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MoonHeart by Charles de Lint

MoonHeart (1984)

by Charles de Lint

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Moonheart (1)

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ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Sara and her uncle Jamie live in Tamson House, the old family mansion that takes up a street block in Ottawa. While Sara runs their cluttered curiosity shop, Jamie spends his days studying the arcane and playing host to the eccentrics and homeless people who come and go through Tamson House. Sara and Jamie’s interests collide when Sara discovers an old gold ring that seems to draw her into an ancient past — a past where Welsh and Native American mythology comes alive. But not only does the ring pull Sara in, it draws Tamson House, and all its occupants, with it.

Moonheart was a truly satisfying read for me. I fell in love with Tamson House — just the idea of a big sprawling mansion that exists in two worlds is enough to fascinate me. Tamson House was my favorite “character” in Moonheart but, as rarely happens, I liked almost all of the characters in this novel. They feel real and alive, with distinct backgrounds, personalities, and motivations. I enjoyed watching them react to their strange situations and interact with each other.

Another aspect of Moonheart that works especially well is the mix of the modern and ancient. It doesn’t feel at all unreasonable when Blue is racing his motorcycle through ancient Wales. In many ways, Moonheart reminded me of Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood and Lavondyss, two of my favorite fantasy novels. In each of these stories, an old house exists in both the modern world and on the edge of an old dark forest full of myth and legend. I suppose I just can’t resist this type of story and de Lint does it so well.

There is plenty of mystery, suspense, and action in Moonheart, and even some terror, too. I was completely enthralled the whole way through as I listened to Paul Michael Garcia superbly narrate Blackstone audio’s version. Moonheart is an enchanting story. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
I really loved deLint's Trader--one of the best modern fantasy novels I've ever read--and I've tried a couple more of his books in hopes of finding another one with Trader's depth and complexity. Like Trader, Moonheart made the Reader's List in Modern Library's Best Novels of the 20th Century, so I had high hopes for it. Unfortunately, I may have held the bar a little too high. Moonheart isn't bad, and I realize it's one of deLint's early works. It's easy to see deLint's future in its pages--the beginning of his trademark blend of Native American with Celtic mythology, the premise of being accidentally transported to another world, the favoring of intuitive magick over learning. If you are already a devoted deLint fan, it's worth going back to Moonheart to see something of how his mythology started, and it's certainly not a dull book, but if you're only going to read a few modern fantasy novels--or even only a few deLint novels--this is not one I'd choose. ( )
  TheBentley | Jun 9, 2013 |
Who among you remembers the first book you read? Or, shall we say the first which made a real impression on you? For me, I grew up on a household that didn't read, and didn't really provide books for a budding bibliophile. So, I did what I could, mostly snitching school books to read from my older cousins. The first I really remember? Being six years old and sneaking my cousin's high school mythology books from her room. The ideas there absolutely fascinated me. Gods and monsters. Far distant lands with strange languages and customs. I was truly hooked on mythology, fantasy and reading itself. It was an epiphany of massive personal proportions.

Back in the middle/late 80's, I was gifted with “Moonheart.” Another epiphany of massive personal proportions. I fell into the story, into it's world of myth and legend, and became an Urban Fantasy fan for life. Moonheart's story was, for it's time, groundbreaking. While most mythology of the time retained the ancient characteristics of other myths and legends, Moonheart brought the stories into the modern day, creating the modern Urban Fantasy genre. Of course, Emma Bull's “War For The Oaks” winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel , Terri Windling's “The Wood Wife” and Ellen Datlow's various compilations of UF helped cement my love at the time. I spent years collecting all the works I could get my hands on, including a rare, signed copy of de Lint's “The Buffalo Man,” illustrated by Charles Vess, that I cherish.

Moonheart is perfect for anyone who wants to study the beginnings of UF, but it is a tremendous story for what it is – a beautifully written tale combining music (another of my passions), fairie, mystical forests, mythical artifacts and beings and layers upon layers of worlds. De Lint is a musician himself, and his writing is a paean to the musical heart of myth and mystery.

A living house which straddles two worlds, a cast of characters who I love dearly. Moonheart is a beautiful story I return to over and over again. ( )
1 vote Leiahc | May 4, 2013 |
A little bit on the mundane side of fantasy, but an interesting read nonetheless. ( )
  LaPhenix | Jan 23, 2013 |
When Sara Kendal and her uncle Jamie find a medicine bag full of an odd assortment of trinkets, including a bone disk, a gold ring, and other oddities, they find themselves being drawn into a a strange other world. They soon learn that there are dangers along with the wonder, including an ancient evil. Along with a litany of fascinating characters, including a an ex-biker, a folk singing magician, a anchient druid, a straight-laced cop, they fight for their lives.

My write up sounds uber-dramatic, but that's only because its difficult to encompass a book like there, which has a multitude of complex characters, each with their own desires whose goals criss-cross and interlace with all the others. I only felt lost a couple of times in the beginning as De Lint shifts between multiple points of view, and I had to remember who was who doing what. But as I settled into this epic story of love and magic and old evils, all that smoothed out and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's an excellent example of why De Lint is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. ( )
  andreablythe | Jun 3, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
de Lint, Charlesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bergen, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garcia, Paul MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mattingly, David B.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Sara Kendall once read somewhere that the tale of the world is like a tree.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312890044, Paperback)

When Sara and Jamie discovered the seemingly ordinary artifacts, they sensed the pull of a dim and distant place. A world of mists and forests, of ancient magics, mythical beings, ageless bards...and restless evil.

Now, with their friends and enemies alike--Blue, the biker; Keiran, the folk musician; the Inspector from the RCMP; and the mysterious Tom Hengyr--Sara and Jamie are drawn into this enchanted land through the portals of Tamson House, that sprawling downtown edifice that straddles two worlds.

Sweeping from ancient Wales to the streets of Ottawa today, Moonheart will entrance you with its tale of this world and the other one at the very edge of sight...and the unforgettable people caught up in the affairs of both. A tale of music, and motorcycles, and fey folk beyond the shadows of the moon. A tale of true magic; the tale of Moonheart.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:53 -0400)

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