Thursday, March 24, 2016

Kingfisher by Patricia McKillip


Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Ace ()
ISBN-13: 978-0425271766
Kindle: 1007 KB
Publisher: Ace (February 2, 2016)
ASIN: B00X593B7W

Available on Amazon


Patricia McKillip has been my favorite fantasy author ever since I stumbled into the world of the Riddle-Master of Hed as a child. She has a a beautiful way of using words to create images that resonate on several layers. If I had her talent with words I could explain it perfectly.

Kingfisher is another great fantasy novel from her, and one I will treasure. As you might guess from the title, it is a retelling of the Fisher King, an Arthurian myth involving the quest for the Holy Grail. Except this is set in a modern type of fantasy realm, where cars and cellphones exist side by side with magic and quests. 

When the story starts, we meet Pierce Oliver, who has grown up hidden away by his sorceress mother. Pierce is a regular guy, helps in his mom's restaurant kitchen, but longs to see the world, and get away from under his mom' watch, which can be tricky when your mom can spy on you through the eyes of any passing bird or rodent. Still Pierce manages to make his way to King Arden's court, and on a quest, and back.

A lot of the action in this story happens in kitchens and restaurants, and the magical artifacts are kitchen knives and cooking pots. The story is about food and sustenance and secrets and healing. It's hard to explain what it's about because the point of the story is to take up the different threads and snippets of the Fisher King myth and wonder what it all meant then and what it means now. A lot of the fun of reading it, for me, is to figuring out how McKillip mapped the myth to her story.

In short I absolutely loved this book. It has layers that you can enjoy on multiple levels. My teen daughter, who is not into Arthurian legend at all, liked it a lot too but I have to report that she wanted a better ending. I think that's the difference of where we are as readers - at my age I can comfortably fill in the blanks of the ending. We are both looking forward to McKillip's next book Dreams of Distant Shores.

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