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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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8341710,806 (4.09)28
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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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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, more 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 more 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 more 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 more without spoilers!

A wonderful book... ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Excellent fantasy. ( )
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
Ombria in Shadow is a beautifully written book about a kingdom in turmoil. The prince has died and his heir is a five year old boy. The boy's great aunt has been plotting for years to take over and now she has a chance to be regent and control the young prince. Amidst the political menuvering are a royal bastard, the dead prince's mistress, a mysterious sorceress and her assistant trying to find their place in Ombria. But is Ombria what it seems? There is a legend of another Ombria that exists in the shadows, can it be real or is it just rumors from the past.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters are beautifully written. Although they seem to be the overdone categories of characters often seen in fantasy, McKillip writes them much deeper and real. They grow throughout the book and are motivated by real emotions. The mystery of the truth about Ombria is compelling and I was not disappointed in the ending. I will definitely seek out more of McKillip's novels to read. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 13, 2016 |
Unohdettu Ombria on tarina kaupungista, Ombriasta, valtataistelun syövereissä. Prinssi on kuollut ja nuori perillinen joutumassa nappulaksi valtapelissä. Kaiken keskellä Lydea, prinssin rakastajatar, yrittää löytää paikkaansa valtakunnassa jouduttuaan hylkäämään etuoikeutetun roolinsa hovissa. Ducon, prinssin perijäehdokas uppoutuu piirustuksiinsa välittämättä ympärillään tapahtuvasta myllerryksestä. Heidän tarinansa kietoutuvat yhteen Ombrian kaduilla ja kaupungin taianomaisissa varjoissa.
Kerronta on lyyristä ja saa aikaan unenomaisen vaikutuksen. Taidokkas kuvailu ja visuaalinen kieli tekevät teoksesta kiehtovan ja mukaansatempaavan jo ensimmäiseltä sivulta lähtien.
  Heps | Nov 25, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:38 -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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