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The Woman Who Loved Reindeer
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The Woman Who Loved Reindeer

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  779 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews

From the author of the Darkangel Trilogy comes an epic romance, in the tradition of The Clan of the Cave Bear, about a young woman's love for a coldhearted shape-shifter.

Hardcover, 242 pages
Published January 1st 1985 by Atlantic Monthly Press
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Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fur and gold
Recommended to Mariel by: horse & I
I gave The DarkAngel (of The DarkAngel Trilogy) by Meredith Ann Pierce three stars when I read it in early 2009. Absence made my heart grow fonder, or something, and I later upgraded it to a fox force five. I would tell my sister about it and that made it a different kind of reading experience. Something like loving something because it meant something to you when you're young. Images that stuck out in my mind, what represented wistfulness and longing.

It's something, I think, how reading a book
Aug 10, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
Caribou is a young woman forced by her prophetic dreams to live on the fringes of her tribe. She falls in love with a man who is not a man at all, but a trangl--a daimon that can turn into a reindeer and a man. When he leaves to join the great reindeer herd she is heartbroken, but he returns in time to lead Caribou and her people to safety as their land is destroyed by fires and earthquakes.

The Plot

Do not expect twists, turns, or complexities of any kind from this story. The plot is very simple,
Nov 13, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Last night I randomly grabbed a book that had been my aunts. The woman who loved reindeer is what I ended up with. Based on the title I was assuming something far north and someone who ran around with reindeer. It was some of that but a bit more pseudohistorical. Like the books who try and give a reason for vague events in the past. This seemed to be ancient tribal people crossing a land bridge to a new continent. Interestingly it seemed like they crossed from unknown land to known land where pe ...more
Cassie Rodgers
Mar 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
If there are any other books remotely similar to this, I want to read them because this book is so unique and wonderful, it has stayed with me, vividly, even though I haven't read it in fifteen years or so. It is a flawed book, certainly. The character are not terribly engaging, and the fact that a romantic relationship stems from a pretty much mother-son relationship is quite bizarre. But it's a fantasy and he's not really her child, and I get it. Details. For someone who loved fantasy as a kid ...more
Sommer Ann McCullough
Jun 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Looking for a new time of fantasy
A very fresh and twisted take on fantasy. I love this mix of history, folklore and new original ideas. This story is very different from any other I've read. It is about a girl who finds a baby, who actually turns in to a reindeer. Yes, odd, I know. But, it evolves to be a very well written and thought out book. Expect some weird changes, but over all it is a very impacting read.
Oct 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric Morand
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A well-written tale with lovely, lyrical prose. The characters are written gracefully and with humanity and depth.
Margaret Taylor
Uncomfortable love story, really cool setting.

I loved Meredith Ann Pierce's Darkangel Trilogy when I was a kid. Hoping for more awesomeness, I've read a few of her other works over the years. Each time, I'm unhappy to find out that she seems to have pulled a Shyamalan: she's good at one specific thing, which made The Darkangel so special, but when she tries to do the same thing in other books it doesn't work. Her literary career seems to have petered out in 2004.

The same applies to The Woman Who
This is a book about how a young girl named Caribou lived far away and alone from everyone else because her father passed away, and her only brother got married to a woman who was not from their tribe. She doesn't approve with Caribou living with them, so Caribou was left to live alone on her own. A few months later, her sister-in-law Branja is back. But with her, is a baby boy. She wants Caribou to raise the baby, for he is her son, and the father is not her brother, but the son of a trangle, o ...more
I originally read this book when I was in high school, along with the Darkangel trilogy (I'm sometimes amazed when I think about the range of dark fantasy my Southern Baptist high school library kept on the shelves), and I think The Woman Who Loved Reindeer has only improved with my education on the roots of fantasy, fables, and mythology.

The Woman Who Loved Reindeer shows clear influences from various mythological cycles, yet relies on none of them. It is fantasy, but not medieval European fant
Though I liked the writing style of the book, and the storyline itself, the book wasn't my favorite. There wasn't anything wrong with it, per se, but the relationships in the book were a little bit... creepy. (view spoiler) The idea is still really interesting, and I hope that there are more books like this one that can dabble in the supernat ...more
[Name Redacted]
Recommended to me by a school librarian one winter when I was aboy in upstate New York, this book moved me but I was never able to finish it. Years later, another school librarian in California recommended Pierce's "Darkangel" series which I loved. It wasn't until this year, while I was looking for Pierce books on eBay, that I realized the two were written by the same author!

This book was even more beautiful than I remembered and I'm glad I could finally finish it. I am collecting a list of boo
Amanda Werlein
Although an entertaining read, it was a bit thick to get through. Not by how many pages, but somehow the writing made you feel as though you were trying to waddle through syrup. The romance was a bit awkward since she was kinda like his mom for a while, and then it becomes romance, but she wasn't really his mom, so I let that one slide. The romance got cute towards the end anyway. This is one of those books that although I don't feel very inclined to reread, I still revist it in my mind on occas ...more
Ali M.
Dec 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meredith Ann Pierce is a wonder. I've yet to read something by her that doesn't leave me smitten with her beautiful language and imagination. This tale, set in the ancient tundra, brought to mind images of Alaska and the great northern realms (which I've always wanted to visit). The concept may seem a bit strange and even off-putting at first, but by the end the myth takes hold with an unexpected power. I think Caribou is one of Pierce's stronger heroines, one who is always forging the path ahea ...more
Dec 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the read, though (view spoiler)

I truly enjoyed this read. I may buy the book. I'm not sure yet. The part I enjoyed the most was the writing style. I am drawn to this sort of style; it seems more mythical to me because of the careful and specific words. I have a hard tim
Oct 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A marvelous book still. An interesting twist on fables from the north. I have a sort of hard time with the heroine being in love with someone who cannot love her back, but I know that's my adult eyes looking on a tale being told for young adults, who have to deal with that sort of thing more often than not.

It's a well woven tale, with adventure and beings from out of fairy tales. It's familiar and new all at the same time. Well worth the read.
Emma Michaels
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is weird but in an amazing and touchingly heartfelt way. It has stuck with me and I am writing this review because the more I remember the book, the more I want to reread it. I wasn't sure about it at first because you have to be very open minded to unique connections to let this books sweep you off your feet. If you are and you can learn to understand the characters it is just so amazing and beautiful. It has really been unforgettable for me.
Jun 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this was such a wholesome book. it was good in the way a healthy meal is good. i don't know, it was like a break from modern culture, and chick flicks, and whatnot, and it just felt so purifying.
it's about a wise woman who raises and falls in love with a man who is part reindeer. their country is besieged by earthquakes and hurricanes, so she has to lead her people to the land beyond the ice (or whatever it was called.)
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I found this book randomly in the water-damaged and decaying school library. It is one of those stories that always stayed in the back of my memory. Intriguing, adventurous and morals along with an enjoyable writing style. I had to search hard with the help of the internet and the bits of plot left to my memory, to figure out the title of the book again. Glad to know it was eventually republished and can be enjoyed more often now.
Tessa Stockton
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, romance, literary
I just reread this for the third time. Meredith Ann Pierce is one of my favorite authors. Her stories (I've read them all) are engaging and her voice is eloquent. Great imagination and beautiful imagery. Pierce's “The Darkangel” is probably her most influential work for me. I've consumed that one since I was a young teenager and it never gets old.
Oct 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Pierce book I've read, and I have to say she has a lovely voice. This reads somewhere between modern YA and traditional folktale and it is beautiful. I found the almost-but-not-quite Earth and cultures a little disorienting and distracting, but not enough to cause real harm to the story. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a short, immersive read.
Aug 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I've been looking for for ages. I read it as a kid and got it from the library quite a few times, but forgot the exact title or author (I did read only the German translation).

This is one of the books I'd really like to have on my actual bookshelf at home eventually, it really is quite beautifully written.
Sandra Strange
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This one's very weird, with a feeling of norse clan mythology, with shapechanger animal humans and a steady, faithful woman who protects and loves one of them. This is the kind of book that wins prizes, but that kids don't really like to read. I found it slow and too foreign feeling to identify with.
Jun 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice fiction about a prophetic girl,Caribou, who takes in a baby only to find out later that he is really a trangl, magical creatures who can switch between reindeer and human forms. The bond between Caribou and her trangl is tested as Caribou becomes the tribe's wise woman and savior.
A bunch of nonsense* wrapped up in a folk tale.

*What does a 13-year-old recluse know about people, to be able to sit in judgement like a wise queen? Also, love does TOO bind people. It does it all the time. That's how real love works.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brain-candy
I read this years ago in middle school and still reflect on it from time to time. The imagery was so gorgeous. It was scandalous to read at the age I read it. It was a fascinating culture to follow.
Jul 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jun 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Woman Who Loved Reindeer by Meredith Ann Pierce (2000)
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Meredith Ann Pierce is a fantasy writer and librarian. Her books deal in fantasy worlds with mythic settings and yet overturn standard expectations, frequently featuring young women who first wish only to love and be loved, yet who must face hazard and danger to save their way of life, their world, and so on, usually without being respected for their efforts until the end of the story.
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