- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reissue edition (Jan. 1 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0152055363
- ISBN-13: 978-0152055363
- Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 2.2 x 17.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 200 g
- Average Customer Review: 63 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,480,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld Paperback – Jan 1 2006
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This magical moonlit fantasy has dignity and romance, heart-stopping suspense, adventure, richness of concept and language." - Publishers Weekly
"A mythical kingdom fantasy with a marvelous heroine, satisfying strange beasts, and chilling sorcery." - Locus
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The protagonist, Sybel, is the daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of powerful wizards, living in an isolated house on a mountain with an array of magical animals. Among them are an ancient dragon Gyld, riddling Boar Cyrin, the deadly Ter Falcon, and others. With telepathic links to her beasts, she has no need for human beings outside the walls of her home. But the animal she still longs to find is the Liralen, a legendary white bird.
She is temporarily distracted from her quest when a nobleman, Coren, arrives with a baby, and asks her to care for it. Sybel learns how to love the child, Tamlorn, and for several years they are happy (with the help of an old lady). She also summons a strange smoky creature called Blammor, which terrifies many people -- but hardly affects the calm, icy Sybel.
Coren returns and is attacked by Gyld, then brought into Sybel's house by Tam. She is angered when she finds that Coren is there to bring Tamlorn back to the world of men, where his father is a powerful and cold-hearted king named Drede. As time goes by, Sybel sees that Tam wants to see his father. She eventually relents and sends him to his father's home, with Ter Falcon to watch over him. Drede offers to let her come and stay near Tam, but she knows that he would only seek to use her wizardry against his enemies.
A dangerous wizard comes hunting for Sybel at Drede's bidding, and tries to seduce her -- before being killed by the Blammor. Sybel is furious and wants revenge on Drede -- but what will she do to gain revenge, and what would the cost of revenge be?
I sometimes wonder if Sybel was an experiment for Patricia McKillip, to see if she could write the ultimate "Ice Queen" and still make her sympathetic. I found Sybel less sympathetic than understandable, in that her lack of unnecessary emotion makes her clear-sighted in some situations, while simultaneously making her more susceptible to hatred. She is not really an admirable character in some respects -- we see her engaging in casual theft, using people like pawns, and coldly threatening to set deadly animals on Coren, but at the same time we see her love for Tamlorn and her struggling emotions for Coren.
Like so many of Patricia McKillip's books, the plot is deceptively simple with nuances woven through it. McKillip's thoughts on revenge are intertwined with the "Riddle-Master" trilogy, "Fool's Run," and "Song for the Basilisk." Here we see how hatred and its offspring, vengeance, might destroy a person from the inside out and destroy what they most care for.
The writing is not as lush and luxurious as in many of her other books, nor is the magic in it as take-your-breath-away as that of the Riddle-Master trilogy. We don't get inside Sybel's head very often. Nor is the attraction between Coren and Sybel quite as well-defined as some of her other romances. Coren himself is a wonderful male lead: handsome, brave, compassionate, forgiving, good-natured and with a tragic streak to make him more real. Tamlorn is an excellent portrayal of an innocent, sweet-natured boy raised in a semi-idyllic enviroment, but who craves something of the outside world.
This is an excellent YA fantasy, but which is not childish in any way. Adults can also benefit from the weave of words and the lesson inside it.
This is a beautifully crafted jewel of a book. For adults tired of the monolithic fluff of most fantasy stories today, this book is wonderfully refreshing.
i was very pleased to realize that she invented a whole new world just for this book and such a beautiful world it is. there's somthing very airy about this book, very lucide and flowing, though the plot's not packed with imagery, charecter and places such as in the riddle master, there's somthing about the silence and minimalizm (well relative minimalizm, it's still a fantasy book...) that's vert apealing to me.
the story is very beautiful, the charecter and interesting and round, and the simple massage of love and freedom just hit the spot for me and gave me the advice i needed when i read it.
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