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The Bards of Bone Plain Hardcover – Bargain Price, December 7, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Not, of course, that any of her books are less than elegant and wonderful. Not so. But "The Bards of Bone Plain" is incredibly tightly written, and its fusion with a lightly glossed steampunk quasi-Victorian kingdom and the centuries-long quest of an immortal bard for his lost music just plain works seamlessly. You believe that you can simply step sideways from the mundane to the magical and back, easily and painlessly.
Her characters are well-drawn and are clear and clever enough to spawn one of those BBC miniseries where sparkling dialog is the chief hallmark of civilization. The bemused king watching his youngest daughter be more interested in archaeology than "princessing," while his queen fumes is worth a couple of guffaws and a hiccup. The sad quest of Jonah Cle for his lost magic after failing the three tests on Bone Plain centers the book and provides a sobering thread throughout.
This, here, is the real deal, folks. If this isn't one of the finalists for the World Fantasy Award in 2011, there ain't no justice.
Active Member SFWA
This book is not devoid of any of the aforementioned features, and it does have a coherent, straigtforward story. However, I found the plot almost too simple. I could see pretty much the whole trajectory early on in the book, and while that is not necessarily a fatal detriment in work as poetic as McKillip's, I found myself a bit bored with the characters as well. They seemed fairly one-dimensional, save for Nairn, Declan and the mysterious Welkin, who remained a bit too wrapped in mystery for my satisfaction.
Another of McKillip's works, Alphabet of Thorn, is similarly straightforward in plot, but throws in a lot more intersting twists and features more complex characters. Also, the mysterious language which is driving the plot in Alphabet has a more satifying reveal than the runes of The Bards of Bone Plain, which, like Welkin, are never fully delineated in all their glory.Read more ›
For his final school essay, Phelan Cle decides to write about Bone Plain, the mysterious plain-lands where his eccentric father Jonah spends most of his days excavating for lost riches. Dotted with standing stones and the subject of many poems and ballads in the bardic tradition, Phelan assumes it'll be an easy topic with which to complete his education. But he soon finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into the ancient records that recount the history of the bard Nairn, an enigmatic figure linked closely with Bone Plain.
Phelan's discoveries are connected to the Princess Beatrice's own work alongside his father on the plain. Uninterested with the life of a princess, Beatrice spends her days among Jonah Cle's archeologists as they dig up the relics of the old bard school, hoping to glean some understanding of the past. The comedic aspect of this novel concerns Beatrice's attempts to avoid her family's obsession with impending weddings and her disapproving mother's constant threats to remove Beatrice to the more lady-like setting of a faraway relative's house.
But there is a parallel plotline at work alongside Phelan and Beatrice's sojourns into the past.Read more ›
McKillip is an incredibly talented author who writes in beautiful, almost poetic prose. Unfortunately, there needs to be more to a book than that, and this time she didn't provide enough of it. The mystery was obvious to me from the beginning, so it was less a matter of watching in fascination as things unfolded than of waiting in impatience for the characters to catch up. The plot itself didn't hang together. Some things never made sense, and at the end we are left with many unanswered questions. Together those things cost this book a star. Then there was the bizarre, out-of-nowhere romance (and by romance I mean that two characters randomly wake up in bed together). That cost it another. The story didn't need a romance; having decided on one, McKillip should have done it justice. The characters themselves were interesting people. I wanted to get to know them better than I did. McKillip did something here I haven't seen in a classical type fantasy before--she included technology, science and progress. That was a treat. McKillip tends to sit astride the border between poetry and vagueness in her writing--this time she leaned over into the vague side.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book, because I associate bards with Celtic music. The narrative is poetic and descriptive, and the two tales within the book mirror each other. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Andrew
She writes like a dream. I fall into her books, and never want to leave.Published 6 months ago by suz
The latest of her that I have read, and delighted in. I shall find the others to fill my shelfPublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
One of McKillip's best! I've long been a fan of the "Riddlemaster of Hed" trilogy and this uses some of the same ideas but takes it to the next level. Read morePublished 13 months ago by composer
I don't understand how Patricia McKillip has remained a kind of cult figure in fantasy. Really good writers working in the genre are few and far between, particularly for those of... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Christian B.
Deep, involving, and complex, this tale draws the reader into a world where history can actually come to life.Published 16 months ago by Dan Lindsay
Patricia McKillip writes magic, and this book is no exception. The story is deeply involving, and is worth reading again and again.Published 18 months ago by Mary Knapple
The book is excellent, as are all of Patricia McKillip's. If you like becoming lost in worlds of words and imagery, pick up this book!Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer