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Illyria Hardcover – May 13, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile; 1 edition (May 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670012122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670012121
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,216,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Growing up in 1970s Yonkers, Maddy and Rogan were called the “kissing cousins” of the Tierney clan. In a secret attic space, they find a toy theater, complete with lighting and stage effects that appear like magic, but no actors or audience. As their discovery stirs within them the desire to create, Aunt Kate, mysterious and unnaturally beautiful, brings their abilities to a boil. Determined to restore the family's long-abandoned theatrical heritage, Kate pushes Maddy and Rogan to nurture their gifts in the school's production of Twelfth Night. However, Rogan's wild nature is ever at odds with his haunting, melodious singing voice, and Maddy's glamour, no doubt the gift of their great-grandmother, an ingénue of the stage, shines dimly in the brilliance of Rogan's fey charms. Winner of the World Fantasy Award, Hand's slim novella is sublime and daring; she makes no mystery about the nature of the 15-year-old cousins' relationship. It's as sweet, sexual, obsessive, and devastating as any other first love. YA readers are entrusted with a narrative of burgeoning and squandered talent, unapologetic incest, familial decline on par with that of Faulkner's Compson family, and a hard-won ending that's, at best, tenuously hopeful. The subtlety and raw ache of the prose, and the realistic portrayal of artistic lives, triumphantly heralds Hand's arrival into youth fiction. Grades 10-12. --Courtney Jones

Review

"This intense, sensual and bittersweet love story unfolds in hauntingly lyrical prose and should appeal to mature teens." --Kirkus

"Beautifully written, rich in theatrical detail and intensely realized characters." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The subtlety and raw ache of the prose, and the realistic portrayal of artistic lives, triumphantly heralds Hand's arrival into youth fiction." --Booklist, starred review

"Romantic readers will be swept through the short novel... and will be left blinking in surprise...beyond the final page." --Horn Book

"[R]eaders will be as compelled by the strangely connected cousins as they may be disconcerted." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

More About the Author

A couple of years after seeing Patti Smith perform, Elizabeth Hand flunked out of college and became involved in the nascent punk scenes in DC and NYC. From 1979 to 1986 she worked at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air & Space Museum; she was eventually readmitted to university to study cultural anthropology, and received her B.A. She is the author of many novels, including Winterlong, Waking the Moon (Tiptree and Mythopoeic Award-Winner), Glimmering, and Mortal Love, and three collections of stories, including the recent Saffron and Brimstone. Her fiction has received the Nebula, World Fantasy, Mythopeoic, Tiptree, and International Horror Guild Awards, and her novels have been chose as New York Times and Washington Post Notable Books. She has also been awarded a Maine Arts Commission Fellowship. A regular contributor to the Washington Post Book World and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Hand lives with her family on the Maine Coast.

Customer Reviews

Illyria is sinfully beautiful, well written, and flows smoothly.
AReader'sRecord
Strongly recommend: it crosses so many genres that it is best described as modern literature, with components that will appeal to a very wide audience.
NDA
Like with all of her books Hand weaves a beautiful and dark atmosphere and creates magic that is subtle and mesmorizing.
K. Eckert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By The Compulsive Reader VINE VOICE on June 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Madeleine and Rogan Tierney are first cousins and descendants of the great stage actress Madeleine Armin Tierney. They live with their many relatives at Arden Terrace, a gated community with large, rambling houses in Yonkers, and as the youngest cousins they are the closest--so close that they share a connection no one else could ever comprehend, and ultimately fall in love. Encouraged by their glamorous Aunt Kate to pursue their legacy in theater, the two participate in their school's production of Twelfth Night, which causes all sorts of feelings and emotions to swell, and forces Madeleine and Rogan to face the uncertainty of their future together.

Illyria's setting is rich and lush, from the depictions of how Madeleine and Rogan spent their childhoods to the details in the sprawling, decaying homes that their families inhabit. Hand's writing is indeed intense, and the relationship she builds between the cousins is full of tension and passion, especially when they share private moments in the attic of Rogan's house, watching the tiny, magical toy theater they found. It is evident through their roles in Twelfth Night that both Madeleine and Rogan possess talent for the stage, but while one of them wastes it, the other embraces it, cleaving the two and showing them each very different futures. Though more practical-minded readers may have a hard time grasping the point of this short novel, Hand's writing is beautiful and her imagery vivid. Like any great tragedy, Illyria is haunting and gorgeous.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rachel McElhany VINE VOICE on March 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Maddy and Rogan are first cousins; actually their fathers are identical twins so genetically they're half-siblings. They share the same birthday, are each the youngest of six children and grew up together on the same street. They are also passionately and hopelessly in love with each other. They steal time together hidden away in Rogan's attic where they find an enchanted toy theater.

Maddy and Rogan's great-grandmother was a famous stage actress. When Maddy and Rogan are both cast in their school's production of Twelfth Night, they realize the extent of their own talents for acting and must decide what that means for their futures, both together and separately.

Okay, I'll just be honest here. After reading the other reviews of this book, I'm feeling pretty dumb. It's gotten rave reviews all over the place and won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella. I enjoyed it but I feel like I must have missed something. I wanted more. I wanted to know why the theater was in the attic and why it was enchanted and who put it there. I kept waiting for it to have more of a role in the story and it never did. The reviewer who wrote: "Though more practical-minded readers may have a hard time grasping the point of this short novel, Hand's writing is beautiful and her imagery vivid." sums it up nicely. I am too practical (and maybe not smart enough) for this book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By NDA on May 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There's a reason Illyria won the World Fantasy Award. Great characterization, plot, and storyline. Strongly recommend: it crosses so many genres that it is best described as modern literature, with components that will appeal to a very wide audience. No spoilers, it's a short (as is 'The Old Man and the Sea'), concise and tightly written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brittany Moore VINE VOICE on March 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Maddy and Rogan were cousins. But the magic between them was not very cousinly and was looked down upon by both their families. These are the very families that pushed them together in the first place because they were the exact same age. Maddy feels like they are one in the same, until they both get cast in the school production of Twelfth Night. On stage Maddy begins to see the big separation between them. Rogan completely owns the stage especially when he sings. Maddy is simply a character actress, she is good at what she does, but is missing that special something that was once a prominent talent in the family. Slowly Maddy and Rogan change and grow up and apart from one another, though first love is something one can not forget.

This was a beautifully written novel about the magic and excitement of first love. It is also about the things that can keep us apart. I love the magical world that Elizabeth Hand wove around the characters with her words. The whole story read like you were in a love-induced fog. Heartbreaking and lovely moments one after another, though wholly realistic, were whimsical passages into another cosmos. The relationship between Maddy and Rogan was frowned upon and there are some who will frown upon it now. First cousins being romantically involved can be a bit hard to understand. Though when you take into consideration that they were always together, and their families could be a bit aloof or spiteful it makes perfect sense. I could almost hear the crackle in the air from between their two bodies as they lay together and share the magic they found. This was so well-written and had I read it last month I would have included it in my "Short and Sweet: some of my favorite books under 200 pages" post. This book was a perfect portion of magic and love and life.

First Line:
"Rogan and I were cousins; our fathers were identical twins."

Favorite Line:
"And no audience, save for Rogan and me."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By AReader'sRecord on June 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I sometimes think there are books that the more is said the more injustice is done. Illyria is one
of those books for me.

Illyria brings the term kissing-cousin to a new level though not based purely on love but a shared passion
only found within those who are true twinned souls.Both of our main characters, Maddy and Rogan, lead lives that were tragic in their own right and both seemed to understand each other in a way no other was able to or even attempted to.

I can't even explain how roped in I was by Illyria. It was a short read but one which made an impact and
took me to a time and place that wasn't my own. I fell in love just as Maddy did and I felt torn
when Rogan let life sweep him away and one-in-a-lifetime prospects came her way. I even cried when truths
about Rogan were revealed, then again at the end when the two came face to face without the scrutinity of
those around them and they could have closure to what happened so many years before.

Even with a beauty that is unique to it, this story is not for everyone as there are themes that will make some
individuals uncomfortable. If you can break through your comfort level you might be surprised with
the magic that is found within this book. Passion and pain this deep isn't easily felt through the pages of
a book but the words and their impact seeped into my veins and drew me in, completely.

Illyria is sinfully beautiful, well written, and flows smoothly.
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