With the new edition of Patricia A. McKillip’s World Fantasy Award-winner THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD, available in paperback and for the first time as an ebook, interest continues to flourish throughout the web.
Photo: Stephen Gold/Wikimedia Commons
A GARDEN IN THE POCKET enjoys the fantasy.
Both a poetically rendered fairy tale and a morally complex narrative that illustrates large and small corruptions that result from destructive decisions, the novel turns a fairy tale into a kind of parable.
The villains can’t be absolved for their decisions, but their reasoning and histories are understandable in the realm of human flaws and motivations. The heroine is justified in her fury, but is also forced to confront her own destructive need for revenge.
A beautiful wizard; magical, sentient animals,; lovely prose; and complex attachments and relationships have made THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD a classic adored and re-read by those who first discovered it decades ago. Does it appeal to today’s youth? I don’t know, but it seems that its influence remains in the works of many current authors who fell in love with it when they first read it.
JAMES NICOLL REVIEWS praises the novel.
McKillip’s skilful prose makes this novel memorable. While contemporaries like Dickson (THE DRAGON AND THE GEORGE) wrote in a passable contemporary vernacular, others like Brooks (THE SWORD OF SHANNARA) delivered prose that clanked and thumped. Donaldson, another fantasy writer, carried out a long-winded, two-fisted assault on the English language, McKillip opts for lyricism. The result is dreamlike, which is entirely suitable for a modern fairy tale.
Jeffe Kennedy, author of THE SHIFT IN THE TIDE, in an interview with Veronica Scott at HAPPY EVER AFTER, cites the book as major influence on his own work.
One major influence was Patricia McKillip’s THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD. So much so that I dedicated the book to her. I read it first when I was a girl, and I still count it as one of my favorite books of all time. It’s the story of a soldier in love with a wizard woman, Sybel, among other things. It’s always stuck with me, the way he loved her because of her magic and strange ways. For some reason, when I went to write Zynda’s story, so much of Sybel’s came back to me. There are scenes in this book that channel McKillip’s, though they might be invisible to anyone else. Still, much of the magic is there.
For more info about THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Thomas Canty