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Illyria Hardcover – May 13, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Illyria's setting is rich and lush, from the depictions of how Madeleine and Rogan spent their childhoods to the details in the sprawling, decaying homes that their families inhabit. Hand's writing is indeed intense, and the relationship she builds between the cousins is full of tension and passion, especially when they share private moments in the attic of Rogan's house, watching the tiny, magical toy theater they found. It is evident through their roles in Twelfth Night that both Madeleine and Rogan possess talent for the stage, but while one of them wastes it, the other embraces it, cleaving the two and showing them each very different futures. Though more practical-minded readers may have a hard time grasping the point of this short novel, Hand's writing is beautiful and her imagery vivid. Like any great tragedy, Illyria is haunting and gorgeous.
Maddy and Rogan's great-grandmother was a famous stage actress. When Maddy and Rogan are both cast in their school's production of Twelfth Night, they realize the extent of their own talents for acting and must decide what that means for their futures, both together and separately.
Okay, I'll just be honest here. After reading the other reviews of this book, I'm feeling pretty dumb. It's gotten rave reviews all over the place and won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella. I enjoyed it but I feel like I must have missed something. I wanted more. I wanted to know why the theater was in the attic and why it was enchanted and who put it there. I kept waiting for it to have more of a role in the story and it never did. The reviewer who wrote: "Though more practical-minded readers may have a hard time grasping the point of this short novel, Hand's writing is beautiful and her imagery vivid." sums it up nicely. I am too practical (and maybe not smart enough) for this book.
This book is extremely short, which is part of why I picked it up. It’s short and very thoughtful, kind of slow, but also a little sad.
It’s about these two cousins, the same age, who are in love with each other. They’re part of a large family that live on the same street, some of whom get along, their parents are strict and they don’t really get along with their siblings.
Their relationship is interesting, and I was actually kind of okay with it. Maybe because I knew ahead of time, though. They clearly are the only ones there for each other, with the same interests. They’re both interested in theatre, and him in singing. But while she wants to be an actor, he starts going down a bad path.
I liked the writing, for sure. It’s very pretty and thoughtful, and the image of the tiny theatre will probably stay in my head because it’s so pretty. But it’s also sad. The ending for both of the characters, but especially for him and their family, is kind of depressing. She has a better time, but only marginally. It doesn’t seem like anyone was really happy to me.
It was a worthwhile, pretty read, but sad.
[More of my reviews are available on my blog, Geeky Reading, to which there's a link on my profile.]
I read this story in one sitting. I didn't want to wait. Were they going to have a happy ending? Was something painful and dramatic going to happen? Would I laugh, or cry?
I think the storyline kept the perfect pace. Nothing earth shattering but no bumps in the road. It felt Real. And regarding the toy theater, such a focused topic in many of the other reviews. I personally think it wasn't meant to be a door into some magical place. I think it was a symbol of Maddy and Rogan's escape from the daily expectations and perceptions.
I enjoyed the time I spent with Maddie and Rogan. I hope you will too.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't usually read teen books but this is about a high school production of "Twelfth Night". Read morePublished 16 months ago by ann canann
This book is sheer magic. Illyria struck a deep emotional core in me that few other books have. It shows the mystical qualities of true love, and the damage that listening to other... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Sally Bosco
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales
Quick & Dirty: This was not a book for me.
Opening Sentence: Rogan and I were cousins; our fathers were identical... Read more
This novella was a magical read. The writing is beautiful. I purchased it because I had read another book by Elizabeth Hand, Waking the Moon, which I love. Read morePublished on June 30, 2013 by Bridget
I am a big fan of Elizabeth Hand and was thrilled to read about her newest book. I was not disappointed. Read morePublished on April 4, 2013 by Leslie Gallager
This one would have gotten the 5 stars if only it hadn't felt so summarized (especially at the end) and if only we could have had a bit more emotional resolution from... Read morePublished on March 9, 2013 by kbirdlincoln
A quick, but quite disappointing read. It's a book that does not have a resolution, or at least not one that I bought into. If there was a point to the story, I missed it. Read morePublished on December 17, 2012 by Bob Nolin
Madeleine and Rogan are first cousins born from twin brothers. The two live with their extended families in a compound of homes. Read morePublished on January 29, 2012 by Michelle Boytim
I sometimes think there are books that the more is said the more injustice is done. Illyria is one
of those books for me. Read more