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The Cygnet and the Firebird Hardcover – October 1, 1999


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Hardcover, October 1, 1999
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Bt Bound (October 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785793178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785793175
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,193,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this adequate but lackluster follow-up to The Sorceress and the Cygnet , McKillip returns to the magical towers of Ro Holding, the Hold of the Cygnet, and its denizens: the formidable Holder, Lauro Ro; her enigmatic daughter and heir, the sorceress Nyx; and Lauro's warrior niece, Meguet Vervaine. Two mysterious arrivals threaten the normal course of Ro Holding: one is a wily, powerful mage bent on stealing a treasure hidden in the castle for centuries; the other is a firebird whose anguished cries transform things and people into precious objects, and who metamorphoses into a tormented young man for a few hours each evening. Thwarted by Nyx in his attempt to get the treasure, the mage abducts Meguet. Nyx's search for her cousin takes her across a distant, dragon-haunted desert to the court of a ruthless sorcerer-king, where she and Meguet learn of a threat to destroy Ro Holding. The often tedious plot has too much pursuit and discussion, and not enough direct conflict and dramatic tension. Despite an atmospheric setting, intriguing characters and some interesting magical ideas, this sequel lacks the vitality of its predecessor.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-As she did in The Riddlemaster of Hed (Ballantine, 1985) and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (Atheneum, 1974; o.p.), McKillip weaves a magic spell of words almost as intoxicating as a drug. The result will depend on readers; some will find its effect addictive, while others will be confused and long for a breath of fresh air. Since this is a sequel to The Sorceress and the Cygnet (Ace, 1991), there are already fans out there. The enchanted world and some of the characters of that book return here, but this one stands alone. A young man who has been trapped in the form of a firebird appears and creates chaos with his attendant magic. Like Odette in Swan Lake, he returns to his own form under certain conditions, and is appalled by his fate and its consequences. Unlike Odette, however, he can remember nothing of the circumstances of his enchantment or what will free him from it. Unraveling this mystery becomes the central business of the plot. The language, though, is either the glory or the curse of the novel. For those who enjoy smoky misdirection and brilliant word pictures, this book will be a feast. All others, be wary.
Cathy Chauvette, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My, my, my. What are publishers thinking when they reprint a sequel but not the first installment? When I brought this book home I was literally scorched by the words "Mckillip returns to the world she created in The Sorceress and the Cygnet" Not that I wouldn't have bought it anyway.(Trust me, if you ever see ANYTHING by Mckillip, buy it!) But I decided right then and there that I wouldn't read this book until I found the first installment. I thought it would be years but luckily it only took a couple of months until I found The Sorceress and the Cygnet buried in the back of a used book store.
To those of you who will read this novel without reading it's predecessor first: you have my pity. She explains nothing, but OH what a payoff!
Although two distictively different stories, this series serves as a literary one two punch. Some of Mckillip's most magical and entertaining work can be found here, and I recommend both books to readers of every age. Once I started reading I was stuck. The rest of the world did not exist for me. (A warning for students: don't read these books around the time you should start studying for Finals. You will fail miserably!)
Even if not all can be as lucky as I have in finding the first book, you should definitely read The Cygnet and the Firebird. It is a story unto itself. Sorceress... adds more texture and history to the story, but is not needed to make this novel a success. Either way, this is one book not to be missed!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lori on September 8, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I reread the Cygnet and the Firebird every other year or so. It was so magnificently done. Each character in there is unique. First, you have Nyx Ro, the land-heir to Ro Holding, who is an eccentric soceress/bog witch/mage and who tries to help Brand, a man that was turned into a firebird for mysterious reasons. And then you have Nyx's cousin--strong and honor-bound Meguet--whose natural powers allowed her to overcome the time-stopping spell of a strange mage who had come to steal something from Ro Holding. I guess you just have to read it yourself to see what I'm talking about. It might mean more to the reader if she had read the "Sorceress and the Cygnet" first, where you see more character development of Nyx, Meguet, and Corleu (the main character of that book). This book focuses on the mysteries surrounding Brand, the strange and powerful mage, and the whole different world that they come from.
Whenever I read one of Mckillip's work, I am always amazed at how people are missing out on her stories. They're always so original and beautifully written--this one is no different. So buy it and read it before it goes out of print like the first one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 15, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is undoubtedly one of her most poignantly written books. McKillip has a sensitivity to the human mind that is simply unparalleled. She explores that part of ourselves we see only glimpses of in dreams, and realizes them in this novel. The stories are real to life--there is no happily ever after, yet still there is closure to all of the conflicts that develop throughout the book. Her prose is both beautiful and surreal; often times I felt like I was reading an archaic composition of music or an enchanted poem. If you have not read one of her books start with this one; it will blow you away.
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By A Customer on April 24, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It was a bit confusing at first to swallow all the details. I found it discarded on a "free table"; it other words, its previous ower had not wanted it and simply tossed it away... I will never understand just WHY. It is magnificent. The characters seem to have a maturity that I have not found in McKillip's other works (or maybe this is just because the kingdom was described differently than in McKillip's other masterpieces--I can't quite put my finger on the EXACT reason). I loved it! It got me into Patricia McKillip's other books, and I am an avid fan now, trying to get my hands on McKillip's latest "Song for the Basilisk." I don't EVER get bored of McKillip's books. The second book of this wonderful author's that I read was Winter Rose, which is just as bewitching (is that the right word...?--maybe enchanting fits better...). Buy it. Read it. Or don't, and know that you are missing on something BIG
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