Atom (Time Warner)
Date: July 2004
it at Amazon US
Teenage / Fantasy
Rachel A Hyde
Notes: Check out the website at www.atombooks.co.uk
Ombria in Shadow
By Patricia McKillip
to Atom, Time Warners teenage imprint for bringing the magic
of award-winning novelist Patricia McKillip to a UK audience. This
is the third of her young adult novels, and has the characteristic
lush word-hoard and a midnights tale of a plot, replete with
magic and arresting images.
sinister Black Pearl is the power behind the throne of Ombria, and
it is no surprise that the Prince is suddenly dead. His mistress
Lydea returns to her drudgery as a publicans daughter, kicking
off her sapphire shoes and running through the streets to keep alive.
She leaves behind the true heir to the throne, the child Kyel, and
the mysterious silver-eyed bastard Ducon who could be either friend
or foe. ,But there is possibly an even more powerful sorceress in
the city who might be able to shift the balance of power, and she
has created a girl out of wax to be her assistant.
If you have enjoyed Patricia McKillips
earlier books Winter Rose and The Book of Atrix Wolfe, (both reviewed
on this site) then you will love this, which is, in my opinion,
her best yet. She has a talent for layering rich images on each
other like bright cutouts on a Victorian decoupage screen, and to
read her short novels is to gaze into a tiny jewel box.
characters have to try to break the power of the evil Black Pearl
and I didnt guess how it was going to end or even how the
story would progress when I started reading it. This tale is just
the thing for teenaged girls who enjoy fantasy but want something
subtler than the usual monster bashing, but adults will find this
tale enthralling too.
anybody whatever their age who thinks that surely
there must be more to fantasy than that, this dark-toned and highly
poetic novel ought to be right up their dark alley. It deserves
to be read slowly and savored, and if you havent read any
of this authors work yet then you are in for something of
a treat. I do hope that Atom continues to make this American writers
work available to a wider audience.