I read this book over and over when I was a kid. I loved the magic, the imagry, the animals, the world within the book. As a kid, though, I never understood the ending. I knew I was missing something and I never knew what. I put the book away for years, and found it as an adult. Re-reading it, I still loved the magic, the imagry, the animals, and the world, but now I finally got the ending. It was about relationships, and also revenge for feeling violated, two things my childish mind had no way to understand. Now that I'm finally able to understand the subject matter, this book is still one of my favorites.
Fine reading, especially for characterization studies. Mild sex and some violence, not for younger YA. The story revolves around a witch and her journey thru herself, learning to love while being drawn into the politics of the larger world which she had been avoiding. Really fine reading, great characters, and more.
A wonderful story!! Sybel is a reclusive enchantress who has spent her life on the Mountain calling "fantastic creatures" to live with her. But her world takes a sudden change when a man brings her a child...then returns to reclaim it.
This was my first McKillip book, and I've been hooked on her since.
Daughter and granddaughter of wizards, Sybel rules a kingdom of magical beasts. Then an infant human is placed in Sybel's care, beginning a wondrous epic quest of magic, romance, betrayal, and adventure in the highest traditions of fantasy. Rich and regal, a very good book!
Sixteen when a baby is brought to her to raise, Sybel has grown up on Eld Mountain. Her only playmates are the creatures of a fantastic menagerie called there by wizardry. Sybel has cared nothing for humans, until the baby awakens emotions previously unknown to her. And when Coren--the man who brought this child--returns, Sybel's world is again turned upside down.
Sybil was raised on Eld mountain by her father. Her only company was the animals that her father called to the mountain. After her father died she maintained the animals and studied magic to become an unparalleled sorceress. She spends days upon days trying to call the one creature that she thinks can give her complete freedom, the creature called the Liralen. One day she is interrupted by someone at her gate; Coren wants her to take in and protect a baby named Tam. When Sybil accepts Tam into her mountain home she is drawn into a deadly conflict between two factions. Sybil struggles to remain separate from the world of men, but instead is drawn deep into it as Tam grows to manhood.
This book is a very deliberately paced book. It is beautifully written, in an older style but with lush description and very literature-like language. This is very much a traditional young adult fantasy. To be honest I had trouble getting through the first chapter which details Sybil's lineage and how she comes to live on the mountain; I kept falling asleep. After I got past the first chapter however I found myself intrigued by what would happen to Sybil and Tam as they were drawn further and further into man's conflicts. For such a simple story this book touches on many deep philosophies. It looks at living in isolation, the relationship to your mother and father, revenge, fear, peace, and love. The characters, especially Sybil, go through a tumultuous emotional growth throughout the story. The animals that Sybil "keeps" are delightful and represent aspects of human personalities; such as wisdom, fierceness, grace, direction.
This was a great read for children and adults alike. Despite some violence, it is definitely appropriate for younger children. I am always impressed with the beauty of McKillip's writing. I will say her books always make you think and always end up wandering into some deeper aspects of human philosophy.
I really enjoyed this book. The story had a little bit of everything... romance, fighting, fantasy, love, hatred, pride. In comparison with other fantasy novels I read, it is not the best or even on my top ten. Even though I enjoyed it, I doubt I'll ever have the want to read it again. I would recommend this book to anyone that loves fantasy with a touch of romance.
I don't get it? Here's this girl who just randomly happens to have all these magical animals under her control?
I had to put this down within the first chapter. It was just horrid. Maybe I didn't give it a chance, but if I'm not at least semi-interested in the beginning, it doesn't have a chance to get any better.
The writing was confusing, I never knew who was speaking, a person or the magical creatures. There were too many creatures, I never knew what was what, and the main character was in no way likable.