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Od Magic by Patricia McKillip

Mistral by cirruscastle on DeviantArt

Depicted above is my idea of the character Mistral. I really love this character and have used this name in all sorts of RPGs, MMOs, etc.

Patricia McKillip is a long time favourite author of mine. I will say right up front that her style of writing is not for everyone. It is dreamy and long on figurative language. I can imagine it being divisive.

Let's give you a little taste:
"In the Twilight Quarter, the magician's beautiful daughter threaded her needle with a filament the colour of blood. She knotted it, picked up a length of silk so light it fluttered at a breath, and began to turn a hem in a dangling edge. Illumined by fire and enchantment when Tyramin amused the crowds with his tricks, her bones were long and delicate, her body without a graceless movement. Her hair, a cloud of rippling black, glittered with the star fire of jewels and its own sheen; her eyes hinted of vision, wonders trapped within the warm amber. Such beauty tranforned easily into doves, colored fires, into air tiself and never changed, not even in the curve of her smile, when she became herself again. (McKillip 75).

The main character of this tale is not a woman. Brendan Vetch is a gardener, and has lived a quiet life, up until a plague sweeps through his village, carrying off both of his parents. In the aftermath, Brendan's brother moves away and Brendan becomes involved with a local girl.

When she wants to leave him due to his reticence and unusual behaviour, he suddenly feels a surge of power that momentarily roots her to the spot. When she leaves, she leaves running.

It is then that Od visits Brendan. She is a huge elderly woman who travel with a veritable menagerie and she invites him to be the gardener at her school in Numis. When Brendan chooses to travel there he gets more than he bargained for, including a concept of his own growing magical power.

I'm afraid I can't tell much of this story without spoiling it. Spoilers about the female character are behind the cut Read more... )

What I love about this story is the variety of female characters who are involved with magic. All of them insist on their ability to use their magic as they desire and refuse to be shaped by the king's desires of how magic should be.

April 2017

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