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The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (original 1974; edition 1976)

by Patricia A. McKillip

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1,852353,733 (4.06)148
Member:mirrordrum
Title:The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
Authors:Patricia A. McKillip
Info:Avon Books (1976), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library
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The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip (Author) (1974)

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» See also 148 mentions

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I've read it, and read it, and read it again. It's my all-time favorite of my 12-14 year old books. I think. The language in it moved me, and while I did not understand all of the human interaction and feelings at the age of 12, I realized how far my life" learning curve has come since those days.

Young Sybel lives high atop Eld Mountain with its cold and its snows, the daughter and granddaughter of wizards who spent their lifetime calling strange and mysterious animals to them: the Cat Morah, who slept at the feet of wizards and witches; the Dragon Gyld with his green scales and penchant for gold; and the Boar Cyrin who knows the answers to all riddles save one. Sybel herself calls for many years for the bird the Liralen but is never quite successful at it, and the answer why lies deep within her mind.

The action in this book begins on the day that a Lord of Sirle, Coren, comes to the gates of Sybel's home and places a baby into her arms. The baby grows to young manhood, and his peril is that he is the son of the King of Mondor, Drede. The Sirle lords were defeated by Drede on the day of his birth and it is inevitable that young Tamlorn will become a pawn in their games.

Events ensue, but even though this is a young book by a young author who borrows names from mythology and fantasy, the plot delves more into what is good and right to do, into Sybel's conscience and desires, more so than the inevitability of war. The animals shine with their lights and their mystery as they lead men away from the battle field, and it is hoped that they will be sung of again for many lives of men. And that they will return to their wizard if they so wish, by their own free will." ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a story of a secluded wizard-woman, Sybel, who lives isolated from society with a number of legendary animals. The story follows Sybel as she learns about the world of normal people (from whom she considers herself aloof), first learning to feel love, and then learning to feel hate and revenge. In this name of this revenge she abuses those she has learned to love, callously using them to get at her enemies. In the end she recants, discarding both love and hate, but her place in the world is rescued by her animal companions. The entire work reads more like a fairy tale than a novel, the characters are very idealized and thus hard to relate to or sympathize with. I appreciate that some people like that sort of thing, but I didn't really find it that appealing. ( )
  Phrim | Mar 1, 2016 |
A leather-bound book. Weathered, yellowed heavy paper. A careful handwritten script.
A fireplace. A glass of wine.
A stiff-backed, heavy, scarlet chair. A rug so thick you can barely see your toes.
Snow falling outside, magicking everything white.

All this. Any of this would have been the perfect way to read The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and not the way I did, snatched in bits and pieces on my iPhone. Convenient yes but just so so lacking in atmosphere, in texture, in feeling.

Because this is such a magical book. An ice queen hidden in the mountains surrounded by mythical creatures kind of magic. Witchcraft and Darkness kind of magic. For she calls them with their true name and they come. How very Ged-like.


It is a fairytale, a love story, a song of strength and power.


Its sense of antiquity begs to be given the proper treatment. To be read under the stars, by candlelight, in a tome that is passed down from generation to generation.

My reread (with many more to come) shall definitely be on the printed page. On a cold mountain. With tendrils of mist caressing each page…

A book to read today, tomorrow and ever after. ( )
1 vote RealLifeReading | Jan 19, 2016 |
A sorceress lives on a mountain with a menagerie of fantastic creatures. One day, a baby is delivered to her -- her nephew. As she raises him and interacts with the world of men below her mountain she finds love, anger, sorrow, revenge and redemption. The tale moves along with efficiency, almost inevitability. The language is clear and evocative. ( )
  questbird | Jul 12, 2014 |
A lovely little story. Beautifully written in almost poetic, flowing language. It's just not for me. I would have loved it when I was 14... probably would've given it 5 stars, but alas (or thank gawd) it's been a very long time since I've been 14. I'm glad I read it either way. ( )
  CaliSoleil | Mar 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia A. McKillipAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gallardo, GervasioCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundgren, CarlCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my parents, with thanks
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The wizard Heald coupled with a poor woman once, in the king's city of Mondor, and she bore a son with one green eye and one black eye.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Sixteen when a baby is brought to her to raise, Sybel has grown up on Eld Mountain with only the fantastic creatures called there by wizardry as playmates. She has cared nothing for humans, until the baby awakens emotions previously unknown. And when Coren - the man who brought this child - returns, Sybel's serenity is again shattered.

"Is this all you want? To live here on this mountain, speaking only to animals who live in the dreams of their past? Tam one day will not need you. What will you have in your life but a silence that is meaningless. Who will you laugh with? Who will you love? Beyond this mountain there is a place for you among the living."

Sybel did not speak. When she did not move, Coren reached out. "Sybel," he whispered, and she rose abruptly, left him without looking back.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0152055363, Paperback)

Almost destroyed because of a man's fear and greed, Sybel, a beautiful young sorceress, embarks on a quest for revenge that proves equally destructive. Winner of the World Fantasy award, this exquisitely written story has something for almost every reader: adventure, romance and a resonant mythology that reveals powerful truths about human nature. Locus praised it for its "marvelous heroine... and chilling sorcery" and The New York Times called it "rich and regal."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:38 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Raised on Eld mountain with only her father's magical menagerie for company, a young wizard is drawn irrevocably into the human world with all its sorrows and delights when a baby comes into her care.

(summary from another edition)

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