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In The Forests Of Serre Paperback – May 31 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Trade; Reprint edition (May 31 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441011578
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441011575
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 12 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 213 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #124,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
In the forests of Serre, Prince Ronan crossed paths with the Mother of All Witches when he rode down her white hen in a desolate stretch of land near his father's summer palace. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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By DL on Feb. 7 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is one of a handful of books I've felt compelled to re-read. As with everything by McKillip, the language is pure bliss -luxurious and finely woven, seducing the mind like the best poetry. Yet, beyond even that, is an underlying sense of the wisdom which pervades this novel -wisdom that attends suffering and forebearance, kindness and charity.
I think the few complaints about characterisation stem from a failure to appreciate McKillip's deliberate homage to the allegorical nature of the traditional fairy tale. Personally, I found everyone from the scribe to the Queen to be brilliantly unique yet still representative of an archtype.
"In the Forests of Serre" is the best novel McKillip has written in the past few years.
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Format: Hardcover
I had high hopes for this book after thoroughly enjoying the Riddlemaster books. Those combined McKillip's wonderful prose with fully developed characters with whom the reader becomes deeply involved. This book had the wonderful prose, but the characters were flat and I simply never got to the point of really caring what happened.
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Format: Hardcover
In the Forests of Serre is a fantasy novel with a Slavic style. Prince Ronan has lost his wife and child and, after burning their bodies on the funeral byre and scattering their ashes in the river, he has ridden away to war with rebels in southern Serre, hoping to die in battle. His father, King Fergus, sends a messenger and a troop of soldiers to order him to come home. Ronan obeys his father, returning with the wounded warriors and escorted by the troop of soldiers. As he crosses a wasteland, his horse steps on a white hen. Ronan is soon made aware by the witch Brume that the crushed bird is hers and she bids him to pluck the chicken for her pot and invites him and his companion to enter her house and drink the broth. Ronan refuses her bidding and invitation three times and is then informed that he will have a bad day.
When Ronan reaches his home, the king wastes no time telling him that he will marry Princess Sidonie in four days. Although Ronan tries to demur from this wedding, saying that he is still grieving his lost wife and child, the king refuses to delay the wedding and, when Ronan continues to deny his command, the king puts Ronan under guard prior to the ceremony. Ronan's mother is sympathetic but is powerless to change the king's plans.
While Ronan is in his guarded room, he sees the Firebird in the forest and hears her singing. Ronan leaves his room, walks down the staircase and, while the guards are following him at a slower pace, slips out of the castle gates and down the cliff to the forest. There he follows the Firebird, running and running, then standing still to watch and listen, and then running again. He is soon lost in the woods, enthralled by the beauty and song of the Firebird.
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Format: Hardcover
Reading "In the Forests of Serre" is like walking into someone else's dream. You enter a rich forest of metaphor, sometimes only partially glimpsed but always beautiful. A standard fairy-tale plot is overgrown with jeweled birds and foxes with little golden crowns--Kinuko Y. Craft's cover art is a perfect match for McKillip's writing--but the story's end might still come as a surprise.
The prince and princess both have some growing up to do through the labyrinthine course of the book. I picked the wrong villain, someone very like the villain in McKillip's "Song for a Basilisk" but who is redeemed in this book by his love for the kingdom of Serre.
Speaking of villains, see if you can guess whose heart was enclosed in a casket inside the ribcage of a dragon---you also need guess where it went after the wizards Gyre and Unciel opened the casket. Many hearts go missing throughout the story and not all of them are returned to their true owners.
The Baba Yaga-like witch, Brume and her walking hovel, and her chickens, and her stewpot full of human bones form a striking counterpoint to the beautiful firebird-woman who flies through the Forest of Serre and steals men's hearts with her song. Are either or both of them evil? Are they two faces of the same wild magic? McKillip doesn't give a direct answer to these questions (at least none that I could discern) so you'll have to decide for yourself as you read her story. Both Prince Ronan and Princess Sidonie have to face their own worst fears in Brume's hut, and they are different people when they finally emerge.
The firebird seems to enter and escape the Crone's hut at will--another of McKillip's symbols for death and rebirth, or change?
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By A Customer on July 9 2003
Format: Hardcover
In The Forests of Serre, McKillip has released yet another beautifully crafted story. I love her work so well, that I simply buy whatever she puts out immediately. Again, I was not dissapointed. Drawing me in swiftly, I would argue that this is one of her best so far. "Ombria in Shadow" left me desiring something, though it too was a lovely tale, but Forests has more than made up for it. Deceptively simple, her work will leave you pondering afterward. In a class far above most fantasy, I could argue that it be sold in the Literature section, rather than fastasy, as it is fantastic in more than genre.
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