Saturday, April 16, 2011

M: McKillip

Of all the authors I could read over and over and never be tired of, Patricia McKillip is on the top of the list. Her newest book, The Bards of Bone Plain, did not in any way disapoint me. Her prose is so rich, abuntant with feeling and imagery. She creates music with her words that you can feel in your bones.

The story of The Bards of Bone Plain centers, of all things, around the research of a term paper of young scholar, Phelan Cle. This is a McKillip world however, so even though the time era (if there is such a thing as time in her books) is something similar to Edwardian, bards still play at court and even something as mundane as chronologuing the life of a dead poet is clouded in magic and mystery. In fact, on closer imspection it is the simplest things that contain the most magic. The past quickly merges with the present as Phelen begins to unravel them both.

Even more than her astonishing style, what makes McKillip's books seem so much like poetry is that they exist in a place that follows no rules. Musicians compete for the position of royal bard with songs drawn from their bones while the queen throws garden parties and the princess drives her automobile to an archeological site to dig up ancient tombs. Anything can exist and yet the world winds around itself, so inctricately connected, so vivid and tantilizing that the reader never for a moment questions.

Other favorites by Patricia McKillip:

Alphabet of Thorn

Od Magic

Song For the Basilisk

The Forgoten Beasts of Eld

In the Forests of Serre

Note also the beautiful book covers by Kinuko Kraft. No one else could fully capture the mood of these books.


  1. Wow, I don't know how I missed these. Sounds like my kind of read. And the cover art reminds me of a Juliet Marillier novel: Wildwood Dancing. Very nice.

  2. I beleive Kunuko Craft did some art work for Julet Marriler's covers as well. I have my fingers crossed for my own book covers some day haha

  3. Those covers are amazing! I'm always looking for good fantasy. I'll have to check these out.

  4. I love Patricia McKillip! She creates beautiful worlds.

  5. Some of the covers remind me of drawings of the creatures of the Swedish forests: elves, fairies, trolls, and giants to name a few. I have never read Fantasy writers, but plan to come back here to see what I can learn. It's never too late after all. Thanks for stopping by my blog.--Inger

  6. Wow, those covers are beautiful! I'm going to have to try McKillip.

  7. You know, they say you can't judge a book by its cover, but that's not the case here. Patricia's books are very bit as beautiful as their covers.

  8. Nice review. Would you mind if I quoted a couple of sentences from it in a website I'm working on? I'll attribute the quote to you and link back to this page.