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Publisher's Note:  

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.
 
Hidden away from the world by his mother, the powerful sorceress Heloise Oliver, Pierce has grown up working in her restaurant in Desolation Point. One day, unexpectedly, strangers pass through town on the way to the legendary capital city. “Look for us,” they tell Pierce, “if you come to Severluna. You might find a place for yourself in King Arden’s court.”
 
Lured by a future far away from the bleak northern coast, Pierce makes his choice. Heloise, bereft and furious, tells her son the truth: about his father, a knight in King Arden’s court; about an older brother he never knew existed; about his father’s destructive love for King Arden’s queen, and Heloise’s decision to raise her younger son alone. 
 
As Pierce journeys to Severluna, his path twists and turns through other lives and mysteries: an inn where ancient rites are celebrated, though no one will speak of them; a legendary local chef whose delicacies leave diners slowly withering from hunger; his mysterious wife, who steals Pierce’s heart; a young woman whose need to escape is even greater than Pierce’s; and finally, in Severluna, King Arden's youngest son, who is urged by strange and lovely forces to sacrifice his father’s kingdom.
 
Things are changing in that kingdom. Oldmagic is on the rise. The immensely powerful artifact of an ancient god has come to light, and the king is gathering his knights to quest for this profound mystery, which may restore the kingdom to its former glory—or destroy it...



Kingfisher

by Patricia A. McKillip

Review Date:
04/18/2017

Recommended Age:
18+

Overall Rating:
****1/2

Profanity / Language Rating:
***

Violence / Gore Rating:
**

Sex / Nudity Rating:
***

Overall Review:  

Pierce Oliver has no particular ambitions in life. Then three young knights from Severluna, with shadows that do not match their own outlines, literally stumble into the impossible-to-find town of Mistbegotton and inspire him to seek out the truth of his lineage. On his journey to find the knight father he has never known and the unexpected older brother he didn't know he had, Pierce is swept into a strange new world. A world where magic blends with modern day, men can turn into wolves, and Severluna's knights have been gathered to quest for a mystic treasure that may be a cup, a goblet, a bowl or even a cauldron.

Kingfisher by Patricia McKillip is a retelling of the Arthurian legend, The Fisher King, with the author's own unique style of twisting the familiar into something completely different. She has this way of taking old mythic stories, and putting it in a modern setting. The knights in this book drive limos and motorcycles, and the most mystical of ceremonies is performed in an all-you-can-eat fish fry.

My favorite thing about Patricia McKillip is her unutterably lovely prose. She writes the most gorgeous and lyrical sentences, with similes and metaphors you don't get in other books, such as people "trawling" for fish in their soup bowls, or words that "fell: flint; fossils; hard, cold diamonds." She has this way of playing with words and saying perfectly normal things in such a way you get this breathless moment you see what she means, like a punch in your stomach. She can write adult content, but I have never met a more discreet author in expressing what's going on without actually saying what's going on. She's my go-to author when I have a desperate need for something highly fantastic and beautiful, but not quite on the level of Lord of the Rings.

Kingfisher is another one of her gems that is an absolute joy to read. Readers of Ursula Le Guin (A Wizard of Earthsea) or Robin McKinley's more lyrical stories (Chalice, Beauty) will likely find this a book to cherish.


Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  1religious exclamation; 1 mild obscenity; 1 derogatory name; 3 scatological words; 1 anatomical name. 

Violence/Gore:  A character accidentally crushes and kills a crab; characters sometimes hint at an evil spell laid on a place; a character is said to be dead; a character speaks about a battle lost; characters compete in a tourney; characters are occasionally threatened by others; a character hears screams and a gunshot; a character uses a broken pot as a weapon; a character gets knocked out; a character is confronted with an enormous magical creature; a character has a vision of a dead man with a "hole where his heart should have been"; a character breaks an imprisonment spell with some destruction of property; characters see and hear an explosion; a character is forcibly threatened, pushed and shouted at; characters are caught in a spell; characters draw weapons; characters are ensorcelled; a character is stabbed in the foot; a character uses magic to turn someone to dust; characters report/discuss the aftermath of a fight.

Sex/Nudity:  A character confesses leaving her husband and son; a character teases someone about having a girlfriend; a character desires another's wife; a character admits to being an illegitimate son; a character is said to have a lover; a character hints at knowing the interior of a female character's apartment; a character accuses someone of being in love; it is sometimes discreetly hinted that a man and woman are having an affair; a character is about to give birth; a character kisses a tear off someone's cheek; a character is offered to become someone's consort; a character asks if someone's birth was an accident; a couple of times, an unmarried man and woman spend the night together; a character surprises a man coming from a lady's bedchamber; mention of characters kissing; characters are stripped down to under-things (not sexual); a character confesses love for another; a character is enchanted to fall in love with someone; there is a mention of a brothel; a character is described as half-naked (not sexual).



Mature Subject Matter:  

Death, divorce, separation, marriage infidelity, revenge, sorcery, vandalism, witchcraft.



Alcohol / Drug Use:  

A character asks another if he's drunk; characters work at an inn with regular "bar dwellers"; a character invites someone to join him at a bar; characters drink beer; characters raise beer mugs and wineglasses in a salute; characters often frequent restaurant bars and drink a variety of alcohol, from martinis to beer to wine; characters go to a pub; a character says someone reeks of beer; characters drink wine in bed; characters are said to have built an alehouse long ago; a character shares her wine with others; a character is said to be pleasantly drunk on wine; characters promise to have a chat over beers; a character buys beer for another.



Reviewed By Katrina
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