Bards of Bone Plain ★★★★½

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

Title: Bards of Bone Plain
Series: ———-
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: Digital Edition



Synopsis:

From the Wiki

The book is set in a culture reminiscent of the medieval era, but technologically near-modern, and in which archaeology is also an established profession. Scholar Phelan Cle of the Bardic School at Caerau chooses as his graduate thesis the subject of the perhaps mythical Bone Plain, where all poetry is said to have originated, and the tale of the wandering bard Nairn.

Meanwhile, archaeologist Jonah Cle, Phelan’s alcoholic father, pursues his own investigations, urged on by his dedicated disciple Princess Beatrice, the king’s youngest daughter. At the standing stones near the school is unearthed a strange artifact, a disk marked with ancient runes that may prove key to the mysteries of Bone Plain. Beatrice soon discovers indications of the lost language it represents everywhere.

Alternating chapters recount the activities of the Cles and the princess and the legend of Nairn, and gradually the present and past are revealed to mirror each other and ultimately fuse.

My Own Little Bit

Turns out Jonah is Nairn and that Welkin/Keldin is simply trying to reverse the curse Nairn brought upon himself from the first competition back in history. Jonah faces Keldin thinking he is taking his son’s place but Keldin uses it to restore to Jonah his musical ability. Everybody lives happily ever after and Phelan’s best friend Zoe Wrenn becomes the next Royal Bard, only now she knows about the magic in the music.

My Thoughts:

McKillip doesn’t let me down. The mystery of language is explored in her typical lyrical way and the journey is beautiful with the way she crafts her story. As I noted in my 2011 review (linked below), she doesn’t hide quite so much in poetic form so the overall story is easier to understand. I liked that last time but this time I’m not really so sure. I think I would have liked MORE mystery, not less!

McKillip has moved her writing from a straight Medieval to a late 1800th Century, with automobiles and the like while still having bards and bardic schools. The magic is a given though, while most people in the story have forgotten that magic even exists.

With this move forward in time McKillip also brings forward some more modern ideas and those are what will keep this from being a 5star read for me. Several times she has unmarried couples sleeping together and that being completely normal. It was more striking to me because of its absence in her other works.

I’ve only got a couple more McKillip books to read through before this cycle of re-reads is over and honestly, I can tell I’m going to miss her stuff. I simply love her writing!

And finally, I’m including the full art spread for the cover by Kinuko Craft. They’re just so beautiful.


★★★★½


Bards of Bone Plain (2011 Review)

17 thoughts on “Bards of Bone Plain ★★★★½

  1. Can’t say I’ve heard of this one, but it sounds pretty interesting. The medival-like setting with near-modern tech sounds interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      By this stage in her writing career I think McKillip was getting bored with just the medieval setting. Her next book, by publication date, was set in the modern era with motorcycles and cell phones and yet it still had that same quality as her previous books. It’s been a couple of years since “King Fisher” came out so I don’t know if she’s done or just really taking her time…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I’m going to make it a personal goal to read a McKillip book in 2020.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I haven’t read any McKillip recently, but her book covers are always so lovely and distinctive! I need to get back to her work soon, if for no other reason than to carry a pretty book around with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. HCNewton says:

    As soon as I saw the author’s name, I knew two things — 1. I’d get to see a great cover and 2. This would be a rare “high praise” Bookstooge post.

    I should probably try a McKillip

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Sadly, this was the last book that Craft did the artwork for. McKillip’s next book is back to a boring nothing cover 😦

      And yes, you should definitely at least try one. Get your head out of all those horrific crime procedurals with no hope 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with you-that artwork is really stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve learned by now that this is one of your favorite authors, which makes me even more curious to FINALLY try one of her books one of these days… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sort of expected you to be head over heels about this author again hahaha I’ll have to hunt down a copy of The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
    as soon as possible and add it to my collection of “Must-Reads Based on Bookstooge’s Wisdom”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Yep, at this point no one should be surprised by my fan-boying of McKillip 😀

      As for Forgotten Beasts. If you don’t like McKillip’s style in that, you won’t like it anywhere else. For me the story has almost always come second in her books…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. savageddt says:

    Her book covers scream at me to pick them up..

    Liked by 1 person

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