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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

cover of The Forgotten Beasts of Eld

In a way, this book is all about power. The main character, Sybel, has the power to summon creatures - and humans - and in the course of the book, she comes to learn the difference betwen creatures and people coming because they are called, and coming because they choose to. It is also books about the choices we make, and how they change us - particularly choices like hate and revenge, or love.

Sybel is an unusual character; she's a very powerful wizard with the ability to summon strange and powerful creatures, and men-- even powerful kings-- are afraid of her. She is icy, and even seems unfeeling at times, and she must learn how to love. Coren, in contrast, is a wise, warm man-- and he is so generous in his love to Sybel. I think I loved him, and wanted Sybel to love him, long before she did.

Sybel's little zoo of strange, wise, mythical creatures are all interesting, but Cyrin the Boar fascinated me most-- this wise, riddling boar seemed unlike any beast in any other tales I've read.

The end made me weepy; it's so sad and so beautiful, because Sybel finally realizes that what she had wanted all along had been there with her. It is a beautiful conclusion-- the most beautiful creature is also the most terrible and fearsome one, one that kills by pure fear unless you can face it and name it. It struck me as somewhat similar to the glorious firebird in The Forests of Serre.

A few more details:
Title:The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
Author: Patricia A. McKillip
Date published: 1974 (original publication)
Genre: Fantasy / Young Adult
Number of pages:343


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