Alex Telander's Reviews > The Bards of Bone Plain

The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia A. McKillip
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Nov 21, 2010

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From bestselling author Patricia A. McKillip comes a new strong fantasy employing her classic writing style, storytelling and complex plot. The Bards of Bone Plain is a unique fantasy novel, as it covers the history of this strange world through different means, with archaeological excavations, research by its characters, and flashbacks; while at times the reader can feel somewhat lost and disconnected with what’s going on, McKillip does an impressive job telling a classic fantasy in a new and interesting way.

Phelan Cle is about to graduate, and for his final paper chooses Bone Plain, a place steeped in mystery and legend, which has been debated by scholars for centuries, with the metaphor of the three trials, three terrors, and three treasures; but is it nothing more than a metaphor? Cle’s research takes him to Nairn, known as the Wandering Bard, and through a series of flashbacks, we see his life. Then there is Jonah Cle, Phelan’s father, who spends his time planning and making excavations, searching for trinkets and pieces of this world’s history. One of his most eager followers is the king’s youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice, who shouldn’t be doing the things she wants to, getting involved with these excavations. Then a disk is unearthed with strange ancient runes.

McKillip explores her own world using her characters as archeologists and researchers, creating individual plot lines that eventually come together. The switching back and forth between character and timeline can become a little confusing, but is worth the strong conclusion at the end.

Originally written on December 21, 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

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