Most helpful positive review
elegant, subtle and complex
on December 4, 2003
This is my first book by Patricia McKillip, and I was very pleased. I read some reviewer who called this book "luxurious", and I would definitely agree. Like all luxuries, it isn't essential, but my what a nice read it is nonetheless. If you have exhausted all the essential fantasy reading, like Tolkien, George R. R. Martin, and others, this is a good place to take a breather. If you haven't read anything else by the author, the first thing you need to do is have a look at the cover. Now, be informed that the book reads in a similar manner. Lots of details, lots of color. Somewhere in there is the story, and you have to just let the story emerge, because it will. No, you don't know all the answers, you don't have an omnipotent point of view, but be comforted that the elegant twists of plot near the end will resolve whatever it is that confused you in an earlier chapter. And details are important here.
Speaking of the story, its chock full of knights and damsels, of magical creatures and enchanted realms. Not a lot of romance here, nor a great deal of swashbuckling action, just good nebulous, lush reading. Very post-modern, very well done. I'll read more of her stuff, and I would suggest that any lover of good fantasy should do the same.
If Tolkien is an epic Beethoven sonata, then this is a sumptuous Rachmaninov prelude. As in piano music, enjoy them both for what they are.