Read for the Patricia A McKillip Challenge and the Once Upon a Time III Challenge.
This is the story of Sybel, daughter of a line of wizards that live on Eld Mountain. The wizards have called the fantastic animals of the world to them, and Sybel grows up in the company of these magical beasts, never missing the company of other people. This changes when Sybel is sixteen, and a man named Coren brings a baby to her. Young Tam is Sybel’s kin through her long-dead mother, and for the first time, Sybel is able to love another person. But Tam must grow up, and when he does, he inevitably must find his heritage – that he is the son of the King of Eldwold, and this knowledge can only bring Sybel and those she loves pain.
Patricia McKilljp has an amazing way with words. This is really a very simple story, of betrayal, and revenge, and rising above revenge in the end to find your true self, but she raises above simple with the lovely descriptions of Sybel’s world, and the wonderful animals that live with her. I confess, Sybel is not my favorite character in the book, she’s far too much of an ice queen to be completely sympathetic, though I do feel for her by the end of the story, when she come through to the end of her ordeal. Coren is probably my favorite character, because he is such a fascinating person, with a depth of knowledge to rival Sybel’s, though he isn’t a wizard. And, his motives are always ultimately pure.
This is a quick read, great if you need a weekend escape (or are laid up with a wretched plague of a cold, as the case may be).