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The Gift [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Patrick O'Leary
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 15 1997
Science FictionLarge Print EditionOLeary displays his mastery of fantasy and social motifs, weaving familiar themes into a heartwarming, enchanting story. starred, Publishers Weekly A story within a story, The Gift is a story of innocence betrayed and magic rejected. Tim is robbed of his childhood, and Simon is tormented by hearing made too acute. Both are victims of The User of the Night, once a boy like them, now pathetically twisted by his own ambition and by Tomen, a malevolent creature of magic. Together Simon and Tim must rid their land of the magic that has been misused by Tomen and The User.

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Product Description

From Amazon

The Gift is the second book from up-and-coming author Patrick O'Leary, and is quite a departure from his wonderful and zany first novel, Door Number Three. The Gift is largely a dark fantasy novel, focusing on a world where magic and storytelling hold sway, although there are some distinctive science fiction overtones. The protagonists are a young king named Simon, who has lost his hearing, and a young woodcutter named Tim, who has lost his family. Both are on a similar quest: they're attempting to find and destroy The Usher of Night, a twisted sorcerer who has unleashed an ancient evil, and who has caused both men great suffering. Although the quest might make this novel sound like a conventional fantasy, it's anything but. O'Leary clearly shows that he enjoys bending genre boundaries as much as he enjoys telling a good story.

From Library Journal

O'Leary made a widely praised sf debut with his first novel, Door Number Three (LJ 9/15/95). Here he weaves a magical tale about the Usher of the Night, a deaf boy king, and Tim, the woodcutter's son, who becomes the Wind Tamer. In a land where most magic has been forgotten, only Mother Death can vanquish the Usher of the Night, with help from the Wind Tamer. O'Leary cleverly embeds tales within tales as he layers and intersects his story lines. For larger fantasy collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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THE ALCHEMIST HELD HIS HAND over the candle, speaking the old words quickly, determined to finish the spell before the pain grew unbearable and his hand would wrench away of its own accord. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars the gift Dec 4 2003
The Gift by Patrick O'leary is a fiction book with a lot of story telling. The book mainly talks about The Story Teller, King John, Jason and the Captain. I like the book and I don't at the same time. At the beginning the book starts off when people on the ship and the captain hear voices singing coming from the river. The story teller starts telling the captain and the people on the ship a story about this lady who has been killed on a ship and how she was thrown in to the sea. People believe that she wants revenge and sings all the time ships pass by. Then all of a sudden The Story Teller starts talking about Jason and King John. The author keeps mixing up the stories and that gets the reader confused.
The theme of the book is "don't trust anyone you don't know". The king trusts Jason, a young arms man and the king wants to give him a promotion. But the kings advisor tells the king that is not a good idea in quote "no one knew where he'd come from, and he couldn't be cajoled into speaking of his past" pp. (30). I totally agree with the theme of the book because I was taught not to trust anyone that I don't know. It's hard to trust even the people I know my whole life.
At the beginning I liked the book because the more I read the more I want to find out what is going to happen next. One thing I don't like about the book is the mix up that I gets as I read the book. It's a kind of book you have to read more than once to understand it more. I am not going to recommend the book to anyone. If you like to read a fiction with a lot of fantacy and twist to it, then you will love it. I like the book and at the same time I don't.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Complete disappointment July 9 2003
I can't recall being so disappointed in a book. I haven't read _Door Number Three_, but the impressive blurbs for _The Gift_ didn't lead me to expect hackneyed plotting and amateurish prose.

O'Leary likes Gene Wolfe (one of my favorite writers) enough to use Oreb from the Long Sun in a cameo, but he has none of Wolfe's strengths. There is a boring dialogue between the protagonists and a typically Wolfean character - a non-human intelligence that wants to die - no doubt inspired by the homunculus in _The Citadel of the Autarch_. Michael Swanwick also apparently drew on this character for _The Iron Dragon's Daughter_, but along with the situation he took the scalpel-sharp dialogue. Here's what O'Leary's dialogue sounds like:
"I thought I'd never see you again."
The Teller smirked. "You've grown a beard."
"You smell of fish." The King smiled.
"I need a fire," the Teller said.

Another Wolfean device is the anachronistic interlude - here involving a black man named Jordan "after a great leaper who lived long ago." This Severian-meets-Handmaid's-Tale interlude in a fairy tale put me in mind of Tepper's _Beauty_, which isn't a great book but puts this one to shame.

One of the main characters, a child, is called "Ender" at one point, and perhaps a case could be made for some early Orson Scott Card here or there, or Neil Gaiman, or lord help us, Terry Goodkind - but eventually I stopped counting who O'Leary is trying to emulate.

O'Leary certainly has good taste in influence - there seems to be a good deal of Ted Hughes's Crow rewarmed here, and he's obviously read LeGuin's _The Farthest Shore_ - I just wish he had the ability to profit from his betters.
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This is probably the oddest book there is in this genre. Oleary is a new uprising writer, who has a real talent in storytelling. Now, SciFi Fantasy is one thing, but what this guy's doing is a whole lot of a different art. And you'll love every minute of it. This story is actually an excuse for Oleary to do his best - Storytell. The layout is some kind of an Earth-like world, only technologically retarded. It tells the story of the ancient Wind Wizards, who crashed to the planet, and made it their own; it tells the tale of a young deaf King, Simon, who's healed by the dark Usher of the Night, only to become a Sentinel. He then starts on an adventure with only one thing set on his mind - Revenge; it tells the story of a little orphan, Tim, who's destined to more then he's ready to bargain for; it tells the sad story of a lost species of magic, the Watermen, who are at the point of extinction. Science-fiction, Fantasy and Story-telling meet in an exquisite mixture of high-tense adventures, humor, bizzare and night-marish sequences of the S.King kind. If any, this book's worth the reading. You'll LOVE it - every one of its 287 pages.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Two words. Translations, anyone?! July 23 1998
By A Customer
This story was sooooo twisted, you get lost in the book. If this book didn't have good stories when I finally caught up and grasped its' content, this book would have negative amounts of stars. I did not like the jumping around from story to story. That just got me even more mixed up and turned me off. Jumping around in a story is not a suggested thing to do while writing for anyone of any age. What reading level is this for, because although I am advanced for my age (I am 12 1/2), I expected to understand the book. I did NOT, though, expect to get lost. I did like some of the stories, though, because they often taught a lesson. That was good. Next, what is the moral or, more importantly, the POINT of this book?! That was my question of the day. Also, what is the basis of this book? Who or what inspired, or should I say possessed Mr. O'Leary and made him write this book?
I sure hope Door Number Three is a much better book than this. T! hank you for putting up with my outrage of this book. Goodbye!
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars ...what?
After finishing <i>The Gift</i>, I was inspired to undertake a seldom-done task: trying to think of any book worse - or even equally bad - as this one. Read more
Published on July 1 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Tale Lends Perspective to Life's Tale
This incredible fantasy takes us soaring to a different time, mindsets and terrains. Encompasing all of the important parts of a fantasy, it also shares many new ways to look at... Read more
Published on May 21 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting fantasy
I was drawn to Patrick O'Leary's second novel by Tom Canty's always wonderful cover art. I brought it home from the bookstore and thought I'd read a chapter or two. Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2001 by "elmyr"
5.0 out of 5 stars The story teller of all story tellers
How delightful to find a book that surprised and pulled me into another world and reality! I had come to believe that I had grown too old and had lost the ability to exercise this... Read more
Published on July 7 2001 by Dee Kat
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This is storytelling at its best! The layering of story upon story keeps the reader engrossed in the book. Read more
Published on June 29 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This is storytelling at its best! The layering of story upon story keeps the reader engrossed in the book. Read more
Published on June 29 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior
Focused, imaginative and lyrical O'leary's "The Gift" is a fine new offering in a genre suffering under the weight of too many authors who can't figure out how to tell a... Read more
Published on May 30 2001 by Eric A. Rioux
4.0 out of 5 stars Masterful
Patrick O'Leary weaves a masterful tapestry of magic and wonder in 'The Gift'.
He is clearly a master of the English language. Every sentence evokes wonderful imagery. Read more
Published on April 21 2000 by Michael Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous
Door Number Three was very good. However, with THE GIFT, O'Leary rendered a delicately balanced, intricate masterpiece. Read more
Published on Nov. 4 1999 by James T. Heeney (
2.0 out of 5 stars What the.....?
I've read countless numbers of Sci-Fi and fantasy tales and The Gift definately ranks as one of the lowest to me. Read more
Published on July 4 1999
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