In the new fantasy from the award-winning author of the Riddle-Master Trilogy, a young man comes of age amid family secrets and revelations - and transformative magic....
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 ancient and powerful sorcery....
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....
Sixteen when a baby is brought to her to raise, Sybel has grown up on Eld Mountain....
Scholar Phelan Cle is researching Bone Plain-which has been studied for the last 500 years, though no one has been able to locate it as a real place......
Long ago, the wizards had vanished from the world, and all knowledge was left hidden in riddles....
As the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan, Julius survives by a simple code: keep quiet, don't cause trouble, and stay out of the way of bigger dragons....
When Sparrowhawk casts a spell that saves his village from destruction, Ogion, the Mage of Re Albi, encourages the boy to apprentice himself in the art of wizardry....
Like most normal people, Ben hadn't the faintest idea there was an Institute of Magic....
On a rare venture out from her step-mother's hat shop, Sophie attracts the attention of a witch, who casts a terrible spell transforming the young girl into an old crone....
In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance....
Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother's mysterious death, he's lived alone on the streets of Boston....
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?
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
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.
20 of 21 people found this review helpful
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.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
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.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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
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
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 6 people found this review helpful
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
This is very fine work. This is fantasy in the best.
Not a disguised action. Not a first plan dream. Not a wish for miracle.
But great metaphor to today problem. In readable and enyoable form.
What other book might you compare Od Magic to and why?
Listen to Bards of Bone Plain instead. The reading is better, and I think the action is more suited to listening. Od Magic is a pretty slow read, and makes for a slower listen.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
The narrator's voice was overly husky and sounded stilted, like she was trying to convince her listeners of the magic and import of every. single. thing.
Would you consider the audio edition of Od Magic to be better than the print version?
Quite the opposite, sadly.
What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?
A charming, meandering tale filled with surprisingly believable characters and beautiful prose, the effect is marred slightly by the breathy narration, which often ties itself up and confuses the mood of a scene or character, which has a rather jarring effect. <br/>Indeed, on one notable occasion, the narrator confuses which characters are speaking, realises mid-speech and corrects herself. Not the best treatment, and rather suggests that the narrator wasn't given much (any?) direction, nor appropriate correction.
Any additional comments?
Fortunately, the quality of the writing; the wonderful characters; the meandering narrative; the charming, positive story all conspire to render the problems with the reading insignificant. This is a wonderful slice of fantasy, filled with humanity and livened up with a light dusting of myth and fairytale, and is more than worthy of anybody's shelf, virtual or otherwise.