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Song for the Basilisk by Patricia McKillip

Review by Kelanin

The dustjacket-style sysnopis:

Rook Caladrius was raised by the Bards of Luly far in the north. Brought to the island of the Bards as a child, hidden away, his past burned and buried deep inside him. Deep in the south, the Basilisk watches and listens, his power a claw curled around lives of all within his grasp. What will happen when the lost child finds his name and the past that was burned? What power can withstand the Basilisk?

The Review:

Patricia McKillip writes in such a way as to make one feel like he is dreaming her book. Her imagery and choice of words are enthralling. Like The Book of Atrix Wolfe and Winter Rose, Song For the Basilisk continues to take the reader farther into McKillip's uniquely dream-like worlds of fantasy.

Basilisk is the tale of a child who witnesses the destruction of all he knows and is hidden away from those who would harm him. Taken far from the places and people he knows and raise by the reclusive, enigmatic Bards of Luly. He is given a new name to replace the one that he has lost deep within himself, and given a new life. McKillip could have made this a very straight forward tale of revenge. That is just not her style. What we are provided with here is a story that wraps music, magic, loss, love and desire for power into one of the most exquisitely woven tales.

McKillip uses a deft hand to weave subtle humour and irony into the tale. As always she builds relationships between the lines. Characters interact in small subtle ways to form real relationships. Often it is what is what is left unsaid that paints the most vivid pictures in these characters. McKillip has always been able to make the connections between people palpable without drawing the lines for us.

Perhaps my greatest love for McKillip is in the small simple things that seem to leap out of the pages of her book. Words that take shape and fly of their own volition. There are moments in this book where so little is said and yet so much feeling is conveyed and the other times when McKillip's gift for prosy description seems to take me completely into her world....

Song for the Basilisk is not a simple tale of revenge. It does not end when you expect it to, it does not arrive at a destination through the traditional tried and true paths of so many fantasy tales. It is a 5 amulet story from a 5 star author.

Cover art is once more by Kinuko Y. Craft CLICK HERE to see it.


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