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Eyes Like Leaves by Charles de Lint
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Eyes Like Leaves

by Charles de Lint

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In his introduction to this rewrite of his early work, de Lint tells us that he was advised by a wise editor to choose between writing "secondary worlds fantasy" like this book and contemporary fantasy. He chose the latter and has become on of the masters of the sub-genre. But he could have been a contender in the alternative, as this book proves. It is not clear how much rewriting has taken place, but if this is essentially a relatively youthful effort, then it is a good one. Lots of familiar elements, of course, but a good tale, well told, that builds to a well worked climax.
It's a bit of a struggle finding de Lint's books in the UK and even in the US I only managed to find this and one other. But I will persevere on my hunt as his "contemporary" fantasy is something Of which I need regular doses. ( )
  johnwbeha | Nov 18, 2015 |
Way too high fantasy for my current tastes. While it was very interesting to read de Lint's intro, this style of story isn't to my taste (lots of mythological exposition, changes focus between multiple parties). Being de Lint, however, his gorgeous writing made me care about each of those parties by book's end... it just felt like work getting through the first half. ( )
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
You would think that either when this book was originally written (30 years ago) or when it was just recently published, SOMEONE one would have edited this poor thing. This has some of the worst typos and just editing mistakes that I've ever seen. Like, at the end of one sentence apparently the author was trying to decide if "himself" or "ourself" was the best word choice. What it says is "himselfourself." REALLY??

This book just really wasn't worth it. I stuck it out because it's de Lint, but honestly I think I only kept reading it because I was in bed and too lazy to get up to get a different book.
  amaraduende | Mar 30, 2013 |
Eyes Like Leaves boils down to an old world story of good versus evil. Two god-like brothers battle for rule over the green isles, one fighting for eternal winter, the other fighting to maintain the balance of the seasons. The "god" of spring/summer needs help from those few people left who have magic in their blood, and that's where we run into Tarn, Carrie, Deren and Puretongue. With the help of a few others, they must use their powers to help fight off the eternal winter.

This is not one of my favorite books by de Lint. I much prefer his contemporary fantasy. I really enjoyed the characters in this story, and I found them far more interesting than the plot. I didn't think it was paced very well, because there was a lot of traveling and chatter, followed by a quick action or drama scene, and then a lot more travel or back story. The end felt rushed, but overall I enjoyed the book.

I did have an issue with a repetitive phrase as I did in Into The Green (where it seemed the title phrase was used every few pages), and this phrase was "the weavers weave." It's used in reference to the fates creating the future and whatnot, and it's a neat phrase, but it was said over and over and over again until I wished those damn weavers would burn their loom and call it quits. ( )
  MillieHennessy | May 24, 2012 |
The silence. Like music.

Charles de Lint is an author known for his urban fantasy. Eyes Like Leaves is an epic fantasy written in the 1980s, at the beginning of his career, but not published until now. The story is influenced by Irish mythology and classic epic fantasy novels.

The Green Isles are in danger of being overrun by the Winter King's minions - monsters and direwolves - while the Summer King is weakened. The Summer King's loyal followers, including a tree-wizard ("dhruide") Puretongue and his apprentice, Tarn, must defeat the evil Winter King. Meanwhile Vikings are also taking advantage of the weakened condition of the Isles and ravaging the villages along the coast. Tarn is a shape-changer and takes the form of numerous birds, woodland creatures and mythological beasts, becoming a unicorn, a merman and a dragon. His quest is to protect a timid redheaded girl named Carrie who happens to be a "Summerborn" - related to the Summer King - and Tarn must guide her North to meet up with the wizard Puretongue and a one-eyed boy named Deren.

The standard Good vs. Evil plot made for a predictable story and one I never felt really emotionally invested in. Tarn's shape changing power is interesting and unique - I can't think of another epic fantasy hero who periodically turns into a unicorn - but Carrie, the other main character, is incredibly annoying. I began rolling my eyes at every scene she was in as she did nothing but cower, whimper, think about how weak and powerless she was and call for help. She has green magic inside of her that helps and heals Tarn, but she spends most of the book denying she has magic, hiding and cowering, and relying on the help/guidance of other people/ghosts/gods/whatever.

In the end, though Eyes is an okay and pretty standard epic fantasy book I felt disappointed in it. I was unable to connect with either the characters or story. I have loved some of de Lint's urban fantasy books in the past, such as Memory and Dream and Someplace to be Flying, and recommended them to lots of people, but this one just did not work for me. ( )
  catfantastic | Mar 4, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles de Lintprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dringenberg, MikeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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for Robin Williamson and dedicated to the memory of Marc Bolan
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Tarn knew him for a wizard, the tall greybeard, calm as a tree, with the wisdom of longyears patterning his sky-blue eyes.
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Magic is already fading in the green Isles, but it's still a time when myths walk the world and the children of the ancient gods are engaged in one final confrontation. But when legendary creatures wage war, it's the ordinary people who suffer the consequences- unless they, themselves, can find a way to bring an end to the hostilities. The trouble is, not all of them are able to pick a side. From book jacket.… (more)

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