Song for the Basilisk ★★★★★

basilisk (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Song for the Basilisk
Series: ——
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 318
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The city of Berylon was ruled by 4 Great Houses, which in turn were led by House Tourmalyne. 30 some years ago House Griffin [Tourmalyne] was overthrown by House Basilisk, led by Arioso Pellior. Pellior killed every direct member of House Griffin, or so he thinks. One young boy survives and is spirited away to the Isle of Luly to become a nameless bard.

Caladrius grows up, has a son and refuses to remember. Until he makes his trip off the island and realizes that he must revenge his family and destroy House Basilisk. He becomes a nobody musician and works his way into the palace. With a magic lute filled with killer fire, Caladrius plans on assassinating the Basilisk at his birthday celebration. What he doesn’t count on is his son also coming to the city to find him.

He also doesn’t count on the daughter of the Basilisk having the same powers as her father. But where the Basilisk is evil, it isn’t so clear that his daughter is. Caladrius must decide if revenge for his past is the worth sacrificing the future of his son. And when it becomes apparent that the Basilisk plans to rule Berylon from beyond the grave through his daughter, she must decide if House Basilisk will stay ascendant over a dead city or bow its head to House Griffin and return things to their rightful place.

 

My Thoughts:

This book was about the power of magic within the guise of music. I don’t know how to go about talking about this book without just fanboying. McKillip can write like no one else I’ve ever read. I think then next book of hers I will read selections outloud to see if there is rhythm to her sentences. Her words flow.

The story itself is good. A tale of revenge that redeems itself instead of creating more death and destruction. The use of multiple instruments to show characteristics of the various people was fun to realize. It was skillfully drawn and I couldn’t remember which direction the Basilisk’s daughter took, so the ending was new all over again. The benefits of waiting 11 years between re-reads I guess.

Last time I gave this 4 Stars, but this time around I’m calling this a solid 5. McKillip’s writing is top notch. It is well crafted and more than that, it is artistic. It is a joy to read the story and a joy to read the wordcrafting itself.

Part of the reason I like most of McKillip’s writing so much is that this is as close to poetry as I’m going to get and to enjoy. I’ve tried various books of poetry throughout the years and each time it has defeated me and left me bored. But I WANT to like Poetry.

I’ve also included a high quality picture of the full cover art. I’ve included the link so if you click it it will go full size in its own window. Definitely the top contender for cover love in my June Roundup & Ramblings.

★★★★★

 

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bookstooge

  1. Song for the Basilisk (2006 Review)

Ombria in Shadow ★★★★☆

ombria (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 
Title:    Ombria in Shadow
Series:  ——
Author:  Patricia McKillip
Rating:  4 of 5 Stars
Genre:   Fantasy
Pages:  316
Format:  Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Ombria, Greatest City in the World. Ombria, a City said to Co-Exist with it’s own Shadow, a city in its own right.

The King has died, his mistress thrown out of the palace, the prince a drugged lackey to the Regent and a bastard cousin trying to stay alive amongst the factions. Throw in a sorceress and her helper and you have the ingredients for intrigue, love and just maybe how Fairytales come to be.

 

My Thoughts:

Another fantastic book by McKillip. Ombria is a city that appears to trade places with it’s own shadow every couple of generations but no one can ever remember the actual change. Stories come about that hint at it, but nothing concrete.

That is just the backdrop of this book and isn’t the central point, but the idea of The Past, A Shadow, The Undercity, all flow through the narrative like a deeper current in a wide river.

The actual story about the little prince, his father’s mistress, the bastard who wants to protect them both and the sorceress’s apprentice was really good. The tension was there for the whole story and you just didn’t know what was going to happen.

The ending was appropriately Fairytale’ish and I liked it. McKillip is a talented author and I just like her stuff.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

  1. Review from 2007

Dreams of Distant Shores ★★★★☆

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 
Title:         Dreams of Distant Shores
Series:      ———-
Author:    Patricia McKillip
Rating:     4 of 5 Stars
Genre:      Fantasy
Pages:      290
Format:   Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories and a novella showcasing McKillip’s writing style and preferred story content.

 

My Thoughts:

The majority of this book is taken up with the novella, Something Rich and Strange. I read that back in ’05 and wasn’t very impressed then and this time around nothing improved. That is the reason for the 1 Star deduction.

Now, the rest of the stories, they were excellent. They were what I EXPECT from McKillip. My favorite was about an artist who draws the Gorgon’s mouth and it becomes his muse, until it convinces him to fall in love with a real life girl who then becomes his true muse. Not being an artsy guy myself, most of the time I poo-poo stories dealing with art. However, this story, appropriately entitled The Gorgon in the Cupboard, drew me in and made the artist character sympathetic enough that even I was able to like him. The counter-story about the woman who becomes his muse, is poignantly sad and heartwrenching and provides a sad canvas upon which a happy story is drawn.

The Forward by Peter Beagle I could have done without. I am not a fan of Beagle, so his musings on meeting McKillip at various times came across as self-serving and very faux-humble.

If I ever read this again, I’ll just skip the novella and concentrate on the short stories.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

  1. 2005 Review of Something Rich and Strange

The Tower at Stony Wood

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 This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything and links at Booklikes, & Goodreads by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 
Title: The Tower at Stony Wood
Series: —–
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 306
Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis: Spoilers

A knight on a quest to free his rightful Queen. A noble on a quest to free his Kingdom. A bard on a quest to free her Sister. A mother on a quest to go back to the sea from which she came.

A story where all the storylines intersect at the oddest places and not even the characters know their true motivations.

 

My Thoughts:

In previous reviews of McKillip’s works, I tend to liken her writing as silk; it is beguiling, sensual, sensuous and soft.

A half seen shape at night in the forest, with distant laughter and the faint tinkling of bells. You can’t see it in whole, or even distinctly. When you look to your right, you catch a glimpse out of the corner of your eye to your left. When you spin around to catch it behind you, you feel it’s eyes on you from the front. You don’t know if it is your imagination playing tricks, an elven princess enchanting you or an evil sorcerer leading you astray. The only way to find out is to continue on. Is it a dot of honey on your lover’s nose, a glob on a bear’s paw or a comb in a bee’s nest? What if the honeycomb is a magic sword and the bear is an an enchanted knight and your lover is a witch?

When you wrap fog, silk, honey and darkness into a tapestry of words, then you have this story, this book. And if your very soul is not moved, transported to another realm, then I pity you your grey, joyless existence that you think is life.

Here is the picture that comprises the cover:

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bookstooge

 

  1. Previous Review from 2005

 

The Bards of Bone Plain


Bards of Bone Plain
Patricia McKillip
Fantasy
4 Stars
329 Pages
DTB


A bard misuses his power and is cursed to live without his music until he can fix his error. This was as pretty as any of her other books, but without so much mystery, so I found it easier to deal with.

The language used was as pretty as any of McKillip’s other novels, but the whole was not as mysterious. Hence, I actually enjoyed this more because I could concentrate on the flow of the words without worry about missing some tiny clue that was necessary for future reveals.

The Bell at Sealey Head

The Bell at Sealey Head
Patricia McKillip
Fantasy
4 Stars
277 Pages

A bell is heard at sunsight every day at a town. It has rung for hundreds of years. A magician comes to find it. In the process he sets free a magical realm that was taken over by his ever so great uncle. A house that hides doorways to the other kingdom. This was more prosey than her other stuff. I really enjoyed it.

Cygnet

Cygnet
Patricia McKillip
fantasy
3 stars
406 pages

comprising The Sorceress and the Cygnet & The Cygnet and the Firebird.

The first book I got really annoyed at the Wayfold man, who seemed insistent on being pigheaded and stupid. But it made the story, and it worked.

I really enjoyed the second one more. Dragons hunting Cygnets, love, time, magic and far away places. This wasn’t as poetical as some of her other stuff, but would be a great intro, since it is a bit more “prosey”.

The House on Parchment Street

The House on Parchment Street
Patricia McKillip
YA fiction
3 stars
190 pages

a young girl moves to England for a month to visit relatives. During that time, she and her cousin Bruce uncover and solve a 300 yearold mystery of a young girl’s ghost. This novel, like the one above, was very much about self-discovery and finding out about other people. Enjoyable simply because they are completely different from her fantasy writings.

The Night Gift


The Night Gift

Patricia McKillip

YA fiction

3 stars

156 pages

3 highschool freshman girls spend the summer making a “happy” place in an abandoned house for the older brother of one of them who has depression issues. During this time they learn about love, heartbreak and their families.

A very different genre and style from McKillip’s usual lyrical fantasy.