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Author of the Week - Patricia McKillip

Our Fantasy Author of the Week for this week is Patricia McKillip. Which of her books or stories are your favourites, and why? What is it about her writing that impresses you? What is it about her writing that you like least?

I adored The Forgotten Beasts of Eld.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 13th, 2010 08:10 am (UTC)
Ah! One of my favorite authors ever. Some of my favorite books by her are The Book of Atrix Wolfe, Winter Rose and Alphabet of Thorn. The thing I like about her books is how often they shift and change between each time I read them. There always seems to be something new I notice about the story during each reading that changes the way that I look at the story.
Mar. 13th, 2010 08:16 am (UTC)
McKillip is one of my favourite authors, though she has, of late, started repeating her themes and falling into a rut. I adore the richness of her language and her worlds, with their dreamy, fairytale quality.

I fell in love with her right there on her first trilogy, starting with The Riddlemaster of Hed, with its science-fantasy feel and logical world building. Still a personal favourite. I thought she went down hill with the Cygnet books and, particularly, with Moonflash, though they are worth reading. For me, her real return to form started with The Book of Atrix Wolfe and continued right the way through until Alphabet of Thorn which, if I had to choose, would probably be my favourite, certainly of the later books. I am, however, having real trouble getting into The Bell at Sealey Head.

Edited at 2010-03-13 08:18 am (UTC)
Mar. 13th, 2010 08:44 am (UTC)
Absolutely loved Riddle of Stars trilogy and Forgotten Beasts of Eld, very much liked Stepping Into Shadows (not technically fantasy, but still . ..) and something else from the 80's I've forgotten the name of. I keep wanting to call it "Great Moon River" but I'm pretty sure that's not even close. Sadly, I haven't read anything new by her since then, tho I keep meaning to.

Favorite thing about her: The way she captures the atmosphere of a setting/situation/mood/emotion what have you. It sinks into my being when I read her books and usually leaves me feeling some combination of intoxicated, elevated and peaceful by the time I put it down. Tho she's pretty good at everything, writing-wise. N

Now I'm all wanting to go turn into a vesta and then into wind, and hang out in the snowy wastes. =)

Of course, I haven't reread any of these in over 10 years, so, dunno if I'd feel the same rereading now. But she's still among my favorite authors w/a couple of my all time most treasured books.
Mar. 13th, 2010 09:42 am (UTC)
Oh wow, Patricia McKillop! I never realised that other people liked her as much as I do. My favourite is probably The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, which to me is an example of how to do Celtic-inflected early-medieval fantasy correctly. It's quite a dark book, and it's very subtle, so that you don't realise the profundity of what it's saying until almost the end.

I adore it.
Mar. 13th, 2010 11:12 am (UTC)
She's one of my favorite fantasy writers. In addition to The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, I also really loved The Changeling Sea, The Tower at Stony Wood, and In the Forests of Serre.
Mar. 13th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC)
I just read The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and I liked it well enough but the purple prose got almost unbearable at times.
Mar. 13th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
I was about to make pretty much the same comment. I read Eld last year and found the prose terribly clunky, which was particularly distracting in a book whose primary aim seemed to be to create a dreamlike, poetic atmosphere.

I recall liking short stories of hers I've read in various anthologies, though, so I'll probably give one of her more recent efforts a try some time.
Mar. 14th, 2010 05:45 am (UTC)
This. I feel like I would LOVE her work, and I have a copy of this-or-that lying around, but every. time. I try to get through it, the purple proseness just has me itching for a red pen...
Mar. 13th, 2010 06:13 pm (UTC)
The changeling sea! I've had the same beat up copy forever. It's been read dozens and dozens of times.
Mar. 13th, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC)
I haven't read all of her books, but I've loved the ones I have read. My favorite is Song for the Basilisk. It's just gorgeous.
Mar. 13th, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
I adored the writing of Patricia McKillip when I was in high school, but haven't read anything since 'The Forgotten Beasts of Eld', and the riddle master books. I loved those two fantasies though.
Mar. 15th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
Loved The Forgotten Beasts of Eld but I don't know how well it would hold up if I reread it. I also liked The Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy. But beyond them all, I like the one science fiction novel I know she wrote--Fool's Run. In fact I am now inspired to find my copy and give it a reread to see how it holds up.
Mar. 18th, 2010 12:05 am (UTC)
Hi all! Just joined because someone mentioned that you had made McKillip your author of the week and said someone knew I'm always foisting McKillip books on other people. ;)

I'd have to say my favorites are Alphabet of Thorn (my first), The Sorceress and the Cygnet, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and Ombria in Shadow (one I just finished, and reviewed over on another LJ group where we were discussing it). But I do have to admit that I think half the reason I love McKillip so much is the "purple prose" several of you have complained about (*ahem* especially in The Sorceress and the Cygnet). The other half, of course, is that she doesn't bog her magic down with a system of rules and spend a hundred pages taking her characters through magic school -- magic imbues the worlds she creates in unexpected ways, and is never set apart as something separate from the rest of life.
Mar. 25th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)
I realize that the week is up but I only just discovered this community and had to post since this is the first time I've ever "met" other people who have read Patricia McKillip's books.

My three favourites ... in no particular order ... The Book of Atrix Wolfe, Ombria in Shadow, and Alphabet of Thorn (I'm actually in the middle of reading it for the second time). Oh, and I do want to re-read The Riddlemaster of Hed series.

Love her intriguing characters, love her lyrical prose, love how magic just is - no explanations, no rationalizations, no justifications. Just the way it should be in a faery tale.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )