Ombria. It is a city that echoes with the footfalls of sapphire-heeled shoes...that holds its breath as a straw-haired apparition glides through its streets...that sees its dreams-and nightmares-take shape in the drawings of a bastard-heir. It is an enchanted time and place envisioned by World Fantasy Award winner Patricia A. McKillip, acclaimed author of The Tower at Stony Wood....
©2002 Patricia A. McKillip (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
World Fantasy Award, Best Novel, 2003
This story is very much in an adult fairy tale style (not "adult" as in: porn, XXX, etc. but rather thought/scope). LOL. Similiar to "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" in style/desired effect ...but THIS author manages to pull off the delicate fairy tale atmosphere (in my opinion) without surrendering logic. The story is not quite as simple as it seems on the surface. I am going to have to go back, reread it and pay a tad bit MORE attention to a few details here and there. There is no attempt to explain how the magic works and none is needed (for the true fairy tale atmosphere) ...but there IS an underlying logic to the bones of the tale. Nice.
I sometimes find the plots of Patricia A. McKillips books to be difficult to follow and lacking coherence, but she more than makes up for that with her wonderfully lyrical writing. She has the unique ability to paint vivid and fantastical images in your mind with her words that flow with rhythm and a living heartbeat.
This story I enjoyed thoroughly from beginning to end. It is loaded with McKillip's abstract concepts, but the story has a symmetry to it that makes it feel whole and complete in the end.
Patricia McKillip is magic, and the fabulous narration cinched it for me. I wasn't expecting to choose this book of McKillip's Audible selections, but Dina Pearlman's made this the winner and I'm glad it worked out that way.
McKillip is a uniquely good author. Her books are difficult to understand at parts, even for a fan like myself. Her writing style is sheer beauty, but she can occasionally be difficult to understand.
Ombria in Shadow was an excellent story, narrated well and kept your interest. All McKillip's books are excellent. Some readers want more action, but action is too easy -- characters are what makes the story.
The witch's coming to really love another person and care what happened to her: her waxling.
The ancient witch.
I enjoyed taking time to listen and think about the next evenings sitting.
Reviewers compliment McKillip's "fairytale style," but I found it to be overboard, as if written for a child-- not in the new, edgy YA fashion of fantasy, but in literally a bedtime story for a 6-year old. I kept thinking I had dazed out and missed something. I didn't. It was just that simple.
This is a wonderfully evocative fairy tale, beautifully written and a pleasure to listen to. The narration is excellent. The book makes me think of Ellen Kushner's Privilege of the Sword visiting Zelazny's city of Amber with a bit of Gormenghast thrown in for good measure.
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