Not much action - a lot of description. Excellent writing but I couldn't get into it.
I love Patricia McKillip's writing. It is very poetic and can occasionally be hard to get into, but it's well worth the effort. This is my favorite McKillip book. There was something about the converging of the different story lines and the nature of the quest described that resonated deeply with me. It is not fantasy fast food so invest in this book if you have time to digest it.
A wonderful fantasy, with strange twists and turns.
This is Patricia McKillip at her most dream-like. . . the prose is lyrical and winds its way through the story, the characters border are more mythic than realistic, and the plot sacrifices rational logic for the logic of fairy tales. Her novels are soap bubbles, frothy and delicate but with magical colors and lights sparking out of them at unexpected moments. This particular novel does not resonate with me quite as strongly as The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, The Sorceress and the Cygnet, or Alphabet of Thorn did, but I still can do nothing but recommend it highly.
This is a kind of 'quest-coming of age' book, although the participants are adults. Traditional elements braided together with the unique McKillip twist.
From inside cover: During the wedding festivities of his king, Cyan Dag, a knight of Gloinmere, is sought out by a mysterious bard and told a terrifying tale: that the king has married a false queen -- a lie cloaked in an ancient and powerful sorcery. Spurred on by his steadfast honor and loyalty, Cyan departs on a dangerous quest to rescue the real queen from her tower prison, to prevent war, and to awaken magic in a land that has lost its way...
"McKillip's irredescent prose cloaks a simple quest with effervescing images and tantalizing, shifting arpeggios of shapes, as a Celtic triple goddess spins and weaves Cyan Dag's fate. By showing that out of her hero's forgotten gesture of mercy in battle long ago came hope, compassion, peace, McKillip concurs with the poet Rilke that perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something that needs our love." --Publisher's Weekly (starred review)