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Ombria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip
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Ombria in Shadow (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Patricia A. McKillip

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7881411,673 (4.1)24
Member:aarti
Title:Ombria in Shadow
Authors:Patricia A. McKillip
Info:Ace Trade (2003), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Fantasy, Young Adult, Family, Magic, 2012

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Ombria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip (2002)

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Ombria in Shadow

One of my favorite McKillip bookks, I decided to re-read this one recently. I found the story as beautiful and haunting as I remembered. The city of Ombria and its hidden shadow city seem both tantalizingly familiar and utterly foreign. Most of the characters shift between good and bad as the story progresses and their actions reveal or hide their real intentions. McKillip's prose shines here, evoking a half-hidden world of shadows and light.

(and you can click {HERE} for a full-sized version of the beautiful cover art by Kinuko Y. Craft--or {HERE} to browse some of Craft's work.)

Book sources: ILL through my school library. ( )
  maureene87 | Apr 4, 2013 |
Ombria in Shadow

One of my favorite McKillip bookks, I decided to re-read this one recently. I found the story as beautiful and haunting as I remembered. The city of Ombria and its hidden shadow city seem both tantalizingly familiar and utterly foreign. Most of the characters shift between good and bad as the story progresses and their actions reveal or hide their real intentions. McKillip's prose shines here, evoking a half-hidden world of shadows and light.

(and you can click {HERE} for a full-sized version of the beautiful cover art by Kinuko Y. Craft--or {HERE} to browse some of Craft's work.)

Book sources: ILL through my school library. ( )
  | Apr 4, 2013 | edit |
Reading McKillip gives me a headache. I never feel like I know what's going. That can be fun but when it lasts through the entire book I just feel worn out. ( )
  amaraduende | Mar 30, 2013 |
Compared to the other fantasy I've read lately -- Game of Thrones and the First Law trilogy, this is a fantasy told in soft focus, about an ancient city called Ombria, and the quarrels over the succession when the Prince of the city dies.

Stylistically, it reminds me of McKillip's older book, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. In atmosphere, it's reminiscent, in a way, of Tanith Lee's Paradys. It's a claustrophobic book. Nothing outside of the city of Ombria merits a word. Perhaps nothing outside of the city of Ombria exists. Ombria is a strange place, with legends of a second shadow city which exists intertwined with the first, and a forgotten undercity that seems to exist outside of time. The city is riddled with strange alleys and doorways. Its palace is riddled with secret rooms and forgotten corridors.

With the old Prince's death, Domina Pearl, the court magician, the "Black Pearl" as she's called, seizes the regency for his five-year-old heir. Her rule is shaping up to be a miserable and oppressive one. We see the events that follow primarily through the eyes of three characters: Lydea, the dead Prince's mistress, flung out into the street after his death; Ducon, a bastard nephew of the old Prince, an artist, but plausibly second in line to the throne; and Mag, a favored young servant of the only other powerful sorceress in the city.

The Prince's death will make them all have to grow up very quickly. In fact, I'd say its a book about growth. How much, and in what way, Mag, Lydea and Ducon mature may tip the balance of Ombria's future. ( )
2 vote Tyllwin | Aug 19, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia A. McKillipprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Craft, Kinuko YCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vilokkinen, NatashaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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While the ruler of the ancient city of Ombria lay dying, his mistress, frozen out of the room by the black stare of Domina Pearl, drifted like a bird on a wave until she bumped through Kyel Greve's unguarded door to his bed, where he was playing with his puppets.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0441010164, Paperback)

As Ombria in Shadow demonstrates, World Fantasy Award winner Patricia A. McKillip (author of Riddle-Master, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and other novels) ranks with Ursula K. Le Guin and Jane Yolen as one of the great fantasists of the 20th century--and the 21st.

The Prince of Ombria lies dying, and already his sinister great-aunt, Domina Pearl--called the Black Pearl--is seizing power. The Prince's heir is a child, a boy too young to oppose her, and the Prince's nephew is a powerless bastard, an artist preoccupied with sketching the decaying city. No one lives who may stop the Black Pearl's ascent to the throne, or so it seems. But beneath the streets of Ombria lies a second, shadow Ombria, a buried city inhabited not only by ghosts, but by a powerful, mysterious sorceress and her creation, a girl sculpted from wax. But the sorceress is a woman of uncertain allegiances, and her beautiful young assistant has become fascinated by the Prince's bastard nephew--and has caught the malevolent eye of the Black Pearl. --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:31 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Ombria. It is a city that echoes with the footfalls of sapphire-heeled shoes...that holds its breath as a straw-haired apparition glides through its streets...that sees its dreams - and nightmares - take shape in the drawings of a bastard-heir. It is an enchanted time and place envisioned by World Fantasy Award winner Patricia A. McKillip, acclaimed author of The Tower at Stony Wood." "When Ombria's prince, Royce Greve, breathes his last in palace rooms high above the city, he leaves his young son at the mercy of his ancient great-aunt, Domina Pearl - a woman who has plotted her rise to power in Ombria for far too many years to allow a little boy to stand in her way. Already she has thrown Greve's pretty mistress out into the streets, where no one would expect her to live an hour. The boy will take her a little longer." "Meanwhile, in a dreamlike underworld peopled by Ombria's ghosts, a sorceress weaves her spells and brews her potions, never revealing her real face - or true heart. And somewhere in between, the struggle to rule the whole of Ombria - both its light and shadows - will rest in the hands of those whose fractured lives align like the pieces of a magical puzzle."… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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