I think this was the first of Patricia McKillip's books that I read. In fact, I'd never heard of her, and only picked it up because it was shelved nex...moreI think this was the first of Patricia McKillip's books that I read. In fact, I'd never heard of her, and only picked it up because it was shelved next to Robin McKinley's works in the used bookstore. I liked it then, but was a little perplexed by it. All I could really remember after was how beautifully rich her descriptions were, how lush her prose.
And now that I've read it again several years later, I'm still struck by the beauty and the skill with which she shapes her books. Winter Rose isn't my favorite of hers by any means, but it's a lovely and unexpected reimagining of the Scottish ballad Tam Lin. It's subtle enough that I don't know that I would have picked it out if I hadn't read Tam Lin so recently.
Solstice Wood is the sequal (of sorts) to Winter Rose, published ten years before. Rois and Corbet Lynn's decendants still live in Lynn Hall, and have...moreSolstice Wood is the sequal (of sorts) to Winter Rose, published ten years before. Rois and Corbet Lynn's decendants still live in Lynn Hall, and have taken upon themselves to block off the gateways between the human and faerie worlds, to keep the malicious Queen of the Wood from ensnaring and destroying any more people.
But when Liam Lynn dies, his granddaughter Sylvia, as heir to Lynn Hall, is forced to come back and face the wood she'd been running from all her life. And when she gets there, she finds the gateways haven't been closed as well as they should have been.
I wouldn't call Solstice Wood one of Patricia McKillip's best books. It has the oddly etherial quality that her works tend to have, but still feels almost clunky at times. The characters aren't as well developed as they might have been--you don't feel like you really understand them, even at the end.
Altogether a pleasant read, but perhaps not a book I'll feel compelled to read again. (less)
You aren't supposed to read a 500 page book in one day... and then read it again the next day even though you have a bunch of other things to do becau...moreYou aren't supposed to read a 500 page book in one day... and then read it again the next day even though you have a bunch of other things to do because you just can't help it.
Sorcha is the youngest child and only daughter of an Irish lord who is too wrapped up in his war with the Britons to see the lovely young woman she’s becoming. Nevertheless, she is happy in the love and protection lavished upon her by her six brothers. But Sorcha finds her happy life ripped away from her by her father’s second wife who casts an evil spell on the six brothers. Only Sorcha has the power to save them, but at a terrible cost to herself. Marillier’s exquisite retelling of the Grim Brother’s tale “The Six Swans” is both powerful and enchanting, blending magic and history, love and war.
Sequels aren't supposed to be as good as the books that came before them. My first words upon setting down Daughter of the Forst, the book that came b...moreSequels aren't supposed to be as good as the books that came before them. My first words upon setting down Daughter of the Forst, the book that came before this, was, and I quote: "Omyfreakinggosh, that was amazing." I had similar thoughts when I finished Son of the Shadows. It was beautiful and incredible and powerful. Marillier gets the "best author discovered this year" prize. Perhaps the "best author discovered while I'm at grad school" prize--and that's saying a lot.
Her characters are well-drawn and moving--real characters, not roles or stereotypes. Very few books can make me cry, but this one did, because then I had invested so much of myself into the story. The setting is exquisite and tenderly rendered, creating a picture of an Ireland where the old ways clash with both Christendom and the still-older ways that lie hidden.
This tale is not a retelling of a traditional fairy tale, as Daughter of the Forest was. It's the story of Sorcha's daughter, the one who exists outside the pattern, the one the fair folk did not fortell, the one who might have the power to change everything.
It's beautiful and absolutely enthralling. Go forth and read. Right away. I mean it. (less)
**spoiler alert** There is a sort of book that is difficult for me to pick up. I’ll let it sit on a bedside table or a bookshelf for several weeks, lo...more**spoiler alert** There is a sort of book that is difficult for me to pick up. I’ll let it sit on a bedside table or a bookshelf for several weeks, looking at it every time I walk by, perhaps picking it up and leafing through it, saying “I’ll start you tomorrow. Or perhaps the next day.” But it’s not a book I avoid because it is somehow unworthy, trite, or badly written. I’m afraid to pick it up because I know that once I begin I won’t be able to stop. I know I will be devastated and heartbroken, clinging to a thread of hope that reminds me that there might be a happy ending come the last page. There has to be.
I’d never truly encountered this sort of book until I picked up Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest and was entranced by Sorcha, and then followed her daughter Liadan’s tale in Son of the Shadows. Readers were forced to witness the death of Liadan’s mother, a relatively benign literary tragedy, until you remember her mother was the Sorcha we loved and wept over in the first book. And so I put off reading the third book. It sat there, on the top of the pile of books that I tried to ignore. It follows different characters one generation later—-the spotlight is fixed on Fianne, Liadan’s niece.
It's beautiful. Spellbinding. It's the story of Fianne, a child of four races, daughter of an impossible union, and granddaughter of a terrible power. She is forced to choose between two terrible alternatives--to watch all those she holds dear suffer and die, or to watch the ultimate defeat of the Irish and the death of the old ways and the fair folk.
The characterization is phenomenal, the setting absolutely captivating. I don't know how long it's going to take me to reach for the fourth book. (less)