The Cygnet and the Firebird (Cygnet #2) ★★★★ ½

cygnetfirebird (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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Cygnet and the Firebird
Series: Cygnet #2
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 315
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Taking place 2 weeks after the Sorceress and the Cygnet, we follow the continued adventures of Nyx Ro and Meguet Mervaine.

A magician invades Ro Holding looking for a hidden key of Chrisom’s. Nyx and Meguet foil him. At the same time a magical firebird that turns everything to jewels and gold with its cry comes to Ro Hold. Nyx figures out it is an ensorcelled young man and in her studies he, she and Meguet all go to the land of Saphier. Where the first magician lives as well.

Saphier is ruled by the son of a magician and a dragon and he, Draken, wants ALL THE POWER. And he wants Ro Hold. It is up to Brand (the ensorcelled young man, who happens to be Draken’s son), Nyx, Meguet and Rad (the first magician) to put a stop to Draken’s quest to conquer all of time and space.

The dragons solve it all because the humans are annoying them.

The End.

 

My Thoughts:

SO MUCH BETTER THAN The Sorceress and the Cygnet. There is no Corleu. In fact, there are no stupid characters; confused, unsure and discombobulated characters, but not an idiot in sight! And that pushed this book right into traditional McKillip territory. Beautifully worded phrases, symbols and pictures with much deeper meanings, lyrical prose that you have to follow like a song. It was everything that I like about McKillip.

I found this more polished, more lyrical and more fantastical than Sorceress. Sorceress was a rough fairytale told by farmers after a tough season of haying. Firebird felt more like a courtly bard singing a story before the entire court. Obviously, with me being King Bookstooge, I prefer the latter.

I was glad to have read the duology so close together. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed Firebird so much if I didn’t have the immediate taste of Sorceress still on my mental tongue.

This, along with Austen, is the kind of romance that not only can I stand but actively enjoy. It is understated but powerful, much like a current in a river. Too many authors rely on the rapids of the river for their romances and it always upsets my literary canoe and tosses me into the drink. I don’t like that. But this, this is like gliding down the Mississippi on a shady day. You can’t ask for much better.

★★★★ ½

bookstooge

 

 

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The Sorceress and the Cygnet (Cygnet #1) ★★★☆ ½

sorceresscygnet (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 & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Sorceress and the Cygnet
Series: Cygnet #1
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 235
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Corleu, a wayfolk man, gets lost with his love in a fog. He escapes, only to find it was all a setup by powerful characters from what he assumed was only folklore. The Gold King, the Blind Dancer, the Fire Bear, the Warlock and others all promise Corleu the return of his love and any wish he desires if he’ll only find and deliver the heart of the Cygnet to them.

Nyx Ro has spent the last 9 years running from her responsibilities as Holders Daughter and gone far and wide across the land, learning more of magic than anyone even knew existed. Her Hold, symbolized by the Cygnet, is now in danger and Nyx must decide what she’ll do. What she does is teach Corleu the magic he’ll need, for she desires the power of the heart for herself.

Meguet Vervaine, sworn champion of Hold Ro, is without magic but she won’t let that stop her from stopping Corleu OR Nyx. Only it turns out she isn’t without magic, but filled with a different kind of magic, one to protect the Cygnet.

Everyone comes together in one climactic showdown, where it turns out that the Fairytale Powers were there simply to show Nyx her way, to awaken the powers within Meguet and to show Corleu his roots.

The book ends with them all eating cake and singing kumbaya around a campfire. That’s me being a smartass, not how the book really ends. Just in case you couldn’t tell.

 

My Thoughts:

When I first read the Cygnet Duology in ’07 I was particularly annoyed with Corleu for being a muzzy headed muckerhead. That hasn’t changed one bit in 10 years. I still found him just as annoying and stupid this time around as I did last time. I don’t know if it is because I’m pigheaded or my Yankeeness or what, but if someone starts trying to manipulate me, my reaction is to just stop. There are consequences to that kind of in/action, but I just put my feet down. Corleu, and like characters, tend to float along like dandelion seeds being blown hither and yon, simply reacting to the threat right in front of them without thinking about what it means or anything. That always sets me off.

Thankfully, Corleu isn’t the focus for the whole book. He’s the focus for the first third, then Nyx gets her third and then Meguet gets her turn.

I have to admit that I skimmed some of this and I know that when you do that to a McKillip book you miss out on details. Basically by the end I still had NO clue why the Constellations all ganged up against the Cygnet or what they actually accomplished. I felt a bit like a muzzy headed muckerhead myself to be honest. Definitely a book I want to re-read again in the future to try to tease out the real meaning hidden in all the words.

This is not a McKillip book I would broadly recommend to just anyone. If you’ve read all her other stuff, then try this. But don’t start with this, not at all.

★★★☆ ½

bookstooge