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(Mythago Wood #2)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  2,004 ratings  ·  156 reviews
At the heart of the wildwood lies a place of mystery and legend, from which few return and none emerged unchanged: Lavondyss . . . the ultimate realm, the source of all myth.

When Harry Keeton disappeared into Ryhope Wood, his sister Tallis was just an infant. Now, thirteen years old, she hears him whispering to her from the Otherworld. He is in danger. He needs her help. U
Paperback, Fantasy Masterworks, 368 pages
Published June 11th 2015 by Gollancz (first published 1988)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  2,004 ratings  ·  156 reviews

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I am NOT hyperbolizing when I say that Robert Holdstock was a very special writer and his Mythago Wood Cycle is something unique and extraordinary in the world of adult fantasy, specifically mythical fiction. Like the “mythagos” of his stories, I consider Holdstock to be an archetypal figure representing the truly literate fantasy writers who steal our breath away and unleash our imagination with their eloquent, master
2.5 - 3 stars (downgraded from a previous 5)

I am not quite sure where my previous 5-star rating for this book came from. I love Holdstock’s Mythago Wood, but on this re-read I found the second book of the Mythago cycle to be a sl-o-o-o-w burn which unfortunately never really seemed to ignite. I may simply not have been in the mood for this book at this time, but I think it’s more than that. There are significant pacing issues that drag the book down and Holdstock’s desire to both go deeper into
If the very thought of wandering through a world of Carl Gustav Jung's archetypes generated from your imagination in a forest is enough for you to want to skip and click your heels together then this is the book for you. Hugely impressive the first time that I read it - the traditional fantasy quest is here transformed into a quest through the subconscious. A subconscious that teems with archetypes, in fact with an archaeology of archetypes, since as the child-heroine grows to adulthood within t ...more
Richard Derus
Rating: 2.5* of five (p79)


As good as Mythago Wood was, that is how good this book wasn't.

”I can't replace it,” Tallis called. “If it hasn't grown back then it wasn't meant to grow back. What can I do? I can't stick it back on. It's mine, now. The tine belongs to me, You can't be angry. Please don't be angry.”

Broken Boy roared. The sound carried across the land. It drowned the somber tone of the Shadoxhur
Nandakishore Mridula
Ryhope Wood in Hertfordshire, England is where myth comes alive. It draws images from the dreams and the collective unconscious of human beings and produces beings called Mythagos: heroes, shamans, fantastic beasts and beautiful damsels from the primordial depths of the psyche, walking about in flesh and blood. Robert Holdstock, award-winning author of Mythago Wood, follows up the first tale of his fantastic realm with an even more daring one: a journey to The Old Forbidden Place, Lavondyss, whe ...more
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one is a slow burner, particularly in the mid part, but it is worth reading it because the end manages to tie up all the seemingly loose (and slow) ends.
The first 1/3 of the story made me adjust to the book because it is different from Mythago Wood. The story is set in the same universe, but the characters, structure of the novel, even narration - is different. I love how Holdstock changed the perspective and the protagonist's experience of Ryhope Wood and yet managed to remain in the same
Kat  Hooper
Jul 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Many times I don't like sequels because there's nothing new to learn. Authors tend to give us all of their world-building in the first novel, so I'm often bored by a sequel. But Lavondyss blew my mind. It is, I have no doubt, one of the best fantasy novels ever written.

In Mythago Wood, Harry Keeton entered the forest with Steven and he's been there for years. We got the sense back then that Harry had some secret personal purpose for going in — it wasn't j
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I adored the first half of this, when Tallis is a child and sees the Wood through a child's eyes. The second half I enjoyed less, as it shifts to an adult perspective and it's harsher and more gruesome. This is great mythic fiction, but wilder, dirtier, more violent, more chaotic than reading Charles de Lint or Terri Windling. ...more
Chris Berko
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy sequels that remain true to the original story but do their own thing and don't try to be a formulaic replay of what came before. This one was different in structure, presentation, characters (although characters from book one are discussed and one makes a brief cameo), and story line but underneath it all you could tell it was part of the whole. There were moments of brilliance and long stretches of boring-ness and for a while I debated as to whether to give it or three or four stars bu ...more
It's nearly six years since I read Mythago Wood, this book's predecessor, and I have to say that I went into this remembering very few details, only the general warm feeling of fondness I had for it at the time. I didn't realise afterwards that it had a sequel and it is only after this books inclusion into the revamped Fantasy Masterworks Series that I spotted it and decided to pick it up. Now having finished this book I can't tell whether it's because my tastes have changed or whether it's just ...more
Sep 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a bad habit of overusing the word “haunting.” Ergo, I worry that when I use it here, it won’t pack the punch it really should. Let me just say, then, that when I say Lavondyss is haunting, I mean it. This book settled into my bones like a hard winter. It will stay in my mind forever. I feel like I’ve lived a whole second life by reading it, and I’ll probably read it again at my earliest convenience just to see if I catch anything I missed the first time.

I had trouble getting into the pre
Murray Ewing
Less a sequel to Mythago Wood than a deepening of it, Lavondyss is the story of Tallis Keeton, younger half-sister to Harry Keeton, the scarred airman of that first novel. When, shortly after coming back from the Second World War, Harry disappears into nearby Ryhope Wood, Tallis is determined to one day follow and find him. To do so, she must learn the ways of this strange woodland, and begins her education in its dreamy, savage, folkloristic magic, endeavouring to learn the secret names and sto ...more
Dec 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We all make choices everyday that allow the immediate world to unfold in a particular way. This was the message in Holden’s book Lavondyss. We are creating and influencing life on multiple dimensions with every thought and action and these multiple dimensions and universes are all happening simultaneously. Trying to follow a linear trail back to where we or anything started is almost impossible. His writing incorporated concepts of reincarnation, transmigration of the soul, mystical or shamanist ...more
Theo Logos
Hard to know how to rate this one; the writing was excellent, and the concepts interesting, but reading it, I felt like I was slogging my way through a morass of unfocused melancholy. For much of the story I experienced the frustrating feeling of being trapped in a labyrinth. This may well have been intentional, but I can't say that it was always an enjoyable experience. ...more
La petite Marianna
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Starting up my review (which truly is more of way to wrap up my thoughts around this read rather than a proper review) I must confess that I may have done some disservice to the book and myself in overhyping it… Since Mythago Wood (book one) ended up being such a favorite of mine, certain expectations were set and that usually doesn’t turn out so well…

That being said… what the fudge did I just read? Honestly, towards the end of the book it felt like a shaman/wise man from the Ice Age traveled t
Back to weird!

Started off very good with an engaging tale between a young granddaughter & her doting grandfather which promised much within the lands of the Mythago’s, as they’re called, however we’re very soon left with a teenage girl & it’s very much a story for the YA out there....... sorry but I couldn’t go on & finish.

Many will like it as its not bad at all jus wrong genre (YA) for me
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2013
4.5 stars, really, but I'm rounding up on account of Robert Holdstock's very heady signature cocktail of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. Only it's not a cocktail at all, but a visionary paste made of viscous golden sap mashed up with wildwood and heartwood, berries and blossoms, vivid algae and foul fungal decay, marsh stems and leaves sharpened like arrows, a hallucinatory mixture to be daubed on the temples and third eye. Set aside your mortar and pestle and find a comfortable position as you j ...more
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in exploring Jungian concepts who can be generous to reedy plots
Shelves: fantasy
I would compare this story to really nice, slow cooked ribs. It's so good when you pick it up, but you can't help but notice that as you eat, a larger portion of it is falling off the bone. You are trying to eat fast enough, but it's all falling on the floor now and now your dog is horking it down without any appreciation for how long it took to make and ugh sauce is all over your hands and you're just holding the bone and that wasn't NEARLY enough food and it started out so yummy but dinner is ...more
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lavondyss is the second published novel by Robert Holdstock set in the proximity of Ryhope Woods, though not the second in terms of events. I read Mythago Woods, the first book, a fair few years ago, and it is firmly one of my all time favourites. So before starting on Lavondyss I had some high expectations – more creatures of myth and legend, more encounters with one’s inner desires, and a journey – into the world of Ryhope Wood, but also of the psyche.

In short, I got everything I wanted, and m
Jülie ☼♄ 

I read these books some years ago and have kept them with the intention of reading them again, but every time I pick them up I am *SPOOKED* all over again!!
Such was the profound effect they had on me...more so this book #2.
I am not usually such a scaredy pants and love a good gripping story but I have to confess that I was truly spooked out reading this book, while at the same time unable to put it down!
That is not to say that it is not a good book...on the contrary, it is so well written and t
May 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I have just finished this book and I find myself kind of hollow, sad and full of after tought. I found this book to be more grim and it goes further than the first book in alot of things. It is so deep and I feel like I have just scraped the first layer, it is defently a re-read becouse I feel like I have missed alot of it. Not grasping the whole picture.
It was a haunting; sometimes hard sometimes funny ride, to Lavondyss. But it was a good ride thanks to Holdstocks fantastic writing.
Michael Battaglia
I don't know what made him try again, but I'm glad he did.

"Mythago Wood" was a landmark in modern fantasy, a book that attempted to fuse the dream-like ambiance that suffused the faerie worlds of Lord Dunsany with the long ago world of Irish and English mythology, setting it all in an extremely weird forest and simultaneously trying to remind us that most myths aren't built on super-pleasant foundations and just because something might seem like a dream, let's not forget nightmares are considere
Sep 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Some bits of this book were so intriguing and the atmospheric start was incredibly promising. However, it did get all a bit esoteric for me. This is dense, serious fantasy and would probably benefit from more than one read to really appreciate it more fully. Parts of this book were a definite 5⭐ for me, other parts, not so much, so I am going to go with 3.25⭐
Dec 11, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of high-fantasy stories
Recommended to Ollie by: Lindsay
Tallis is a girl unlike others: as a baby, a mysterious stag that haunts the countryside appears at her house and leaves her a gift (of sorts); later, phantasmagorical figures follow her as she explores Ryhope wood near her home - the same wood in which her brother Harry (one of the main characters in the first book of this series) disappeared many years before. This piece of high fantasy tells the story of Tallis' entry into the fantastical world beyond the woods, and her attempts to reach Lavo ...more
Rebecca Saxton
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I immediatley started to read this after reading Mythago Wood. I enjoyed this book even more, due to feeling that I had a better understanding of what was going on. I grasped it in the first book, but still liked the futher explanation of the "Wood". This is an extremely well written book, very original, and extremely thought provoking. Even after finishing the book, I believe I fully understood what I read, but on many levels I am sure I have missed certain elements of what the author was tryin
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The style of writing is still excellent, but the plot was difficult to follow. Often, things happened with no explanation for why they happened, and that bothered me. In other words, I generally need some kind of rhyme or reason to link events, in this book it didn't happen. lt seems to be the same problem that happen's in Robert Jordan's books-characters will wind up fighting some weird duel in other realms, with no explanation of how they got there or where the powers suddenly came from. Howev ...more
David McGrogan
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed grappling with this novel, but "grapple" is a word which needs emphasising. Reading it I always felt like a judoka, constantly wrestling to get a grip on what was going on. The prose is as stunningly beautiful as one would expect from Holdstock, and it is quite unlike any other fantasy book that I have read (refreshingly so), but I could never quite shake the feeling that I didn't absolutely understand what the whole thing was driving at. That said, as a hard-core fantasy fiction lover ...more
Miriam Cihodariu
A much better-developed book than the first entry in the Mythago series, this is perhaps my favorite from all seven of them. It plunges into shamanistic Stone Age myths and rituals fully, while also giving you a new perspective on the English language (where words like 'hollowing' might come from and so on).

It's a tad dark and just as violent as the Mythago Wood but in a good way. I liked the story of Tallis, named for the legendary bard Taliesin and the full-focus plunge in Celtic and neolithi
The first half of the book gets 5 stars, i loved everything about it, but when she entered the magical woods and the weirdo Ice Age shamanic second half began, it just totally lost steam and sense. It was a struggle to get to the end, and by then my mind was reeling with disturbing cannibal and cave man details. It just got a little too weird.
Gabriela Francisco
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"...For all things in this world were born from the minds of men and since all men were mad, they were mad creatures, madly running."
"We are voyagers in our own living madness. What we have that these wretched creatures around us do not is freedom. The freedom to choose."

I type this with a pounding head, an aching heart, a mind still immersed in the strange and terrible world of Lavondyss. And the wonderful music of Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Tallis Fantasia" playing in my inner ear.

Lavondyss is a
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Robert Paul Holdstock was an English novelist and author who is best known for his works of fantasy literature, predominantly in the fantasy subgenre of mythic fiction.

Holdstock's writing was first published in 1968. His science fiction and fantasy works explore philosophical, psychological, anthropological, spiritual, and woodland themes. He has received three BSFA awards and won the World Fantas

Other books in the series

Mythago Wood (7 books)
  • Mythago Wood (Mythago Wood, #1)
  • The Bone Forest (Mythago Wood, #3)
  • The Hollowing (Mythago Wood, #4)
  • Merlin's Wood (Mythago Wood, #5)
  • Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn (Mythago Wood, #6)
  • Avilion (Mythago Wood, #7)

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