In the Forests of Serre ★★★★★

intheforestsofserre (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
In the Forests of Serre
Series: ———-
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 316
Format: Digital Edition



Prince Ronan, the son of the heartless and one-eyed King Ferus, had his wife and child die several months ago. Now his father has arranged a marriage for him with Princess Sidonie, from a small neighboring kingdom known for its magic. Before Ronan hears of this news though, he accidentally kills a white chicken belonging to the witch Brume, who goes about the forests of Serre in walking house of bones. She curses Ronan and he becomes enamoured of the firebird. He begins to hunt the firebird down only to become as wild as an animal.

Sidonie meets Ronan on her way to the castle only she doesn’t know it is him. She is with a wizard named Gyre who has been sent as a guardian by the powerful wizard Unciel, who fought a battle in The North and barely survived. Once at the castle Sidonie is pretty much held captive under threat of invasion of her home until Ferus can find his son. Gyre pretends to be Ronan but his magical disguise is seen through and Ferus attacks him and drives him into the forests, leaving Sidonie alone.

Gyre runs into Ronan and helps him pay back Brume. Ronan has to give Brume his heart and since it is already broken, he gladly gives it up and returns to the castle. Sidonie realizes something is wrong with Ronan and sneaks out of the castle to find Brume and bargain with her for the return of Ronan’s heart. At the same time Gyre is roaming the forest looking for Brume for the heart of power that makes Serre so mysterious.

While all of this is going on, a nameless, faceless monster appears and begins terrorizing Serre. It would appear that the threat Unciel the great Wizard defeated is not truly defeated.

Turns out that Gyre stole the dead monsters heart and so it doesn’t know it is dead. Sidonie gets Ronan’s heart back, Ronan falls in love with Sidonie and Brume, the firebird and Gyre all figure out what is going on and destroy the monster’s heart, which was Gyre’s heart which merely needed to transform from a jewel into a real human heart.

I think.


My Thoughts:

This was confusing and weird and perfectly delicious. It was definitely one of the most fairytale’ish and straight forward of McKillip’s tales, as there was NO misapprehension with what was going on with Brume or Ronan or Sidonie. Where things were confusing was all with Gyre, Unciel and the nameless terror. I think the firebird’s egg was involved somehow, but I really didn’t catch it all. I was too busy enjoying the parts I could easily understand.

It has been almost 14 years exactly since I last read this and I have to say, it has only gotten better. Despite my not understanding the nameless terror, or maybe because of it really, I am going to be adding the “Best Book of the Year” tag and put this in the running for the end of the year. Something in this book just resonated with me and while not making me jump up and down with glee, so thoroughly satisfied me that I felt like a fat little buddha statue full of literary satiation.

So far, my re-reads of McKillip have only enhanced my enjoyment of her storytelling and of her writing skill. It saddens me that more people don’t love these books as much as I do and at the same time I realize that I’m not exactly a focal point for what is hot. I do hope that McKillip’s books stand the test of time and survive where other fantasies simply dissolve back into the morass from which they came.

The cover is once again an amazing one by Kinuko Craft. I’ll be including the full size piece of art in clickable linkiness so you can peruse as you wish. I can already tell you that this cover is probably going to win April’s Cover Love hands down at the end of the month.





bookstooge (Custom)



30 thoughts on “In the Forests of Serre ★★★★★

  1. That cover IS gorgeous, wow!

    And that book sounds like there’s a LOT going on for about 300 pages. McKillip wrote lots of Stand-Alones, huh? Not very common in the Fantasy genre.

    I wish her books & I would click better because I love me some Fantasy novels that are not part of a series/trilogy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bormgans says:

    Seems like something I should look into a bit further, thanks. Seems like a cross between Earthsea, Fionavar and CSE Cooney, ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. bormgans says:

    What’s her best book, you think?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I must say the title catches the interest as well. I was wondering if this was going to be a 5 star read before I even saw your rating. It reminds me of an Ursula LeGuin novel. Did you find any similarities? I’ve got to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      The first book, Wizard of Earthsea, is probably the closest in tone. After Tehanu I’ve pretty much stayed away from Le Guin, so I don’t know how her other stuff compares. well, I did read Left Hand of Darkness. That pretty much sealed the deal on me ever reading anything else by her.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. savageddt says:

    So far all of the mckillip covers you have shown were fiiiine. This one takes the cake tho. Its gorgeous! Also great review mate glad that a reread can make you like it even more

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Returning to a book we enjoyed and finding it even better on the second run is indeed special, and from other posts of yours I see how much you like this author, so I can imagine how this was a double treat for you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      McKillip’s style is one that is enjoyed more the older one gets. At least for me. It’s also why I was concerned to see the re-release of Forgotten Beasts of Eld so strongly marketed as girly YA book. It has elements of that sure, but it is SO much more. Bleeding marketing “geniuses”.

      I’ve still got 3 or 5 left, so I should be all set for this year. then the waiting begins 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That cover is pretty stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      It is, isn’t it? I’m just amazed how wonderful so many of McKillip’s covers are. I was really disappointed when they switched to another artist for her latest book or two and turned it into a generic blah looking book. These have style and uniqueness!


  8. bkfrgr says:

    Aaaah, I’m so excited! I have a copy of this that I picked up for pence early last year and haven’t yet read. And now I’m going to go see if I can find it … Yay! 😀
    Also, that cover art in full! Wow!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Off The TBR says:

    I’ve never read this…I think I may need to add it to my want list.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Seems like another Mckillip book to add to my list of Mckillip books I really need to read! And I love that cover art too!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Really impressive that your rereads of her books have been so successful. They do sound magical, enchanting and so captivating. Especially the writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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