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The Foretelling Hardcover – September 7, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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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
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Product Details

  • 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 (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,726,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have not been sure about Alice Hoffman's decision to start writing fantasy. but liked this better than green witch. Been a reader of her writings since she began and always found her books to be spellbinders. not so much this new fantasy road she is traveling.
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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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