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A Glimmer of Guile Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
I’ve thought for a while that I needed to write a fantasy novel where women were strong without being man-hating or evil. As it turns out, I don’t. Mary Patterson Thornburg has done it for me. The book follows the story of Vivia, who possesses a great deal of Guile, which is more of an intelligence or deep perception than witchcraft, but which also allows her to manipulate the environment around her. She sets off on a quest to find a missing prince, and along the way she meets other Guilish women and must defeat powers stronger than her own. (The plot is more complicated than this – there are politics involved, complicated familial relationships, and back stories galore.)
Thornburg is a writer’s writer. The syntax and rhythm of her prose has a liquid quality to it. Her imagery has stayed with me in the weeks since I read the book. Her women are three dimensional and intelligent, and ultimately control the fates of the characters in the book. Romance is not absent, rather, it is on equal terms with the men. At one point, Vivia, the main character, feels the stirring of her romantic feelings. Rather than swoon, or worry about her appearance, Thornberg describes Vivia’s feelings this way: “Something happened inside me then, a kind of tremendous fluttering as if I were a tree full of birds that had startled up and then settled briefly, tense and quiet but ready to fly.” Isn’t that gorgeous? Describing one meeting between the parties, Thornberg calls it “[a] wrestling match disguised as a tea party.” Ah – haven’t we all been involved in those superficially pleasant battlefields at some point? What a concise and beautiful way of describing it.
This is a grown up book, though there is nothing in it that I wouldn’t let a teenager, even a young one, read. Since the supernatural genre is popular, I would much rather my daughter read about Vivia than most of the other, more popular heroines.
Vivia, the central character, is well drawn and likeable – I was with her all the way on her quest, willing her to succeed against the many perils in her path.
A major climax comes 75% of the way through (no spoiler given here), and I was a little concerned any more might be anti-climactic. But no – the remainder is necessary and enjoyable as intrigues in the backstory are explained, mysteries solved, and we find how Vivia moves on with her life.
Altogether, an enjoyable read at the time and a story that will stay in my memory.
And big plus – this is the first book I have read for some time in which I didn’t pick up at least one or two proofing errors.
I will certainly be looking for more of Mary Patterson Thornburg’s books.
An engaging heroine, a lively pace and flashes of humor make this a thoroughly enjoyable read. The writing, at times lyrical, never drags. I would recommend this book to teens as well as adults.
To start with, I found the title intriguing, as I’m sure was intended, and although I don’t read a great deal in the fantasy genre, this story held me entranced throughout. This was partly due to Thornburg’s excellent writing has a beautiful lyricism to it compared to most modern writers, but without superfluity. It makes me think of painting on silk as opposed to board or canvas – full of delicate and smoothly flowing lines.
It’s impossible not to love the colourful characters with their exotic names who parade the pages of the story. Vivia, young heroine is sent out on a daunting quest which few would be brave enough to face. The friends (and enemies) she meets on her journey are so interesting, they could each command their own story, but they all help move Vivia’s dangerous quest – and the story - forward to its satisfying and tightly-woven conclusion. At its heart is a quiet, but sincere, love story complicated by the life decisions Vivia has to make involving her mentor, Raym.
By the time I’d finished reading, I’d become so immersed in the fictional world and the characters, that I felt quite bereft to leave them. There was a hint of sadness about the determined Vivia that made her endearing – a worthy heroine. I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying this story; it will appeal to readers of all ages, and I highly recommend it.
(This book was sent to me without any obligation to read or review it)