The Book of Atrix Wolfe ★★★★ ½

atrix (Custom)

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Title: The Book of Atrix Wolfe
Series: ——
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 254
Format: Digital Edition



Atrix Wolfe, a powerful mage, is drawn into a conflict between 2 Kingdoms. One fateful night he uses his magic to put an end to the conflict and things go horribly wrong. He conjures The Hunter, a living nightmare of pain, terror and death. One king dies, the other flees, broken completely.

Many years later, the 2nd son of the dead king, is attending the Wizards School. He is recalled home and takes a book with him. His elder brother, unable to have heirs, makes him the heir and wants him to settle down and begin stabilizing the royal line, ie, get married and start making babies. Prince Talus agrees but still wants to study the magic book he brought home, little realizing it is the Book of Atrix Wolfe and the words contained are twisted by Wolfe’s despair at what he had done all those years ago.

In his mucking about, Talus calls the attention of the Hunter again, gets kidnapped by the Queen of the Faeries and is the fulcrum upon which turns the fates of many. The Hunter’s nightmare must end, the Faerie Queen’s daughter returned, Atrix Wolfe atoning for his misdeeds and Talus saving his brother’s life.

Just like a fairytale, there is a satisfying ending, even if not a happy ending, for everyone’s storyline.


My Thoughts:

The Book of Atrix Wolfe was my first McKillip book. I read it back in ’05 and over the next 2 years gobbled up her back list of books. I had never come across an author who wrote like this and it blew my mind. I became a fan of hers with this book and it holds one of those special places in my mind.

So it was with trepidation that I began my re-read. Things change in 12 years. My “little cousin” was in first grade and a bossy little boy when I first read this. Now he’s 6’4” and graduated highschool. I am now married, bald [well, shaved. Receding hairline isn’t fun for anyone] and about 25lbs more muscular [hahaha]. Of course, most of the changes are inside and not always easy to see or for me to even know. * insert Zen aphorism about mirrors and the back of one’s head *

My concerns were well founded, unfortunately. The story was just as good, the writing even better. But I could not accept the lack of communication between the various characters. The Faerie Queen’s lover and her daughter have disappeared on the fateful night and she has been looking for them ever since. She knows that Atrix Wolfe is responsible, but instead of asking for his help, she kidnaps Talus, uses him as a go between and even then STILL doesn’t actually tell him what is wrong. Atrix Wolfe won’t tell anyone about the Hunter, even while it is active again. Talus won’t tell his brother about the Faerie Queen and just goes off and does his own thing.

It was all extremely fairy tale like, so that type of thing is expected. But it really bothered me this time around and I couldn’t get past it. I knocked off half a star for that. It didn’t help that I’d been dealing with a sore back, lack of work and issues at church. I didn’t have the patience or reserves to accept the foibles of fictional characters.

Other than that issue, this WAS just as good as before. McKillip is a master wordsmith and her use of the english language is enchanting. She doesn’t just use words and sentences “correctly”, she knows them and the rules well enough so that she can “weave” them. It is the difference between a paint by numbers picture of the Mona Lisa and the actual Mona Lisa.

★★★★ ½



  1. The Book of Atrix Wolfe (2005 Review)

Emo Me

The Void,
the awful void within.
Consuming me,
the emptiness consuming all.

despair overwhelming.
Light, faltering.
Massive nothingness in us all

Not to bad, wouldn’t you say? I was actually kind of down when I started, but when I actually read it, I started laughing. What a bunch of pretentious phooey. That’s what emo is all about after all, wallowing selfishly in ones own pathetic nature without trying to change it.

Hahahahaa. I feel better now 🙂

Alia! Alia! A Lament from the Desert

Poor Preborn Baby
fully aware of the Past
the Now, the Future.

Strug’ling against the madness,
sweeping Coriolis storm!

Left by your mother,
feared by all who know of you.
Maud’Dib did love you.

Yet he could not save himself.
So you were left to yourself.

Voices crowding in.
The Baron silenced them all.
But he took control.

Thus you were lost to the good.
A danger to Maud’Dib’s heirs.

You fell and you died.
Let us lament your beauty.
You were doomed from birth.

I cry for your wasted end.
I shed water for the dead.


2am and I’m still awake, writing
a song and if I get it all down
on paper it’s no longer inside me
threatening the life it belongs to
and I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
cause these words are my diary screaming outloud…

Now that is melancholy. Sometimes Haiku are not enough. Thankgoodness for songs…

The Moon

The Moon
The Sun I did love.
So bright, shining Free on all,
and I wanted it.

So I called “Dear Sun, be mine;
let ALL your light on me shine”

The Sun laughed and sang
“Foolish man, wrong that would be!”
The Sun went away.

Cast down, a strong vow I made.
The Light of Day I’ll not see.

I barricaded
every window, every door.
No light did I see.

Living in darkness, content.
‘Til one night I heard the Moon.

“Oh man, please come out.
Talk with me. I’m not the Sun.
Do not punish me.”

I peeked out the door.
I saw the Moon, her glory,
Wrapped in dark, dark cloud.

Everyone inside, asleep.
Not one being, out, about.

I slipped out the door,
hiding in the Moon’s shadows.
“Speak!” I cried aloud.

And so she spoke, on and on.
The Moon said so very much.

I listened, entranced.
Like one bereft of reason.
til I pled “Enough!”

The Moon smiled down at me,
“I like your company, Sir.

May I ask your name?”
“Dero Xones” I did reply
“Great Philosopher”

And the Moon did go away,
but she would come back again.