Harrowing the Dragon ★★★★☆

harrowingthedragon (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
Title: Harrowing the Dragon
Series: ———-
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 185
Words: 86K

 

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.com

“The Harrowing of the Dragon of Hoarsbreath” (from Elsewhere, Vol. II, Nov. 1982) – a young dragon harrower and a girl from a mining village clash over whether the land’s long winter is caused by a dragon.

“A Matter of Music” (from Elsewhere, Vol. III, Apr. 1984)

“A Troll and Two Roses” (from Faery!, Jan. 1985)

“Baba Yaga and the Sorcerer’s Son” (from Dragons and Dreams: A Collection of New Fantasy and Science Fiction Stories, Apr. 1986)

“The Fellowship of the Dragon” (from After the King: Stories in Honor of J. R. R. Tolkien, Jan. 1992) – Five young women are tasked by their queen with saving her lover, the court harper.

“Lady of the Skulls” (from Strange Dreams, Jul. 1993) – a story of personal transformation requiring a knight to look past what meets the eye.

“The Snow Queen” (from Snow White, Blood Red, Jan. 1993) – retelling the familiar fairy tale in a contemporary setting, highlighting the universality of love, loyalty and desire.

“Ash, Wood, Fire” (from The Women’s Press Book of New Myth and Magic, Nov. 1993) – the story of a cinder-girl who has reduced the people around her to their functions as she sinks into her own essence.

“The Stranger” (from Temporary Walls: An Anthology of Moral Fantasy, Oct. 1993)

“Transmutations” (from Xanadu 2, Jan. 1994)

“The Lion and the Lark” (from The Armless Maiden and Other Tales for Childhood’s Survivors, Apr. 1995) – a “beauty and the beast” retelling, in which a young woman loves a shapechanger, loses him, and must prove her love through many tests and trials.

“The Witches of Junket” (from Sisters in Fantasy II, Apr. 1996)

“Star-Crossed” (from Shakespearean Whodunnits, Sep. 1997) – the Verona constabulary investigate the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.

“Voyage Into the Heart” (from Voyages: The 25th World Fantasy Convention, Nov. 4, 1999) a heartless hunt to acquire a unicorn’s horn.

“Toad” (from Silver Birch, Blood Moon, Mar. 1999) – a “frog prince” retelling in which the prince is far from innocent.

 

My Thoughts:

It did not feel like it had been 13 years since my previous read of this book. While not quite “just yesterday”, if you had asked me point blank and I had to simply rely on my memory, I would have said from 5-8 years ago. How time flies!

This was a real mixed bag in terms of both interest and writing. Some stories were more interesting than others and some of the writing was much better than others. It also felt like McKillip was really experimenting with stuff and figuring out what worked for her and what didn’t. Considering the stories were written between 1982 and 1999 I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

I wouldn’t recommend this as a starting place for McKillip, as I feel that a familiarity with her style is necessary to be able to appreciate some of the very quirky stories told here. For someone with a couple of her books already under their belt, this would be a solid edition to your reading and to be able to experience some of her writing in shorter form.

This was the last McKillip book I had for this cycle of re-reads. I began back in 2017 with a re-read of The Tower at Stony Wood and now I end in 2020 with Harrowing the Dragon. Three years to read 21 of her books is just a win on every single count. I enjoyed them all, I hopefully praised them enough (I really think I did but covering my bases just in case, you know?) and I trust that I dragged at least one person into McKillip’s sphere of influence.

So while this particular journey has ended, the road is still there and I know I can re-travel it any time I like. Perhaps in another 10-15 years. The question then will be who I am at that point and will you be around?

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

28 thoughts on “Harrowing the Dragon ★★★★☆

  1. What does the word Harrowing mean in the context of this book?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ola G says:

    Oh yes, Bookstooge, you’ve been diligently selling McKillip to all of us – and I still have my second try to spend on one of her books! 😄

    I sure do hope to be around for your next great McKillip re-read! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. R A I N says:

    Whoaaa!! I don’t think I’d even heard of this series before reading this post! But…damn, I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS NOW! Definitely, definitely going to check it out! 🦋

    Liked by 1 person

  4. piotrek says:

    It sure looks interesting, and the good covers are back 🙂 Inspired, I ordered two McKillips from Book Depository, not this one, as it wasn’t available, but both highly rated by you before 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wakizashi says:

    You got me! Thanks to your ambassadorial duties, I recently finished my first McKillip: “In the Forests of Serre.” I really liked it and was bowled over by the beautiful, lyrical writing. I’m working on a review for a future post. This is the beauty of book review blogs and the community. We help each other discover great books and writers! 🤩

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Darren Jones says:

    I just re-read the Riddlemaster trilogy last month. Still my favorite of her works by a long shot. I re-read it every couple years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I remember you saying how much you liked that trilogy when I made my way through it near the beginning of this re-read.
      I’ll be skipping them on my next re-read, as I didn’t care for them much 😀

      Like

  7. I didn’t know McKillip wrote a short story collection! Cool, I’ll have to look out for it (but probably after I’ve read / re-read one of her longer works as a reminder of her style).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. HCNewton says:

    You should probably do that re-read soon, I need more nagging to grab one of her books…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Of course we get the message, Bookstooge! 😀
    McKillip is placed quite high on my list of authors to sample…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. […] set of hardcover Barsoom/John Carter omnibuses through a giveaway hosted by the inestimable Bookstooge.  I have been using the Barsoom books as one of my main comfort reads in these trying times […]

    Like

  11. You definitely dragged many of us into wanting to try her books out. I have myself gotten my hands on The Forgotten Beasts of Eld and look forward to diving into at some point in 2020. Thanks for revisiting it and making us want to try it for ourselves. Definitely curious to see what you’ll think of them in another decade. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I want to make more time in the future to re-read more old favourites and also hunt down ebooks of old children’s favourites to read again or for the first time. Once I tackle the pile a bit though!

    Liked by 1 person

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