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The Forgotten Beasts of Eld Paperback – September 19, 2017
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Newly available in print and e-book editions
"Rich and regal."
―The New York Times
Young Sybel, the heiress of powerful wizards, needs the company of no-one outside her gates. In her exquisite stone mansion, she is attended by exotic, magical beasts: Riddle-master Cyrin the boar; the treasure-starved dragon Gyld; Gules the Lyon, tawny master of the Southern Deserts; Ter, the fiercely vengeful falcon; Moriah, feline Lady of the Night. Sybel only lacks the exquisite and mysterious Liralen, which continues to elude her most powerful enchantments.
But when a soldier bearing an infant arrives, Sybel discovers that the world of man and magic is full of both love and deceit, and the possibility of more power than she can possibly imagine.
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"Rich and regal."
―New York Times
“McKillip’s strange, enchanting stand-alone fantasy The Forgotten Beasts of Eld has been reissued. It follows Sybel, a woman with strange powers who collects fabulous beasts, whose power draws the attention of forces battling each other out in the world. Sybel must use her talent ― but will she win, or lose, herself? The novel won the World Fantasy Award and the writing is simply beautiful.”
“With its elegant language and lovingly rendered heroine, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld has won the love of readers young and old alike ― it’s a book that feels richer with every rereading.”
―Reedsy, Go on a Magical Adventure with the 60 Best Fantasy Books of All Time
"This is my favorite book of all time. If I had to pick a desert island book, it would be this one."
―Gail Carriger, New York Times bestselling author of the Parasol Protectorate
“Before Daenerys was Mother of Dragons, Sybel commanded beasts of all kinds. McKillip offers up a powerful character full of passion, determination, obsession, and love.”
―A. C. Wise, author of The Kissing Booth Girl
"This is what great literature looks like: bold, self-incisive, powerfully feminist without drawing attention to anything but the prose, the characters, and the story."
―Usman T. Malik, author of The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn
"Some books stay with you. It's been over forty years now since I first read The Forgotten Beasts of Eld and succumbed to its enchantments. With its rich and lyric prose, its wondrous mix of characters (beasts included!), and its thoroughly enchanted world it was unlike anything I had read to that point. Forty years later I still cherish the experience."
―Bruce Coville, author of the Unicorn Chronicles
"Patricia McKillip's Forgotten Beasts of Eld is stunning . . . it filled me with joy and awe at the power of love, writing, and fantasy."
―Max Gladstone, author of the Hugo Award-winning Craft Sequence series
“An extraordinary book, and McKillip deserves all the praise she received for creating such a masterful, brave, intricately crafted universe. 10/10 stars”
“Intimate, gorgeous, quiet and deep, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld remains as resonant as ever.”
"Gorgeous, evocative, and fragile."
[The] Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a remarkable novel to come from such a young person: wise and deep and lucid and crisp."
"Like the Ring trilogy or the Earthsea books . . . this magical moonlit fantasy has dignity and romance, heart-stopping suspense, adventure, richness of concept and language and, perhaps rarest of all in romantic fantasy "a sly sense of humor."
"I read The Forgotten Beasts of Eld many years ago and was smitten. It is delicious and wise "a true classic."
―Susan Fletcher, author of Dragon's Milk and Shadow Spinner
"Fear, hope, love, hatred, and all that makes us human assume magical forms in McKillip's characteristically gorgeous prose."
―E. Lily Yu, author of "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees"
"There is a magic and grandeur to McKillip's focused prose, a kind of resounding clarity that lives and echoes in the mind long after the story is done."
―Ben Loory, author of Tales of Falling and Flying and Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day
"With elegant, lyrical prose, Patricia A. McKillip creates a timeless fairytale of love, revenge, and the cost of each. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a book I return to, time and again."
"It feels ageless, eternal, light and perfect like a star."
"The best fantasy novel of the year and perhaps of the decade. It's a mythical kingdom fantasy with a marvelous heroine, satisfying strange beasts, and chilling sorcery."
“More than 40 years after it was first published, McKillip’s World Fantasy Award-winner is unquestionably a classic of the genre, and it reads as timelessly as ever in this new print and ebook edition.”
― B&N Week’s New Sci-Fi & Fantasy spotlight
“5/5 stars. This novel, like so many of McKillip’s stories, reads like a waking dream, one readers will want to escape into again and again. This is one of those books that can’t come with enough high recommendation.”
―Seattle Review of Books
“5/5 stars. Myths and legends come alive, riddles abound, and magic seeps through each word. This is an utterly enticing story, with a fascinating heroine”
―Night Owl Reviews
"A remarkable work of Literature."
―The Royal Library
"Patricia McKillip weaves an incredibly rich, poetic, wise and mystical story, holding her readers spellbound."
―St. Louis Dispatch-Post
“McKillip's elegant prose lends this dark fairytale a dreamy, mythic quality. A fantastic read featuring a fantastic heroine.”
―Best Fantasy Books
“A masterful wordsmith. McKillip has no peer when it comes to incantatory prose, and her wizardry spells you into a waking dream in this breathtaking tale.”
“McKillip’s prose is utterly enchanting, steeped in a fairytale-like storytelling.”
“This novel is a bonafide masterpiece, as well as a modern classic, and one of my all-time favorite novels. Every fantasy fan should read it.”
―John R. Fultz, author of Seven Princes
“The book is full of magic, wonder and fantastic creatures. It tells a heartwarming story of an independent woman who grows as a person and learns some important life lessons. This really is a wonderful read, and I fully understand why McKillip is recommended so highly.”
“McKillip’s world is clear and intricately drawn, with Sybel’s secluded life juxtaposed to the kingdom in turmoil just beyond her reach. The combination makes for a magical reading experience.”
“A beautiful wizard; magical, sentient animals,; lovely prose; and complex attachments and relationships have made The Forgotten Beasts of Eld a classic adored and re-read by those who first discovered it decades ago.”
―A Garden Carried in the Pocket
“I read [Eld] first when I was a girl, and I still count it as one of my favorite books of all time.”
―Jeffe Kennedy, author of The Shift of the Tide
“The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a stunning masterpiece of fantasy. 10/10 stars.”
“A magnetic and magical writer . . . a terrific book.”
―Green Man Review
“Exquisitely written and has the feel of an original fairy tale, with all the emotional strength of the very best fables and legends.”
Praise for Patrica A. McKillip
"McKillip's is the first name that comes to mind when I'm asked whom I read myself, whom I'd recommend that others read, and who makes me shake my grizzled head and say, "Damn I wish I'd done that"
―Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn and The Overneath
"I read, and reread McKillip eagerly. She reminds me that fantasy is worth writing."
―Stephen R. Donaldson, author of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
"Patricia McKillip is the real thing and always has been. She shows the rest of us that magic can be made with words and air; that is it worth doing and worth doing well."
―Ellen Kushner, author of Swordspoint and Thomas the Rhymer
"Ever since finding and loving The Riddle-Master of Hed many years ago, I have read everything Patricia McKillip has written. You should too."
―Garth Nix, author of Sabriel and the Keys to the Kingdom
"Some authors we read for their characters and their plots, others for the beauty of their language. I read Pat McKillip for all three."
―Charles de Lint, author of The Riddle of the Wren and The Blue Girl
"World Fantasy Award winner McKillip can take the most common fantasy elements, dragons and bards, sorcerers and shape-shifters and reshape them in surprising and resonant ways.
―Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Elegant and absorbing, [McKillip's] work never reads as stiff or formal, as some fantasy stories can lean toward, and the language, while beautiful, never loses the reader, but instead remains both lyrical and deeply visceral."
―Manhattan Book Review
“If you need a book that will help you take a deep breath in the midst of your feverishly-paced life, I heartily recommend a visit to Sybel’s world.”
About the Author
Internationally-bestselling author Gail Carriger's debut novel, Soulless, won the ALA's Alex Award. Her wildly popular steampunk Parasolverse contains multiple series including the Parasol Protectorate, which was also published as a graphic novel. Carriger has received the Steampunk Chronicle's Reader's Choice YA Award, the Prix Julia Verlanger, the Elbakin Award, and a Starburner Award in Literature. Her novels have been published in eighteen languages and made the New York Times list thirteen times. She lives in California.
- Publisher : Tachyon Publications; Reprint edition (September 19, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1616962771
- ISBN-13 : 978-1616962777
- Reading age : 10 - 13 years
- Item Weight : 7.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.8 x 7.38 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #355,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Thematically, the novel explores how and why one so powerful (and even ones not so powerful) could be used and abused to further the machinations of man. It also does not shy away from pointing out how even the best of intentions can be interpreted as abusive and does not back down from portraying a heroine capable of the very real human failing of holding others to a double standard.
Against a really simple but beautiful metaphor, Sybel ultimately learns that one cannot merely survive one’s fears by staring them in the face, but also must accept them as part of herself. It’s also some of the best feminist fiction I’ve read in recent years and deals considerably (though not overtly) with the role of consent and choice as well as puts forth thoughtful ideas about captivity and free will.
Anyway, it was a terrific read and if you like lyrical, nuanced prose that is complicated and poignant despite its simplicity and dialogue that is by turns delicate and unsentimental, romantic but fierce, ambiguous and direct, then this is highly recommended.
1. A pale-skinned, white haired, virginal female protagonist so beautiful & powerful that every powerful man who sees her instantly desires her for her power and/or beauty, who...
2. Uses her power to enslave the minds of intelligent, magical creatures, and to control men, but we're supposed to feel pity for her when someone attempts to do the same to her
3. The man who merely refuses to take "No" for an answer (instead of attempting to revoke her free will) is framed as sympathetic, and romantic for ignoring the Ice Queen's demands to leave her alone, throwing himself at her until he "melts her heart"
4. She engages in truly despicable behavior, further enslaving the minds of powerful men, and lying to the man she supposedly (somehow) now actually cares about
5. She makes an absolute mess of things, then runs away from the mess. Her powerful friends clean it up for her. Only the Bad People die. Everything turns out okay in the end, everyone still loves the Supreme Ice Goddess, and she never actually has to face any ramifications for her actions whatsoever.
6. So she goes back to enslaving the minds of intelligent magical beasts.
There is no moral lesson. Nothing to be learned. McKillip uses verbosity & vagueness to disguise idiotic nonsense as "cryptic wisdom," while reinforcing the most toxic and oppressive stereotypes of the fantasy genre. It's trash, from cover to cover. Thumbs down, zero out of five stars, do not recommend.
Then a local, lesser lord, Coren, arrives at her gate carrying a baby boy. The baby is Tamlorn, the son of her mother's younger sister, and also of King Drede.
But Drede believes,with some reason it must be said, that Tamlorn is in fact the son of one of Coren's older brother, Norrell. Norrell and Rhianna are dead, killed by Drede. Coren asks her to love, protect, and raise Tamlorn.
Twelve years later, Coren comes back, wanting to take Tamlorn away, to help Coren's family overthrow Drede, take revenge for Norrell's death, and place Tamlorn on the throne. Tamlorn doesn't want to go, and Sybel sends Coren away.
But this makes Tamlorn curious about his father. When Drede arrives, having discovered that Tamlorn really is his son, and Rhianna and Norrell never had the chance to be alone together, Tamlorn wants to meet him. Ultimately, he decides he wants to go with Drede.
This is the point from which Sybel's life truly becomes complicated.
Up to this point, she has more or less replicated the lives of her father and grandfather, living in her tower, collecting and caring for her magical animals, studying magic. And raising one child. This is a point of some difference, in that Tamlorn is not a wizardling, and Sybel sought the help of a local witch woman, Maelga, which her father and grandfather never had, and they become, in effect, a family of three, rather than a family of two.
But now Tamlorn is gone to become Drede's heir.
And Coren and his brothers still want their revenge.
They have a plan. Drede also has a plan, based on his fear of having such a powerful wizard close by, and with an interest in his heir. And Sybel is determined not to be used.
When Drede pays another wizard, Mithrin, to eliminate the danger he sees in Sybel, while enabling him to keep her as his meek, contented, but still magically powerful wife, he unleashes something that will disrupt all their lives, as Sybel becomes a third party seeking revenge.
In many ways I'm describing the wrong things about this book. Sybel, Coren, Tamlorn, Maelga, and even Drede are all multilayered and interesting characters. Sybel's magical animals are not just living trophies, but powerful, opinionated, and often wise. The language is beautiful and rich, but never so ornate as to be a distraction. And the three major contenders here, Sybel, Coren, and Drede, all need to confront their fears in the most literal and terrifying way possible, if they are to survive and achieve their goals.
This is a wonderful book, and it's a joy to reread it after many years.
I bought this audiobook.
Top reviews from other countries
I still think she has never bettered the Riddle master of Head trilogy but that's a personal judgement
Sixteen when a baby is brought to her to raise, Sybel has grown up on Eld Mountain with only the fantastic creatures called there by wizardry as playmates. She has cared nothing for humans, until the baby awakens emotions previously unknown. And when Coren - the man who brought this child - returns, Sybel's serenity is shattered.
Up this then, the book was excellent. Then it bacame mishy-mushy. The action still remained, but it seemed as though McKillip had placed more weight than usual on the romantic feelings between Coren and Sybel. It reminded me of my Harlequin period as an 18-year old.