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Od Magic | [Patricia A. McKillip]

Od Magic

Brenden Vetch has a gift. With an innate sense he cannot explain to himself or describe to others, he is able to connect to the agricultural world, nurturing gardens to flourish and instinctively knowing the healing properties each plant and herb has to offer. But Brenden's gift isolates him from people and from becoming part of a community - until the day he receives a personal invitation from the Wizard Od.
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Publisher's Summary

Brenden Vetch has a gift. With an innate sense he cannot explain to himself or describe to others, he is able to connect to the agricultural world, nurturing gardens to flourish and instinctively knowing the healing properties each plant and herb has to offer. But Brenden's gift isolates him from people and from becoming part of a community - until the day he receives a personal invitation from the Wizard Od. She needs a gardener for her school in the great city of Kelior, where every potential wizard must be trained to serve the Kingdom of Numis. For decades the rulers of Numis have controlled the school, believing they can contain the power within it, and have punished any wizard who dares defy the law. But unknown to the reigning monarchy is the power possessed by the school's new gardener, a power that even Brenden isn't fully aware of, and which is the true reason Od recruited him.

©2005 Patricia A. McKillip; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"With lyrical prose, well-limned characterizations, vibrant action, a sense of the wonder of magic, and a generous dollop of romance, this is a story that will bind readers in its spell." (Booklist)
"World Fantasy Award-winner McKillip demonstrates once again her exquisite grasp of the fantasist's craft....[A]n otherworldly delight" (Publishers Weekly)
"Lyrically told, the novel evokes an enchanting atmosphere and thoughtful tone...." (KLIATT)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (131 )
5 star
 (41)
4 star
 (48)
3 star
 (28)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (5)
Overall
4.1 (41 )
5 star
 (19)
4 star
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3 star
 (7)
2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (38 )
5 star
 (17)
4 star
 (9)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
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  •  
    Carol Concord, CA, United States 04-09-09
    Carol Concord, CA, United States 04-09-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    195
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    "Magic and mystery"

    The king has a stranglehold on magic, and that's just part of the complex, exasperating problem that several stubborn characters are working on from different angles. While it's probably too subtle for little kids, and not for moods when the reader wants battles and smiting, the book brims with conflicts and dramatic and humorous moments. The magic is solidly convincing, the humor is woven into the situations, and the characters are well-drawn and memorable (though I can never remember any names but Od's). The narrative point of view moves among several important characters, but the reader handles the shifts so masterfully that the listener doesn't even blink. It's an excellent book to listen to; I hope Audible gets all the rest of McKillip's books soon, and that they're all this well-performed.

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. West Roxbury, MA, USA 05-26-09
    H. West Roxbury, MA, USA 05-26-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great to have a McKillip, but not with this reader"

    Not the very best of McKillip's work but still with the odd, unexpected, quiet charm which distinguishes her prose, her characters, and her imagery from any other writer's, _Od Magic_ is a fine place for a publisher to start with recordings. The world is complex, the characters varied, the story not so intricate as to leave a listener stranded but a long way from simple.

    But the reader. Gabrielle de Cuir has a sweet, breathless, girlish voice which embroiders on every hint of wonder until it loses all its interest. She doesn't have the range for the variety of characters she's posed, but more, she seems to take the delicacy and beauty of McKillip's prose as a mandate to make a sticky-sweet spun-sugar confection out of a story that truly has more grip to it than that. de Cuir should be set to reading cyberpunk or other dystopias, where the *italic* quality of her reading would provide a contrast, a surprise, a source of richness in the reading. To have her reading McKillip is to reinforce every stereotype there is of McKillip's flowery-ness, every stereotype formed by readers who don't pay attention to the real tensions and ambiguities laced - yes, delicately, but with great tensile strength - through the narratives. De Cuir reads _Od Magic_ exactly the way someone who didn't like the book would expect it to be read.

    I've been a fierce fan of Patricia McKillip's works since 1981. When _Od Magic_ was published, I bought it and read it and liked it very much. Every month or so, I do a hitherto useless search for any of her books available through Audible. When I found one, I bought it. I downloaded it. I started it. I never finished. Now, when I do my searche for anything by McKillip, it's with both eagerness and dread: what if there is another one, one I like even more? But--what if it's read by de Cuir?

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Eglestone Princeton, FL USA 09-27-10
    M. Eglestone Princeton, FL USA 09-27-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    267
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    49
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    3
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    Overall
    "Very good story."

    Od Magic is a very good story. It starts out slowly but builds to a rather exciting, fast paced, conclusion. I would recommend it to any fantasy fan.

    This is an Audio Book and the narration leaves a lot to be desired. The colorless, sing song monotone voice that Gabrielle de Cuir uses for everything except character dialogue nearly destroys the listeners interest in continuing during the slower parts. I really don't understand what she was trying to do with that voice because she does absolutely outstanding character dialogues.

    Since this is an Audio review, I have to give it 3 stars instead of 4. The narration is weak.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mysticalsister San Francisco, CA, United States 10-30-09
    Mysticalsister San Francisco, CA, United States 10-30-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    308
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    Overall
    "Great Fairytale!"

    I listened to the book a while ago, but when i noticed I hadn't reviewed it, I was surprised. This was a very entertaining listen and I was swept away by the story. What is really interesting, is how it's stayed with me. I find myself looking again and again for a sequel. The reader was wonderful, too. I know I will listen again and again. Soon!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christa Decatur, Georgia, United States 08-30-12
    Christa Decatur, Georgia, United States 08-30-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautiful prose, so-so story and terrible narrator"

    McKillip's imagery is rich and dense, and I enjoy the way she paints pictures with words, though I suspect the surrealism and dream-like quality of some scenes will wear on some people's patience. Unfortunately, the reader seems inspired by this aspect of the prose to read in a slow, sing-song voice like a bad actress playing a person under hypnosis.

    As for the story, I thought it had potential, but it never seemed to grow complex. The characters didn't evolve enough, especially Brendan Vetch, who seemed originally meant as the protagonist, but seems the least interesting character by the end. We are presented with a supposedly dangerous mystery, and character conflicts, but just as everything is coming to a climax, Od, the ancient wizard who everyone respects and no one will defy, steps in and fixes everything like a teacher sorting out squabbling children.

    If it weren't for the narrator, I'd say it was still worth a listen, so I recommend listening to the sample before buying.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy white plains, NY, USA 01-07-10
    Timothy white plains, NY, USA 01-07-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Not her best, but solid and refreshing"

    Once again, Patricia McKillip breathes fresh air into a genre drowning in Lord of the Rings clones and D&D adventures gone bad, and while this isn't her strongest work, it's still a great listen.

    Few if any fantasy authors capture the sense of wonder and fairy like she does, even the ones who are excellent for other reasons. Her style is evocative of the time pre-Tolkien: closer to the King of Elfland's Daughter than to Dragonlance.

    Gabrielle de Cuir's narration is as excellent as ever: I am always happy to see her name crop up.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John BATON ROUGE, LA, United States 12-02-09
    John BATON ROUGE, LA, United States 12-02-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Story Ruined by Deus Ex Machina"

    Od Magic starts out more like a panting with words than a book. The story progresses from its beginning into a fairly interesting story with well developed characters and an interesting setting. There are wonderful scenes of magic painted such that I'll always remember them. However, once we have the characters established and the setting painted, the story starts to drag for a little while.

    The characters spend far too much time whining about their situations or running away from their problems and hiding or making half-hearted attempts to find other characters that are running away or hiding. While, in many ways, the actions of the characters are realistic within this fantasy realm, it doesn't make a very interesting story.

    Anyway, the story improves every time there is a scene with a magical performance, or a character actually makes a choice and acts on it. The story picks up pace towards the end, and approaches a moment of truth that had me holding my breath. The characters come to the moment: the wizard seeking to maintain the king's rule over magic and the wizard wanting it to be free, the king and his daughter, simple and peaceful magics and laws based in fear. Then Od comes in as a sledgehammer of a Deus Ex Machina, each confrontation is interrupted, and Od takes away all the choices.

    It would have been an amazing story if it had a different ending.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jana Riverside, CA, USA 08-07-09
    Jana Riverside, CA, USA 08-07-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyable listen."

    I ejoy character driven novels and this one was extremely entrtaining. Strong character development and intriguing well, intrigue. The only downfall was the ending, which felt a bit weak after all of the strong build up during the body of the story.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Anderson Nevada, USA 07-11-09
    Kristi Anderson Nevada, USA 07-11-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful"

    I really loved this book, it was wonderfully enchanting. This author is very descriptive and it isn't very difficult to picture exactly what she's describing. She also has very interesting and in depth characters without being to overwhelming. I also really liked the resolution at the end.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ARR Miskatonic U 10-17-12
    ARR Miskatonic U 10-17-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mckillip is great, and this book is no exception."

    Mckillip is one of my very favorite authors. Her books are like lush, intensely detailed tapestries- rich and luscious, elegantly crafted.

    I would also highly recommend Song for the Basilisk.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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