The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
By Patricia A McKillip
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
ISBN: Tachyon Publications
Young Sybel, the heiress of powerful wizards, needs the company of no one outside her gates. In her exquisite stone mansion, she is attended by exotic, magical beasts: Riddle-master Cyrin the boar; the treasure-starved dragon Gyld; Gules the Lyon, tawny master of the Southern Deserts; Ter, the fiercely vengeful falcon; Moriah, feline Lady of the Night. Sybel only lacks the mysterious Liralen, which continues to elude her most powerful enchantments.
But when a soldier bearing an infant arrives, Sybel discovers that the world of man and magic is full of both love and deceit—and the possibility of more power than she can possibly imagine.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is one of the true classics of fantasy literature.
As a fan of the fantasy genre, Patricia A McKillip and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld have both been on my radar for a few years. I cannot honestly say why it has taken me this long to explore them. But better late than never, or as they say, all good things come in time.
Sybil is an enchantress who lives a life of solitude in the forest among her enchanted beasts. When she is left to care for and raise a male child, she is exposed to the world of men, politics, love, loneliness, and deceit. She finds herself questioning her own power and needs. I am refraining from further explanation here, as I cannot recommend exploring this one enough.
“You can weave your life so long — only so long, and then a thing in the world out of your control will tug at one vital thread and leave you patternless and subdued.”
What I appreciated..
- An almost dreamlike prose that is beyond comparison to others. McKillip’s writing is sophisticated and immersive.
- A slow burn examination and study of character and man represented through one woman’s maternal instincts and isolated life.
- World building that engages the senses and solicits further exploration while refraining from the trivial and frivolous.
- The author’s refusal to hand everything directly to the reader or rush what is best left to savor at a steady pace.
- Brilliantly displayed themes of love, grief and personal growth.
- The beautiful reminder that fantasy can be ever present without the need for heavy elements of action. Sometimes the adventure comes from within.
Challenges some may encounter..
- Aside from the fact that those who do not appreciate a more leisurely pace may struggle, I really found no flaw in this.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a pristine example of why the genre is so timeless. Powerful themes, elegant narration and stunning storytelling meld beautifully into an experience worthy of more praise than one can give in a simple review.
*I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for this copy. The above review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.
Pairs wonderfully with a white jasmine tea.
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