- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 and up
- Series: Magic Carpet Books
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Magic Carpet Books; 1 edition (January 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0152055363
- ISBN-13: 978-0152055363
- Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.9 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 131 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #937,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (Magic Carpet Books) Paperback – January 1, 2006
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Almost destroyed because of a man's fear and greed, Sybel, a beautiful young sorceress, embarks on a quest for revenge that proves equally destructive. Winner of the World Fantasy award, this exquisitely written story has something for almost every reader: adventure, romance and a resonant mythology that reveals powerful truths about human nature. Locus praised it for its "marvelous heroine... and chilling sorcery" and The New York Times called it "rich and regal." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"A mythical kingdom fantasy with a marvelous heroine, satisfying strange beasts, and chilling sorcery."--Locus
Top customer reviews
“I need you to forgive me. And then perhaps I can begin to forgive myself. There is no one but you who can do that either.”
A book like this is intimidating to pick up. Not because it is mundane, nor because it is necessarily daunting (although it is, in a way). No, my friends. This book entails every aspect that fantasy writing is about, and it is truly breathtaking. Being disappointed with other fantasy reads after this book is why it is intimidating.
Compared to the writing of today's YA novels, this book automatically takes the lead in its overall quality. Its writing style, detail to plot and meaningfulness are (in my opinion) so much more when compared to what is out there today.
We are dropped into a new world, that isn't ever fully explained. Because of this, the reader is allowed to be left with a sense of yearning and wonderment to know more. To me, this is the key element to draw in the reader, and to make them thirst for more. Over-explanation of detail only "dumbs down" the writing to be taken at face-value, rather than allowing the readers' imagination to run wild. The tidbits that we are privy to are delicious, whimsical, and truly meaningful.
Now, to the story...
Our main character Sybel, is the daughter of Ogam, a man born from a line of wizards. His special powers allowed him to "call" many spectacular creatures to live among his castle walls, safely nestled in the mountains of Eld. Sybel, growing up in a world separate from the one she lives in, knows little of the outside world. She cares little for the dealings of men, and spends her time tending her beloved creatures, and calling the fabled Lorien, a mythical white bird, to join her.
Her solitude is interrupted when an unbidden man brings a baby to her doorsteps, insisting that she takes the child in and raises him in a place far away from the warring nations outside her walls. She consents, and realizes that she must learn what it means to love another human--something she is not used to doing.
As the child grows into a young man, Sybel develops a strong, motherly connection to him. But as he comes of age, Tamlorn is sought out, and called to rejoin the world of men, and take his rightful place as prince. Sybel calls Tamlorn's father, the king Drede to her to discuss terms for Tamlorn. When Drede meets Sybel, he immediately falls in love with her, and extends the offer for her to join him and Tamlorn.
Because of Sybel's odd upbringing and talents, she has developed a rather cold character. She doesn't know, or care much for the toils of men. That is, until she discovers that she is used by one who desires her for her power.
“It is not a bad thing, itself, but it is a bad thing to be used by men, to have them choose what you must be, and what you must not be, to have little choice in your life.”
Sybel's outlook on mankind transforms into a dark and corrupting thing, causing her to unabashedly use others to cast her revenge. But her desires for revenge do not come without their consequences.
“The giant Grof was hit in one eye by a stone, and that eye turned inward so that it looked into his mind and he died of what he saw there.”
As Sybel experiences life, love, loss, and joy, she must either grow, or forever be locked in the dark shackles of revenge, hurt, and mistrust. Because her character basically starts from zero, the reader gets to watch her "transform" as she learns more about human nature.
There are two different points in this book that I didn't necessarily like, and made me take a half-star off:
#1 Because this is a shorter novel, changes aren't always allowed enough time to happen without feeling a bit forced. An example of this is Sybel's character. She changes so much in such a short amount of time, that it isn't always believable.
#2 I felt that the imaginative expression could be slightly overwhelming at times, and could have used a bit more explanation.
Despite these two things, it is without a doubt that this is a beautiful story of growth, hardship, healing, and forgiveness. I would highly recommend this read to any lover of young adult fantasy.
Random side note: I think that Sybel is the original white-haired, dragon wielding heroine. Not Khaleesi.
Vulgarity: None that I recall.
Sexual content: Some advances are made towards Sybel, but they are stopped before anything happens.
A big thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!
On the outside the characters are basically distinguished based on their sex and eye color, wear their emotions on their sleeves, fall in love and make decisions at the drop of a hat and do things like "stroking hair" that crosses the border of HABIT into that of hair-stroking ADDICT.
The inside of these characters is where they--and the book--really shine. I haven't read a book with this many moral dilemmas in a long time! There were times I felt the characters acted a bit odd (Sybel and Coren's relationship), but on the other hand Sybel is not a normal woman, either. Who's to say how a lonely woman who has been living isolated on a mountain with animal-friends would act and what she secretly desires?
The storyline in general is rather spartan, only moving along because the characters are interesting and sincere enough.
Not alot of scenic descriptions but some of the names of beasts, characters and places roll sweetly off your tongue.
There is lots of dialogue and inner-thoughts, however McKillip doesn't always clue the reader in as to whether Character A or Character B is speaking first, which makes it a bit confusing at times.
I can clearly see how this got the World Fantasy Award (not many people write fairy-tales, much less good ones), but in spite of that I see it as something I probably would not want to re-read. A once-through is all you should need to take the important message from this story.
And an astoundingly well-written book, where the "magic" doesn't overpower the plot or get hauled out as a way to resolve problems.
Most recent customer reviews
This fantasy novel is beautiful and lyrical, a classic reminiscent of The Last Unicorn.Read more