The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
By: Patricia A. McKillip
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Sybel, the beautiful great-granddaughter of the wizard Heald, has grown up on Eld Mountain with only the fantastic beasts summoned there by wizardry as companions. She cares nothing for humans until, when she is 16, a baby is brought for her to raise, a baby who awakens emotions that she has never known before. But the baby is Tamlorn, the only son of King Drede, and, inevitably, Sybel becomes entangled in the human world of love, war and revenge – and only her beasts can save her from the ultimate destruction…
Ahh! I’m dwindling down on the number of Patrica A. McKillip books left to read from her backlist ;_;
Hmm, how to start a review on this book? At first I wasn’t sure what to think about this story or how/which way it would turn, but luckily that feeling disappated about the second or third chapter into the novel. It’s quite an intricate tale of power, of loyalty and freedom, of love and betrayal, and revenge. I was surprised at how dark the story got as it delves into the darker aspects of such powers that Sybel can tap into, and the greater forces out there who can wield it and cause her harm. Hand in hand with that is the tale of love and betrayal and the lengths you would go to seek your revenge; being isolated as she was for so long, Sybel finds herself quite immersed on in seeking her revenge against the King Drede, even if it means upturning everything she said she wouldn’t do.
As interesting as the story was and the themes that it tackled, there were times that the book frustrated me, and it namely dwindled down to Sybel herself. Like, I get it, she’s a wizard who’s lived remote from human affairs and so things don’t come easily to her. So of course even things like love and other emotions wouldn’t compute quite as quickly as other thoughts (and she’s aware of it) and she has her own flaws that round her out as a character and as a person (namely her pride; at first I could write off her attitude as someone who’s used to being alone but after a while it really did feel like she just couldn’t accept help) but omg did she put Coren through the wringer there. Okay, so he didn’t appear under the best of circumstances, and he has his own flaws too, but he pretty much put his heart out there for her and she took advantage of him and the situation to stage her revenge; granted she got backed into a corner when Drede and others tried to take her freedom forcibly from her (I felt for her there) so I can see why she would do it knowing full well she would be pushing people she cared about away from her–See what I mean by this book being complicated? Like you get the reason why the characters are acting the way they are or why they would choose to make certain decisions, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating to read 😛
Despite of this, I still liked The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. Perhaps not as much as some of her other novels, and not one of the novels I would recommend for first-time readers, but it’s another solid outing from Patricia A. McKillip that’s wondrous and lyrical and mysterious.