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The Forgotten Beasts of Eld

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  12,252 ratings  ·  761 reviews
Almost destroyed because of a man's fear and greed, Sybel, a beautiful young sorceress, embarks on a quest for revenge that proves equally destructive. Winner of the World Fantasy award, this exquisitely written story has something for almost every reader: adventure, romance and a resonant mythology that reveals powerful truths about human nature.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 1st 1984 by Berkley (first published 1974)
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4.08  · 
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 ·  12,252 ratings  ·  761 reviews

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mark monday
how to express how much I love Patricia McKillip and her books, how much her stories move me, how they slowly and invisibly transform from enthralling fairy tale to a genuinely emotional experience? how to describe the prose: so refined and elegant, so expressive, so light and delicate, so deep and beautiful, and yet often so simple? just so: her arrangements are perfect, my own kind of perfect. how to describe all of that, to make into something as plodding as a book review? love is a subjectiv ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
What a magical book!! Just what I needed!

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is one of my all-time favorite fantasy novels. It's a total comfort read, poetry in prose combined with an appealing story, some great symbolism, and an examination of people and their motives and how our desires and fears can make or undo us. It's one of the fantasy books I repeatedly recommend to friends.

I finished this off yesterday in one day, as part of a buddy read with the Buddies, Books and Baubles group. It's probably my third or fourth read of it, but it's
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Evgeny by: A. Dawes
Shelves: fantasy
A guy was born in a remote village who could talk to animals and call them to him. He build himself a hermit hut and called some exotic and legendary animals, including a ballad-singing boar (my imagination miserably fails at trying to imaging it in the act),
Singing boar
and of cause a treasure-hoarding dragon.
His son continued his father collection, but his only heir was a girl named Sybel - a heroine of the story. As much as she was trying to avoid any interaction with other humans, the Big Politics caug
[Shai] Bibliophage
What made this novel really amazing is how excellent Patricia A. McKillip wrote this. The author used her skill to write majestic words to describe each character and places, as well as breathtaking prose to narrate the story.

If I'm not mistaken, this book was first published four decades ago and that it also won the World Fantasy Award for Novel in 1975. It wouldn't be winning an award if it's not good, right? McKillip utilized her eloquence that made the story of Sybel, Tam, Coren, and of the
This book gave me chills. Still does.

I went in knowing nothing about it. I mean, I did skim some of the reviews, so I knew it was highly rated and people seemed to love, but other than that, I had no idea what it's about or what to expect, and I had never read Patricia McKillip before.

And that was the best way to approach because the writing blew me away. It is simply SO GOOD and has a beautiful fluidity to it that makes it so easy to fall into.

What impresses me most is that the prose is neith
Bentley ★
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
See this review and more like it on

This year when I started book review blogging, I realized that I was reading an awful lot of brand new books that were garnering a lot of hype. Not that that's a bad thing, but I decided along the way that when the opportunity presented itself I also wanted to better acquaint myself with older books.

Stories that had been around for a lot longer are often written in a different way than the books of today. There's less focus on continuous ac
Isa Lavinia
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Isa by: Hirondelle
One day Patricia A. McKillip will write a bad book and that'll be the first sign of the impending apocalypse. I have no idea how I went through so many years of my life without having read her books. Actually, that would probably be because there are no Portuguese translations and I have to buy the originals from the UK.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is, in a word, delightful. Like all of McKillip's books the reader is lost in her magical worlds from the very first page. She writes things and they
A. Dawes
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Patricia A. Mckillip is one of my favourite fantasy writers. At the risk of sounding politically incorrect in a PC world, I find her voice uniquely feminine. Her prose is both rhythmical and intoxicating.

In this novel of isolation and seclusion, Sybil is brought up by her father on Eld mountain. Her sole companions are animals, which her father calls to the area. When Sybil's father passes away, isolated Sybil - still with only her beasts for company- studies magic to evolve into a powerful sor
A dramatic, lyrical ballad locked into simple prose. Obscure, seemingly effortless, magical and breathtaking.

I don't think I have ever come across a book like this before in the fantasy genre.

If I were to tell you what the story is about, it would not amount to much and there is hardly any worldbuilding, but the writing is so compelling, so powerful, so seductive and beautiful that I just cannot shake the effect it has had on me.

The music I kept hearing in my head while reading was the musical
Gail Carriger
Nov 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite book of all time. If I had to pick a desert island book, it would be this one.

There is something about the way this book flows that is actually literary magic. It's about magic, and riddles, and all sort of other legendary things but it's like fractal mathematics: beautiful, impossible for an ordinary human to understand, and yet hypnotic. Just the opening paragraph is chilling, and thrilling, and all sort of other trilling llls in a row. I can't describe this book, because i
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
"When Myk went out of himself forever, sitting silent in the moonlight, his son Ogam continued the collection."

I'm convinced this is the most hauntingly beautiful description of death I have ever encountered in literature.
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a wonderfully written, richly textured, high fantasy from Patricia A. McKillip. Even though it is quite limited in length, it is still filled with insightful moments and fascinating insights; all of it set in beautifully rendered fairy tale world.

Sybel is a young, powerful sorceress, who has spent her life in isolation, her interaction with humans nonexistent. She knows nothing outside of her mountain home, nor does she really wis
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
I both liked and disliked this book... Took me ages to get invested in it (about half the book...), but then it got interesting. I feel like it's because midway, the book changes quite drastically. It starts involving FEELINGS. Love, revenge. Before that? I knew as much as you do what was going on.

There are reasons why I dislike high fantasy (or at least high-ish) fantasy, but I still keep trying... I should stop. I am not comfortable with a crucial thing most high fantasies do, and that's dropp
Sheila Goicea
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who loved Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
See my full review of this book on my blog along with others at:

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.


Released today!
“I need you to forgive me. And then perhaps I can begin to forgive myself. There is no one but you who can do that either.”

A book like this is intimidating to pick up. Not because it is mundane, nor because
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dragons
Somehow, from the midst of feeling dreadful because of this cold, I realised that what I really wanted to read was something by Patricia McKillip. It’s so strange how I disliked the first book of hers I read; I feel like I appreciate her work more with each book I do read. And this one… it’s fairytale-like, mythic — a review on GR said ‘parable like’, and yes: that too. It’s full of epic fantasy elements but the real struggle is between taking revenge and being true to who you really are and tho ...more
Richard Derus
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.5* of five

I read this book in 1975. It was impressive to my teenaged self, but was the beginning of the end for me and fantasy as a primary reading genre.

Beautifully written, richly textured, full of those lovely small moments that demonstrate deft and economical world-building. Also larded through with moments of profound insight for my inexperienced self:
What do you think love is—a thing to startle from the heart like a bird at every shout or blow? You can fly from me, high as you c
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars--it was amazing.

A story about this book: I first read it when I was 11 or 12. My local library at the time didn't have a YA section (in fact, I'm not sure the concept of YA fiction existed at the time, though that would change soon--by the time I was in high school, the library had a separate section for teens). The library's juvenile book section was arranged with picture books on one side of the room, middle-reader chapter books in the middle of the room, and one free-standing shelf of
4.5 Stars.

Goodness, this was a great story!

Sybel has grown up mostly in isolation. The daughter of a wizard, she is immensely powerful. Her mountain home is surrounded by a beautiful garden in which reside legendary magical beasts whom she controls with her powers. Her situation makes her emotionally isolated and selfish, but change soon comes in the form of an orphaned infant boy, brought to her by Coren, a soldier. Coren asks her to love and protect the child, Tam, and she agrees. With the h
Jacob Proffitt
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorite
I know I've read this before but so long ago that I only got brief glimpses/memories of scenes as I read them. Which is just as well because I doubt very much that I could have appreciated the depth of this story when I read it all those years ago.

This story has a kind of oral/bardic beginning that sets the tone for the lyrical beauty of the rest of the prose. It's part style, part choice of imagery that gives it a kind of mythic flavor that might have been off-putting if the underlying story we
Nov 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Enter a land where wise old boars speak, as well as falcons, lions and cats. A land filled with sorcery, beauty and evil . . .

Known as the ice white lady, Sybil was raised to live to care only for the mythical beasts under her control - powerful, beautiful and wise, and feared by man - she knows none of the ways of men and prefers to keep it that way. Until one day, when a young babe is left in her arms, and she learns to love, and gets entangled in a War she wants no part of.

Jan 19, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Dude, I'm glad this was not the first McKillip book I ever read. I've loved everything I've read by her before, but this was terrible. Which is too bad, since I always heard it was so great. But I definitely wouldn't have given her other books a chance if I'd come across this one first.

Well, okay, terrible might be a little strong. There are well-written parts. Still, skill matters little when I hated a) the characters, b) the plot, and c) seriously, every single character. And parts of it weren
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This tale teeters on the brink of that enchantment that won me over to Patricia A. McKillip's writing. At times, I was afraid it would keel over and shatter. But in the end, it soared.

Also, as I read through my notes, I realize it has lent its magic to a great miracle in my own life. When I wrote the first note, I was beginning to look into adopting a child. As I finish writing them, a child and her mother have begun taking me in.

But that's another story and will be told another time. ;) Now foc
Melissa McShane
7/31/2018: This is still one of my favorites of McKillip's books, beautiful and powerful and emotionally engaging. I should be annoyed that it was in the Liverpool Public Library's children's section (this was before we really had a distinction between YA and MG), but I likely wouldn't have found it until much later if it hadn't been. My husband says I have an irrational attachment to it because I am Sybel. He's probably right.

9/17/2012: It's been a long time since I've read this, maybe not sinc
The Shayne-Train
This was a bit denser than the usual bedtime-reading fare, both in the writing and in the feelz. But the little one loved it, and that's what matters.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is one of the great classics of fantasy, though rarely shows up on lists of important books , perhaps because it is the story of a powerful woman learning to be human.

Sybel is an extremely powerful mage, and has been raised on one side of a clear dichotomy between power/knowledge and love/hate/humanity. She is the first daughter in a line of mages who have devoted themselves to knowledge, who studied and gained the true names of the world's greatest creatures, and col
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: 3.5/5

I admit it, I wouldn't read this book if it I haven't read this short tweet short tweet by Amal El-Mohtar:

I just finished reading McKillip's THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD for the first time & I'm speechless & shaken & want to know how to do that.

When a writer cherished for the beauty of her prose speaks this way about another author, my curiosity usually peaks.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld was first released in 1974 and, contrary to many books from the seventies, rema
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip is a fantasy classic. I don’t remember when I read it for the first time, but it’s a wonderful book and I re-read it every few years. Sybel, the beautiful and powerful wizard and her magical animals are part of this charming, magical cautionary tale about power and revenge.

Sybel is the daughter and granddaughter of wizards and lives in a house of white polished stone built by her grandfather, the wizard Myk, on Eld Mountain. She shares this ho
Victoria Rose
8 year old me collects little statuettes of dragons. 8 year old me climbs trees and jumps out of the branches. 8 year old me cuddles her cats and tries desperately to make them talk back to her. 8 year old me loves to read and writes short stories about two girls who make friends with a dragon on a mountain.

Much like the animals in this novel, I felt drawn inexorably towards Sybel and her story. Patricia McKillip seems to have a hold over me, because reading her novels, I cannot help but be whi
Laura (Kyahgirl)
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
3.5/5; 4 stars; B+

The dreamy quality of McKillip's writing draws a person in and makes the reader feel like they are part of the fairytale. I like how this author makes some pretty in depth commentary on society, gender roles, politics and intangible things like hopes and dreams. She doesn't lay it out directly but weaves it into her story.
On its surface this is kind of a children's quest story but the underlying messages are deeper than that. There is quite a lot of navel gazing involved in gle
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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.

According to Fantasy Book
“The man was hit in one eye by a stone, and that eye turned inward so that it looked into his mind, and he died of what he saw there” 64 likes
“What do you think love is- a thing to startle from the heart like a bird at every shout or blow? You can fly from me, high as you choose into your darkness, but you will see me always beneath you, no matter how far away, with my face turned to you. My heart is in your heart. I gave it to you with my name that night and you are its guardian, to treasure it, or let it whither and die. I do not understand you. I am angry with you. I am hurt and helpless, but nothing will fill the ache of the hollowness in me where your name would echo if I lost you.” 41 likes
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