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Patricia McKillip is a must-read author for any true lover of fantasy literature. With a voice all her own, she imbues her work ??? both the story and the style ??? with beauty, magic, and wonder. Her latest novel, The Bards of Bone Plain, is just as enchanting as I was expecting it to be.
The Bards of Bone Plain combines the arts and sciences (and mysteries) of archeology, music, language, and history, to create a multi-layered story that???s sure to satisfy both sides of your brain. I enjoyed the academic atmosphere and the way that Phelan???s research paper was used as alternating chapters to present Nairn???s story. In the audiobook edition, only these chapters are read by Charlotte Parry so that they are clearly set apart.
The characters are well-done, though there are so many important ones that we don???t get to know them all as well as we???d like to. I especially liked Princess Beatrice, who drives a steam-powered car and is always trying to balance her courtly duties with her dirty hobbies. She hates the social events she???s required to attend, but she knows that if she pushes her mother too far, she???ll be shipped off to the country to live with her sister???s family. Beatrice???s social blunders and her interactions with her family are delightfully humorous.
If you???re familiar with Patricia McKillip, then you know she writes in a somewhat dreamy and fanciful style that, though lyrical and lovely, is occasionally misty and vague. While the plot of The Bards of Bone Plain is fairly straight-forward, McKillip???s romantic style shrouds some aspects of the plot and characters in mysteries that are never completely cleared up. This sense of wonder is part of what makes her stories work so well as fantasy. The Bards of Bone Plain is another McKillip novel that leaves the reader in awe. It???s a gorgeous story that celebrates the power of music, language, and love.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
I loved the story. McKillip's remarkable characterizations and her elegant use of language work very well to evoke a world. Her deft handling of archetypal characters and fantasy literature tropes neatly avoided predictability, while managing to resonate on many different levels (as the best fantasy should).
I liked the idea of two narrators, but I wanted to hear more from Charlotte Parry -- and maybe less from Marc Vietor. They both turned in satisfactory performances, but for a gem of a book, like this one, I was hoping for something well beyond adequate.
All in all, The Bards of Bone Plain is a good read/listen which I recommend to any fantasy lover.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful