The Forgotten Beasts of Eld: 50th Anniversary Special Edition
by Particia A. McKillip, Introduction by Marjorie Liu, Foreword by Gail Carriger, Illustrations by Stephanie Law, Cover Art by Thomas Canty
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Pub Date 29 Feb 2024 | Archive Date Not set
WORLD FANTASY AWARD WINNER
SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY HARDCOVER EDITION
“Rich and regal.” —The New York Times
New introduction by Marjorie Liu (The Tangleroot Palace)
New illustrations by Stephanie Law (Shadowscapes)
Fifty years ago, the soon-to-be celebrated young author Patricia A. McKillip (the Riddle-Master trilogy) penned the classic tale of an iron-willed young sorceress and her captivating menagerie. This lovely 50th anniversary hardcover special edition features new illustrations and a new introduction, as well as original cover art by an award-winning illustrator.
Sybel, the heiress of powerful wizards, needs the company of no-one outside her gates. In her exquisite stone mansion, she is attended by exotic, magical beasts: Riddle-master Cyrin the boar; the treasure-starved dragon Gyld; Gules the Lyon, tawny master of the Southern Deserts; Ter, the fiercely vengeful falcon; Moriah, feline Lady of the Night. Sybel only lacks the exquisite and mysterious Liralen, which continues to elude her most powerful enchantments.
But when a soldier bearing an infant arrives, Sybel discovers that the world of man and magic is full of both love and deceit, with the possibility of more power than she can possibly imagine.
A Note From the Publisher
“Rich and regal.”
—New York Times
“Before Daenerys was Mother of Dragons, Sybel commanded beasts of all kinds. McKillip offers up a powerful character full of passion, determination, obsession, and love.”
—A. C. Wise, author of The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories
“I admit it: I have been seduced by Patricia A McKillip’s The Forgotten Beasts of Eld . . . gorgeous, lyrical prose.”
“With its elegant language and lovingly rendered heroine, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld has won the love of readers young and old alike — it’s a book that feels richer with every rereading.”
—Reedsy, The 60 Best Fantasy Books of All Time
“Like the [Lord of the] Rings trilogy or the Earthsea books . . . This magical moonlit fantasy has dignity and romance, heart-stopping suspense, adventure, richness of concept and language and—perhaps rarest of all in romantic fantasy—a sly sense of humor.”
“This is what great literature looks like: bold, self-incisive, powerfully feminist without drawing attention to anything but the prose, the characters, and the story.”
—Usman T. Malik, author of The Pauper Prince and The Eucalyptus Jinn
“This is my favorite book of all time. If I had to pick a desert island book, it would be this one.”
—Gail Carriger, New York Times bestselling author of the Parasol Protectorate
“Rich and lyric prose.”
—Bruce Coville, author of the Dragon Chronicles
“A truly great, concentrated, thoughtful, vicious, exalted fantasy, and everyone should read it.”
—Max Gladstone, author of the Hugo Award-winning Craft Sequence series
“A stunning masterpiece of fantasy. 10/10 stars.”
“Gorgeous, evocative, and fragile.”
“An extraordinary book, and McKillip deserves all the praise she received for creating such a masterful, brave, intricately crafted universe. 10/10 stars.”
“Intimate, gorgeous, quiet and deep, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld remains as resonant as ever.”
“Wise and deep and lucid and crisp.”
“Fear, hope, love, hatred, and all that makes us human assume magical forms in McKillip's characteristically gorgeous prose.”
—E. Lily Yu, author of “The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees”
“Delicious and wise—a true classic.”
—Susan Fletcher, author of Dragon’s Milk and Shadow Spinner
“More than 40 years after it was first published, McKillip’s World Fantasy Award-winner is unquestionably a classic of the genre, and it reads as timelessly as ever in this new print and ebook edition.”
—Barnes & Noble, Week’s New Sci-Fi & Fantasy spotlight
“Soaring prose, lyrics to songs our hearts have forgotten they knew how to sing.”
—Seattle Review of Books
“A remarkable work of literature.”
—The Royal Library
“Whether you read this magical weaving as a straight fantasy or look deeper and call it allegory, I guarantee you will fall under its spell.”
“McKillip’s strange, enchanting stand-alone fantasy The Forgotten Beasts of Eld has been reissued...the writing is simply beautiful.”
“A magical reading experience.”
“Full of magic, wonder and fantastic creatures.”
“This exquisitely written story has something for almost every reader: adventure, romance and a resonant mythology that reveals powerful truths about human nature.”
“It feels ageless, eternal, light and perfect like a star.”
“The best fantasy novel of the year and perhaps of the decade.
“Patricia McKillip weaves an incredibly rich, poetic, wise and mystical story, holding her readers spellbound.”
—St. Louis Dispatch-Post
"5/5 stars. This is one of those books that can’t come with enough high recommendation.”
—Seattle Review of Books
- Advertising and co-op in national print, online outlets, and social media
- Promotion at major trade and genre conventions, including BEA, Readercon, the International Convention for the Fantastic in the Arts, and the World Fantasy Convention
- Features, and reviews targeting venues including the Washington Post, NPR, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle
- Planned galley distribution and book giveaways to include NetGalley, Goodreads, Edelweiss, Tor.com, and additional online outlets
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 17 members
Beautiful anniversary edition of a modern fantasy classic. McKillip's writing is gorgeous and eadily stands the test of time. There's an enthralling fairy tale here as well as a story about how you are treated determining who you become - and how to become something better. Simply lovely.
This review is for the 50th Anniversary edition of Patricia McKillip's eerie and at times disturbing story of the wizard Sybel, who is collector and caretaker of a menagerie of magical and legendary animals. This edition has an introduction by Marjorie M. Liu (Monstress, Dark Wolverine) and a foreword by Gail Carriger (The Parasol Protectorate, Tinkered Stars). This edition also has artwork by Stephanie Law (Dreamscapes).
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a book I have kept going back to since I was a teenager, and I was extremely excited to get a galley copy of this book from Net Galley. Our Protagonist had been seeking a white bird called Liralen when her search is interrupted when a man comes to her door with a baby who turns out to be her cousin. Sybel's aunt had apparently had an affair with the young man's brother, and the king wants the baby dead. The man, a young and strangely knowledgeable noble named Coren is not quite knowledgeable enough to realize that isolated young women who have very little contact with the outside world are not expert baby minders. She is however willing to add the baby to her collections of creatures she takes care of.
(Sybel is one of those characters who give me neurodivergent feelings. Sybel has a somewhat flat affect, and does not realize that saying something like, "oh, he'll make a nice addition to my collection" is not the most reassuring thing you could possibly say to someone. She doesn't understand social interactions, very well and Coren is initially so offput by this he thinks she's being unkind/cruel instead of having immediately slotted the baby into "something I need to figure out how to care for because I know nothing about babies." This is a big reason why I like this book so much and keep coming back to it.)
Sybel raises her cousin Tamlorn with the help of a witch who lives down the road. Years pass, and it's discovered that Tam is really the king's son and not a bastard. Coren attempts to get her on the side of his brothers but this goes poorly.(She doesn't want Tamlorn to end up a political pawn, and wants nothing to do with the outside world and politics in general.) Sybel, who has only the very vaguest concept of personal boundaries summons the king and interviews him to see if he'd be a good parent for Tam. This turns out to be a very large mistake! The king decides to try luring and then coercing Sybel into marrying him. This goes very poorly for all concerned!
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a fairy tale about agency and consent, love and devotion, hatred and revenge. I generally have a somewhat mixed reaction to it. It's undeniably a favorite, but there is a tiny bit of fridge horror in certain aspects of the story. (Sybel's family history at the beginning of the book--especially where you find out that Sybel's father kidnapped her mother--kind of highlights her terror when something similar happens to her. ) So, I go through stages where I find Eld to be too upsetting to read. At the same time I find Sybel's journey toward greater human interaction to be compelling. McKillip's work has a thoughtful, introspective and dreamlike feel, and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is just a powerful and thought-provoking as the first time I read it in my teens.
I just finished reading this wonderful, fantasy novel by Patricia A. McKillip and let me just say: WOW!!
I received an ARC of The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by NetGalley as they are releasing a special edition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this magical novel 💖
And just as Gail Carriger said, this is like no fantasy novel I have ever read.
Patricia’s writing transported me through prose into a magical world of talking beasts, powerful wizards and weak kings… but it is also so much more than that, it is a tale of love and loss, revenge and forgiveness, found family and the darkness within.
It was so beautifully written I could not put it down!!
I honestly was not expecting to love this book as much as I did but it unexpectedly made its way into my top favorites.
This is a book I will talk about for the rest of my life 🤍
All thoughts are my own 💭
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tachyon for providing me with an advanced copy of this book for review.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is one of my favorite books from childhood. I probably read it 15 times as a kid and wore out the spine of my paperback copy so badly it almost broke in half. I hadn't picked it back up for over 20 years, but when I saw this on NetGalley, I really wanted to re-read it and see if it held up all these years later.
It does. Oh boy, does it hold up. This new Tachyon edition also has beautiful illustrations, which compliment the story perfectly. I'll definitely buy a copy of this for myself when it becomes available.
As for the story... Sybel is probably one of my favorite heroines. Stoic, powerful, and virtually alone (except for the magical creatures she inherited from her wizard father), she lives high in the mountains. One day, a lord from one of the fiefdoms below brings her a child to keep safe. In raising the child and meeting this lord and subsequent events thereafter, she learns to love, to hate, and to examine her own actions/mind. The novel has powerful philosophical and moral messages, but it's also so beautifully and artfully written that reading each sentence is a pleasure.
I might compare my emotional experience of reading The Forgotten Beasts of Eld to how I feel about Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn (which is my favorite fantasy novel). It's a book I know I'll come back to in 5 years, 10 years from now, and still find something new to love.
"The Forgotten Beasts of Eld" is a timeless classic that beautifully interweaves magic, mythology, and intricate character development. Patricia A. McKillip crafts a mesmerizing tale that delves deep into themes of power, love, and identity. The novel's lyrical prose enchants the reader, while its mythical creatures add layers of complexity and wonder. McKillip masterfully constructs a world where each choice comes with weighty consequences, making it a compelling read that lingers in your thoughts long after you've closed the book. Highly recommended for fantasy aficionados.
Despite having devoured and loved and reread (and reread) all of Patricia Mckillip's other books, I somehow skipped over this one? It's been a few years since I immersed myself in one of hers, but it's so easy to fall back into her gorgeous and totally unique prose. It's like she's painting with words. I don't even know how to describe it but I've never run across another author whose writing begins to come close. It's like she weaves these elaborate dreams around you that slowly begin to dissolve as soon as you turn the last page.
The story swoops and loops, taking the reader and characters on a journey of self and ambition and fear and captivity and what it means to be free and to love. It's haunting and mysterious and wondrous and breathtakingly beautiful.
Sybel is mysterious and distant and cold but also warm and loving and hungry. Coren looks at her and sees stars in his eyes, sees another of her mythical beasts. Watching them come together and get pulled apart over and over was hard, but worth it in the end.
Now that I've finished, I want nothing more than to revisit all of her other books because nothing else could ever compare. The thought that there won't be any more is incredibly sad, but at least I'll be able to continue rereading them forever.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Tachyon Publications for providing an early copy of the 50th anniversary special edition for review.
This is clearly a classic of the genre, and notably one that has not lost any of its luster over the 50 years since it was first published. What an incredible privilege it was to read this for the first time! The gripping story, wonderful characters, and incredible atmosphere seize the reader early on and refuse to let go until the very last page,
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a forever favorite. I read it for the first time when I was about 15 and I've read it countless times since. I discover something new every time I reread it, especially as I get older. When I saw this special 50th anniversary edition was coming out, I thought it was a great opportunity to reread it again. Thank you so much to Tachyon for the advanced e-galley!
Patricia McKillip had an incredible gift for storytelling. I love what Marjorie M. Liu said in her introduction about how McKillip's stories "almost always have parallel narratives--first, what is said--and then, what is unsaid. McKillip's silences are heavy. Her silences are also story." It's this paradigm that gets me every time I read this book. The writing in it is lyrical, melancholy and wistful and all the in-between moments, all the things that breathe in the silent spaces between words, create their own kind of magic.
This book is truly a gift. A stoic wizard with a menagerie of magical beasts finds her heart in a child and what unfolds thereafter is a life full of the perils and joys of loving and being loved in return. Sybel's self-discovery, her depth and complexity of character are incredibly moving. And the love interest is kind, makes her laugh and is wise enough to know the difference between being compelled and making a choice.
As a teen, Sybel's unasked for journey into the world of men, with all their love and hate, their needs and desires, and their greed and heartbreak, taught me what it means to have agency, that while we cannot always forget, we can learn and grow, and that change and rebirth are possible even after the darkest of days. In this reread, I better understood how much this story is about what it means to be human as well as what it means to be free.
I love everything about this book. Please go read it!
As to this specific edition, I'm not sure an e-galley is really the best way to appreciate it. What little I could make out of the art by Stephanie Law was wonderful, but the images were very small on my screen. I did enjoy both Liu's introduction and Gail Carriger's forward, and I'm greatly looking forward to seeing this edition in print.
A beautiful new edition of one of my favorite fantasy novels of all time, with a cover by one of my favorite fantasy artists to go with it. Patricia A. McKillip's lyrical writing and rich imagination inspired me hugely as a teen writer, and it was a pleasure to renew my old acquaintance with Sybel, Coren, Tam, Maelga, and other beloved characters in this book. The new introduction by Marjorie Liu and foreword by Gail Carriger were also a pleasure to read! I'm excited for this 50th anniversary edition to come out, and I hope it will help a generation of new readers to discover this story!
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is enriched with magic, mystery and mythology from beginning to end. It was and will always be a classic in many people's eyes. And with this latest special 50th anniversary edition, it is hard to argue the point.
There's a unique cast of likeable and interesting characters, plus some fascinating miscreants. The character traits, situations, and dialogue are well-defined and do not feel imitative.
With a tangled web of love, deception and deceit arising for Sybel, there's plenty of drama and suspense throughout the narrative.
The world-building is intricate and meticulous, with vivid descriptions of people and places being stunning. It made it easy to visualize the entirety of the story.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a well-written, well-conceived tale. One that is imaginative and creative and has stood the test of time.
I requested this in order to see the illustrations. They are lovely, but disappointingly few (unless there are going to be more in the finished version). I counted only seven smallish vignettes, plus the title page illustration and a final full page picture. They provide a nice decoration to the text, but it's not a lavishly illustrated edition by any means.
The book remains - as Marjorie Liu's introduction beautifully expresses -- a wonderful exploration of love, power, and magic both everyday and otherworldly. It's my favorite of McKillip's books, and it deserves the celebration.
This book was one that I read for the first time in high school. At that time it was solidified as a story that I've reread multiple times. I loved having an introduction from two authors who gave such beautiful insight and reflection on the book, and the artwork is stunning.
The twist of the damsel/wizard/witch in a tower is one I've never seen done quite this way by anyone else. Its tale of revenge, possession, love, and forgiveness is always beautiful to read. McKillip writes in a way that feels dreamlike, with long fantastical descriptions of even simple events.
There is one particular moment in this book that makes me uncomfortable, and it has to do with a character striking another. In the moment it seems out of character and is never directly addressed afterward.
Aside from this, the story continues to be one that invokes reflection on life, what it means to be part of the world, and ultimately love. I will continue to reread this and take something new away every time.