kindle Ombria in ShadowAuthor Patricia A. McKillip –

Patricia A Mckillip is a writer with a rare command of rhythm There s a poetic feel to her work, almost like gentle waves lapping away Ombria in Shadow is one of McKillip s adult works The novel showcases McKillip s talents to an extent unseen in her other stories McKillip s world building in Ombria in Shadow has the complexities of the most complicated works relating to thrones and power struggles in literature McKillip has made the city itself into a wondrous character Ombria has the unique taste of renaissance Italy It is a place layered in history, but also Byzantine deceit and deception And there is a city beneath the city, like in Gaiman s Neverwhere, but this city is inhabited by spirits and accessible only to a few who know its secret ways The story itself is something the Borgias would be envious of The Prince dies suddenly, and the power hungry and suitably wicked great aunt Domina Pearl seizes power as the regent The protagonist and the deceased prince s lover, Lydea, is tossed out into the alleyways Yet an unusual girl called Mag, who may even be a waxling product of socrcery, saves Lydea from the evil of the streets Lydea unravels truths and mistruths, as together, she and Mag set to battle Domina and restore justice to Ombria This is a superb novel I ve always loved McKillip but Ombria s renaissance multi layered world has made me admire her even so Highly recommended. I love all of McKillip s work, as least so far She can really manage enchantment her Ombria is a strange world, decaying and bright, mysterious and intriguing There s a lot going on here the magic behind Faey and her waxling, the magic behind Domina Pearl, Ducon s father and Mag s origins And there s characters you can t help but care about Kyel, so alone Lydea, who loves him Ducon, the bastard son with no designs upon the throne, who spends his time drawing, searching, learning the city and seeing it in ways others can t And the details, like Lydea s bitten fingernails, the charcoal stains Ducon leaves on the bedsheets so everyone knows where he s been sleeping and when.And of course, the hidden passageways, the secrets, the two worlds side by side.It cast its spell very quickly over me McKillip writes beautifully, of course, and that itself is kind of mesmerising.Towards the ending perhaps the last twenty pages I was less sure of what was going on It might pull itself together on a reread, I m not sure, but I was left not quite knowing who knew what was happening, who understood what, why certain things changed and others didn t or if they didn t change, but people acted like they had to make things easier I have that feeling with McKillip s work a lot, though, and it hasn t deterred me from picking up.Originally posted here. McKillip is one of those authors I ve been ignoring my entire life, having long ago assumed that her work consisted of wispy fantasies for adolescents about bonding with unicorns and the like fortunately, I encountered Mark Monday s review of this, a singularly ethereal and otherworldly novel, and quickly changed some assumptions The words dreamlike and gothic are used repeatedly to describe this book, and these are quite apropos McKillip s Ombria, a mixture of Gormenghast and Viriconium, is one of the great metropolises of fantastic literature surrounded by and connected to its shadow self where the entire past of the city exists simultaneously, a labyrinth of secret passages and forgotten rooms occupied by ghosts and fragments of memory, a sort of wonderland of ruins Although many of the elements here verge on the archetypal, McKillip infuses these with an aura of mystery and the uncanny that removes them from the realm of the familiar and makes magic genuinely magical, resulting in a most unique book that deserves to be in the company of Crowley, Beagle, and Tanith Lee. All of McKillip s novels are beautiful Her exquisite prose and her ability to capture the sense of magic both light and dark that imbues traditional fairy tales ensures that any novel she writes will tantalize and delight Her style is deliciously archaic, even baroque, and she has a habit of giving the reader the bare minimum of information to make the plot and motivations of her characters understandable, tingeing every action with the spice of mystery This has worked not very well in some novels I found the climax of In the Forests of Serre near incomprehensible but even when the mystery isn t working her novels are delightful confections designed to be savored.Ombria in Shadow is McKillip at her best a dark chocolate truffle, rich and beguiling The city of Ombria, with its decaying streets, and its shadows that bleed into the underworld of its past, and its hints that there is yet another shadow city that may overlay Ombria itself, is the most breathtakingly beautiful McKillip creation I have encountered since I read Alphabet of Thorn my first McKillip, though published two years later clearly McKillip was on a hot streak The cast of characters is just as good, each one three dimensional and bowed but not broken by heartbreak And the central mystery, of how the city will cope with the loss of its prince in an already uncertain time, is always enticingly just out of reach until the climax, when strand after strand of the plot comes together in a breathless resolution that answers a host of questions and raises a dozen , but which is still entirely satisfying on a visceral level The denouement is quietly wonderful, granting the happy ending that seemed hopeless in a most unexpectedly melancholic way.All in all, I don t think I could have loved this book any. Ombria Is A Place Heaped With History And Secrets There Is A Buried City Beneath It Inhabited By Ghosts, Accessible Only Through Magical Passages And Long Forgotten Doorways When The Prince Of Ombria Dies Suddenly, His Wicked Great Aunt Domina Pearl Seizes Power By Becoming Regent To The Prince S Young Son, Kyel Minutes After The Prince S Death, Domina Kicks Lydea, The Prince S Longtime Mistress, Out Into The Streets To Die But She Is Saved By A Strange Girl Named Mag, A Supposed Waxling Created By A Powerful Sorceress Who Lives Underneath The City With The Help Of Mag And The Prince S Bastard Nephew, A Strange, Silver Eyed Man Obsessed With Drawing, Lydea Tries To Save Kyel And Somehow Defeat Domina I mean, it s a McKillip book Of course it s good.The end was a bit of a mess though where was the conclusion This book was odd, but in the best possible way The world building was fascinating, and as always, Ms McKillip s prose was beautiful. Pretty fun fantasy that has a very strong fairy tale feel While a lot of the book can be a bit slow, the world that McKillip builds is fascinating enough to keep your attention. Recipient of McKillip s second World Fantasy Award and well deservedly so.This is definitely one of McKillip s best does she have a worst I don t think so Here, McKillip introduces us to Ombria a city of shadows and secrets, labyrinthine palaces and alleys, intrigues and magic Ombria is somewhere between Gormenghast and Tanith Lee s Paradys that fantasy city that we all dream of but might not want to actually live in Although the other McKillip book I read recently Winter Rose was a quiet story, involved with emotion than action, this book is action packed, with murders, sword fights, desperate flights and pursuits, etc..At the outset, we meet Lydea, mistress of a prince who has recently been killed in a palace intrigue The regent to the child heir Kyel , a viciously conniving old hag known as Domina Pearl, throws Lydea out on the street in all her finery, hoping she will be killed by some cutthroat mugger.However, Lydea survives, with the help of a mysterious young girl, Mag, who may or may not be human she is servant to a sorceress, Faye, who lives in the underworlds below the city, who claims that she created Mag from wax, and gave her life, golem like.Lydea wishes nothing than to somehow return to the palace and somehow save the young heir, whom she loves like a son, from the clutches of the regent but, working in disgrace at her father s tavern, she can see no way to do so.But Mag has been discovering a mind of her own, and doesn t wholly approve of the poisons and spells that her mistress has been purveying especially those that have been going to the regent, for her nefarious uses.And in the palace, plots are afoot to put a young lordling, Ducon, upon the throne But he would much rather wander the streets of Ombria, living the life of an artist Will he agree to assassinate his royal cousin Is the only one young Kyel is safe with his history obsessed tutor, Camas Or does Camas care about his researches into the ancient legends that surround Ombria rumors of a shadow city, of mysterious shifts and transformations.The story has a rather unexpected ending and one that some people didn t really agree with but I thought it really worked, and made sense with clues proffered throughout the story can t really say without spoilers A wonderful book Ombria teeters on the brink of destruction a child ruler sits on the throne while a dangerous regent vies for power But Ombria is a city of magic, of hidden doorways and underground sorceresses, and what seems to be her end may only be a transformation McKillip s illustrative voice creates a fantastic sense of place intertwined with a deep, organic magic an absorbing, unusual, superbly realized city, Ombria is the book s true protagonist The characters which people it have melancholy depth and sympathetic troubled relationships the plot which moves it is both finely knit and inevitable the strange but natural outcome of the city s identity But the climax has flaws the city s fate knits up nicely but some character threads feel hastily knotted in, and the ending uses a trope I dislike view spoiler characters lose their memories of the book s climax, which I feel undercuts all that s gone before hide spoiler