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Cygnet Paperback – March 6, 2007


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Cygnet + Riddle-Master + The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (Magic Carpet Books)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Trade (March 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441014836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441014835
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Patricia A. McKillip is a winner of the World Fantasy Award, and the author of many fantasy novels, including The Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy, Stepping from the Shadows, and The Cygnet and the Firebird. She lives in Oregon.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
It's easily one of the best books I've ever read.
S. E. LaPan
There were no gaps in the story, and though there is an air of great mystery throughout the story, in the end nothing is left unexplained.
Beth
McKillip weaves magic and mystery in with great character development.
Leino

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
Two of Patricia McKillip's most lyrical books are the Cygnet duology, the story of a sorcerous family and the mysterious forces that shape their world. "Cygnet" compiles those books, bringing together the intoxicating mixture of unique magic, invisible dragons, and McKillip's shimmering prose.

"The Sorceress and the Cygnet" introduces us to Corleu, one of the Wayfolk (sort of like gypsies), but with a head of white hair and a strange love of legend. When the Wayfolk become ensnared in a magical trap, Corleu finds his way out, and encounters the mysterious sorceress Nyx, living in the middle of a swamp.

But the Wayfolk aren't the only ones in danger -- the ancient castle of Ro Holding is being haunted by strange godlike beings -- foxes, tinkers, a blind woman -- who seem to have stepped out of ancient legend. To free the Wayfolk, Corleu must unrael the secrets of these beings, and of the mysterious Cygnet.

"The Cygnet and the Firebird" is a sort of McKillipesque version of "Swan Lake." Ro Holding is invaded by two magical forces: a mage who kidnaps magical warrior Meguet Vervaine, and whisks her away to a strange desert, and a young prince enchanted into a firebird's form, whose song can transform objects and people, and who only turns back to himself at moonrise.

Turns out that the mage and the young man-bird are connected, and that the prince cannot remember exactly how he became this way. Now Nyx stretches out her powers to the Luxor Desert, where strange magics and invisible dragons are all over, and Meguet uncovers hidden secrets...

McKillip has never specialized in easy, cliched fantasy -- you know, the cheap stuff with lots of flashy wizards, D&D warriors and sadistic warlords.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peekablue on July 31, 2008
Format: Paperback
In case you somehow missed it, this edition actually contains two books. The first book is The Sorceress & The Cygnet; the second book is The Cygnet & The Firebird.
I have seen other reviewers state that these books are very confusing & difficult to understand. I will admit that the beginning of book #1 was hard to follow but I think that the author may have intended it this way because the main character's mind is in a muddled state. Don't be daunted by this because it starts to clear up by chapter 4 & it becomes a really interesting story about power & magic.
I have also seen other reviewers write that they did not think that book #2 is as good as book #1. I think I enjoyed The Cygnet & The Firebird more than the first book. It was, overall, easier to follow & there was a little more suspense & mystery.
Both are excellent books, as are all of McKillip's novels that I've read. I highly recommend anything by this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LARA on November 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
What a book, if i hadnt have been alittle experienced in love and life this would be a ridicuolous book, but the depth and understanding of love and life for me have been exact in the description and fantasy of this book. I learnt things and got lost in the appeasing easiness of looking at an adventure. A marvelously intelligent book, even for a romantic at heart...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Two Patricia McKillip books in a single volume, what could be better?

As two of her earliest works, the Cygnet duology (composed of "The Sorceress and the Cygnet" and "The Cygnet and the Firebird") make for more challenging reads than her later offerings. Renowned for her complex writing techniques, it's obvious to those who are familiar with McKillip's poetic-prose that she's still getting the hang of it here, and sometimes the density of it threatens to overwhelm her story. At the risk of making it sound like a chore, McKillip's earliest books - this duology and The Riddle-Master of Hed trilogy in particular - are not easy to read. Every word demands your utmost attention just to understand what's going on, there is virtually no exposition to explain what's happening, characters are dropped fully-formed into the narrative without preamble, and the plot itself is composed of and built on rich symbolism, metaphors and descriptive prose.

But once you've got the gist of it (or even if you don't) it all adds up to a unique reading experience. McKillip's fantasy novels are special because they veer away from the usual "epic fantasy" tropes, and are simply interested in telling a relatively straightforward story in an unusual way. Most of her books are based on fairytales with a few spins of her own, but you don't have to track down several volumes in order to get a complete story - she epitomizes the idea that novels don't have to be large doorstoppers in order to have depth and substance. Nearly all of her books are self-contained, and even here, the two separate stories that make up this duology are only tangentially connected to one another.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Still, if you like her writing style, get it for sure.

If you've never read McKillip before, I recommend the Harper Trilogy.

Her writing style is very lyrical and evocative. It's always such a dreamy pleasure to settle into one of her books. I only wish she'd write more. The old ones from the 70s and 80s are difficult to find, but regardless she's progressed so much since then. Her newer work is where it's at.
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