doesn't speak to me.

For a review that perfectly expands on my own sense of the bo...more
Nov 09, 2013 Kernos rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Mythic fiction, urban fantasy lovers
Great read of a modern Mythic Fiction based on Celtic mythology, primarily from Welsh sources interlaced with North American Indigene mythos (Ottawa). Many would consider it an Urban Fantasy today, but I found its use of its ancient sources most compelling. It is filled with inside jokes and literary illusions. Moonheart can be read on several levels from teen/YA to adult. It would be a great book for group discussion for sharing Celtic and Ottawa mythos and discovering the jokes and illusions.

This is an early book of Mr. de Lint's, and although I think it was probably a seminal work when first published, I've read other urban fantasy that I liked better, including some by this author. I found the premise to be very interesting (a house whose outside is in contemporary Ottawa, but whose inside is in a fey place that seems to be part Celtic and part Native American. But...the book lacked depth despite the plethora of archetypes available to work with. It is a pretty simple story that i...more
There is something special about this book, or perhaps its author. It conveys a sense of wonder and a mingling of the ordinary and the fantastic with ease, despite some problematic characterization and a pace which is at times frustrating.

It is the story of Sara Kendell, an ordinary young woman from Ottawa, and her encounter with a mysterious bunch of artifacts one day in her uncle's antique store. She and her friends will embark on a journey to another world, meet with figures drawn from mythol...more
Lori Murton
This is my first De Lint book; overall I really enjoyed it. As some other people have commented, I did find the "Lord lifting Jesus" and "nom de tout" phrases overdone; the "bad" guys were pretty B-grade in their characterizations and they had really lame dialogue...and what was up with all the smoking? Guess that's an artifact from the 80's? The character of Tamson House was a neat twist & I loved all of the Otherworld interactions.
This book is simply beautiful. The spiritual aspects of the fantasy and the magic world created by de Lint is so incredibly warming, endearing, and awe-inspiring to someone such as myself. I'm not sure everyone who reads this will be as enraptured by it, but my guess is that many involved in their own spiritual journeys and pursuits will find a great deal of value in this story.

Even without having an intense spiritual connection to the ideas in the novel, the story still reads very well. It is...more
I first read this when I was about 20 or 21. I think I would have given it five stars then. I'd give it about 3 1/2 to 4 now. I've retread it several times. I adore that house. The very notion of it is fantastic.
Sarah Olson
I wanted to like Moonheart more than I actually did. Although Charles de Lint's characteristic writing style is evident here, it is in its infancy - later novels and short stories reveal a practiced storyteller's art. Moonheart feels rough, unfinished, overburdened with characters and subplots that later de Lint novels manage to weave into beautiful stories.

That being said, it is a treat to be able to read a beloved author's early work and realize that they didn't spring fully-formed from their...more
Aaron Brown
Moonheart is a decent-enough book. Charles de Lint has improved dramatically as an author since this first published novel, however, and Moonheart is much less subtle than his later and far more matured writing.

I found many of the characters in this novel to stretch the bounds of my tolerance: they're much more the cardboard-cutout-to-fit-their-story-roles than I'm used to from de Lint, who is typically extremely adept at shadowed and nuanced characters who experience a story as part of a larger...more
My all-time favorite de Lint book.
Yvonne Boag
I had first read this book twenty or so years ago when it had been first released and I loved it. I read it many, many times. I told everyone it was my favourite book and recommended it. Then I lent my copy to a friend and never saw it again. Fifteen years later I am at a op shop and there is my book on sale for $2.00. So i bought it and I thought I would read it again to see how it compares so many years later.

Unfortunately I did have some issues with it. The bad guys were two dimensional and...more
Aug 13, 2008 Emil rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: fantasy fans, occultists, mystics
Definitely a page turner: After spending a few hours reading before bed, I found I couldn't sleep and ended up staying up until four in the morning finishing the book.

Moonheart reminded me a lot of American Gods, though it predates Gaiman's work by about twenty years. The similarity is in the exploration of how the old spirits have survived and transformed into the modern era. De Lint's book is more overtly fantastic, with people shooting fire from their hands and the like, but no less enjoyable...more
David Seruyange
Moonheart captured my attention as one of the pioneering novels of the so called "Urban Fantasy" genre. It succeeded the most when the author was exploring the overlapping myths of humans. It was also a pleasure to get a sense of place from this book, which was written with an early 1980s Ottawa as its center.

Some readers will appreciate some of the overlap from traditional fantasy to detective novel, complete with police reports, inspectors, and the stereotypical hard nosed cop. While it added...more
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Charles de Lint (born December 22, 1951) is a World Fantasy Award winning author. In 1974 he met MaryAnn Harris, and married her in 1980.

Along with writers like Terri Windling and John Crowley, de Lint popularized in the 1980s the genre of urban fantasy, most notably through the Borderland series of books. His fantasy fiction is described under the fantasy sub-genres Urban Fantasy, contemporary...more
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“Remember the quiet wonders. The world has more need of them than it has for warriors.” 1776 likes
“Sara Kendell once read somewhere that the tale of the world is like a tree. The tale, she understood, did not so much mean the niggling occurrences of daily life. Rather it encompassed the grand stories that caused some change in the world and were remembered in ensuing years as, if not histories, at least folktales and myths. By such reasoning, Winston Churchill could take his place in British folklore alongside the legendary Robin Hood; Merlin Ambrosius had as much validity as Martin Luther. The scope of their influence might differ, but they were all a part of the same tale.” 3 likes
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