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The Foretelling Hardcover – September 7, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up–This atmospheric coming-of-age fantasy tells the story of a teenager who is destined to become queen of the Amazons. The product of a rape and shunned by her distant mother, Rain struggles to find her identity and prove herself. Her first-person narration is accessible while evoking a sense of otherworldliness. She talks of animals and people as sisters. The story unfolds at a measured pace with little dialogue, but the language makes it compulsively readable. Readers will be drawn in by Rain's attempts to win her mother's approval even as the teen begins to question the Amazonian way of life and see a new future for her people. Like the best of myths, this story finds truths in details and emotional insights. Not for everyone, but a treat for fans of Tamora Pierce and Hoffman's other novels.–Adrienne Furness, Webster Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. "Some stories are born out of misery and ashes and blood and terror": Hoffman's fourth novel for young adults, told in spare, lyrical vignettes, is one of these. In an all-female tribe of warriors, who kill all male babies and reproduce through sex with prisoners of war, the daughter of the fierce queen yearns for her mother's approval. Burdened by stigma (Rain was "born in sorrow" after the queen's rape) and by dark prophecies, the girl finds comfort in honing her battle skills and in developing friendships with other outsiders. After her mother dies bearing her second child, it falls to Rain to determine the future of her community--and her own. Many teens, particularly girls, will identify with Rain's self-doubt even as the young woman senses within herself "a kernel of something that was made out of fire." At the same time, the alien setting and fablelike narration offer limited opportunity for readers to remain connected with the characters. This will particularly attract girls intrigued by the gender reversal premise and book-report writers drawn by the slender length. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316010189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316010184
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #834,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York.

Hoffman's first novel, Property Of, was written at the age of twenty-one, while she was studying at Stanford, and published shortly thereafter by Farrar Straus and Giroux. She credits her mentor, professor and writer Albert J. Guerard, and his wife, the writer Maclin Bocock Guerard, for helping her to publish her first short story in the magazine Fiction. Editor Ted Solotaroff then contacted her to ask if she had a novel, at which point she quickly began to write what was to become Property Of, a section of which was published in Mr. Solotaroff's magazine, American Review.

Since that remarkable beginning, Alice Hoffman has become one of our most distinguished novelists. She has published a total of eighteen novels, two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Her novel, Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club choice, was a modern reworking of some of the themes of Emily Bronte's masterpiece Wuthering Heights. Practical Magic was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Her novel, At Risk, which concerns a family dealing with AIDS, can be found on the reading lists of many universities, colleges and secondary schools. Her advance from Local Girls, a collection of inter-related fictions about love and loss on Long Island, was donated to help create the Hoffman (Women's Cancer) Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA. Blackbird House is a book of stories centering around an old farm on Cape Cod. Hoffman's recent books include Aquamarine and Indigo, novels for pre-teens, and The New York Times bestsellers The River King, Blue Diary, The Probable Future, and The Ice Queen. Green Angel, a post-apocalyptic fairy tale about loss and love, was published by Scholastic and The Foretelling, a book about an Amazon girl in the Bronze Age, was published by Little Brown. In 2007 Little Brown published the teen novel Incantation, a story about hidden Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, which Publishers Weekly has chosen as one of the best books of the year. In January 2007, Skylight Confessions, a novel about one family's secret history, was released on the 30th anniversary of the publication of Her first novel. Her most recent novel is The Story Sisters (2009), published by Shaye Areheart Books.

Hoffman's work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine. She has also worked as a screenwriter and is the author of the original screenplay "Independence Day" a film starring Kathleen Quinlan and Diane Wiest. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Self, and other magazines. Her teen novel Aquamarine was recently made into a film starring Emma Roberts.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Doug Hiser on July 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
My name is Doug Hiser, author of the 2006 novel,The Honey Bee Girl. I have been reading and collecting Alice Hoffman books since I discovered Turtle Moon. I have read them all and The Fortelling is my favorite. I loved her narrative and moving story. In some ways it reminded me of Clan of the Cave Bear and also of mystical ancient cultures that we see only in dreams. Alice Hoffman's prose is the main reason I fell in love with her books. She is the magic realism of writing the way Michael Parks is of the dreamlike reality of art and Frank Frazetta is the master of fantasy painting. The Fortelling is a short work of literary genius accessible to everyone. She has deep intense knowledge of the emotions and feelings that most people can only guess about. Discover her writing through this compelling work and then find your way into her other books. You won't be disappointed. Doug Hiser
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Books and Things on April 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The first words: "I was born out of sorrow, so my mother named me Rain."

This sets the book up for a short and lyrical coming of age story through the eyes of Rain as one of the legendary Amazon sisters. Rain's birth was anything but joyous because it was born out of gang rape, so her mother shunned her. As she grows she learns everything she can about life of the Amazons. For knowledge is power and she much know how the whole society runs. She excels in horse training and riding and becomes as her grandmother, a true sister of the horse. Because she is a queen-to-be and also because her mother shuns her, she is set apart and often travels alone. These adventures with the advice from one of their most wise and psychic priestesses, Deborah, help her to see that what is beyond their borders is not all evil. Not all to be shunned. This becomes the beginning of her quest to becoming her true self, including her questions about if she wants to even be queen.

I think this book is a quick and interesting fictional look into a culture that did exist many moons ago (hey, got to get into character here). However, it really is a look at one girl's life as she questions and learns and grows into her own wisdom and seeks the courage to become what she should become. There are references of rape, and sex, but it is not done in a graphic way and dealt with in a way that would make sense at that time. I give this book 3 1/2 stars.

Loved this quote from the book: "The weak are cruel: the strong have no need to be."
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tami Jayne Jackson on December 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
After spending the winter holidays surrounded by deviant male behavior -- including derrogatory remarks made about women at work, such as: "a woman is only worth-while if she's willing to have sex with you, otherwise she's worthless" (I'll bet such males make their mothers, sisters and daughters feel very safe at night) I found the following book to offer very satisfying emotional relief.

"The Foretelling" by Alice Hoffman is rivoting. It offers a vision of inspiration for all girls who want to become something more than subservient. I read the novel in one evening and it is out in hardback right now.

It's about a tribe of Amazon women (no men, except when they are captured, drugged and otherwise used to increase the daughters to be born to the tribe). The men are either killed after the sex ceremonies or released to their own tribes but the Amazon women have no need for men on a regular basis. They do not wish to become subjects as wives so even their own sons are either killed or delivered to the tribe of the departed father. (Note: while sex is alluded to in this book, it is not dwelled on or elaborated upon and there are not details other than the idea that a women lie down with men -- because of that, I feel this book would be very appropriate for teen readers).

One man lives among the Amazon, but his legs are broken so he cannot run away and he is kept as a slave to do masonry type work (not for stud service, as so many males in our society might hope).

Fascinating read. The main character is a young girl named Rain who yearns for her mother's (the head huntress/chief's) affection but cannot have it because Rain is the reminder of a brutal rape that said elder/warrior endured when she was just 13 years old.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on April 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In this intense yet complicated fantasy story, Rain attempts to gain her mother's notice and acceptance by being the best of warriors in their Amazonian tribe. The product of a rape when her mother, Alina, wasn't much more than a child herself, it is hard to gain the Queen's approval. Although Rain knows that she's been raised by Deborah, the wise priestess, to one day be Queen herself, she also pays attention to Deborah's promises of a much grander destiny.

Rain doesn't totally understand the Queen's desire to so thoroughly destroy her enemies, even though her own cousins, Astella and Asteria, are two of the fiercest warriors in the tribe. When Alina takes Penthe as her companion, and Penthe's daughter Io seeks to be Rain's sister, matters become even more complicated. Rain wants nothing more than to ride her horse, Sky, to garner her mother's approval, to earn the place as rightful Queen that will someday come upon her.

On her first journey alone, Rain comes upon a bear cub, which she takes back to camp. She names him Usha, and together with Io the two girls raise the cub as if he were a horse. Although Rain and Io soon discover the mistake of doing so, it's too late--Usha is killed in battle, and Rain still doesn't have the love and acceptance of her mother.

THE FORETELLING is a coming-of-age story set in a fantastical land of the Amazons. Rain is a compelling character who, although she tries so hard to be vicious and fierce like her fellow tribe-members, always leans more towards peace for all men and compassion towards her enemies.

Not to be missed by lovers of fantasy stories!
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