Kingfisher is a Ebook Full review first posted on www FantasyLiterature com Patricia McKillip s latest fantasy novel Kingfisher blends together the disparate elements of an Arthuria
Kingfisher is a Ebook Full review, first posted on www.FantasyLiterature.com:Patricia McKillip’s latest fantasy novel, Kingfisher, blends together the disparate elements of an Arthurian-type court, with King Arden, his knights, and their search for the Holy Grail ― in this case, an ancient cauldron with magical powers ― and a contemporary setting, complete with cell phones, vehicles, highways and all of the modern conveniences. Kingfisher also weaves together three different plotlines of three young people who are all somewhat adrift and searching for answers: Pierce Oliver is the son of a sorceress who left her estranged husband, a knight, without ever telling him she was pregnant and had a son. They’ve been hidden in Cape Mistbegotten on Desolation Point ever since, until Pierce meets four knights of the king, who are passing through his town, and abruptly decides to leave his home and mother for the big city and the king’s court to try to find himself and, perhaps, his father. The second main character is Carrie, a gifted cook and the daughter of a mage. Carrie who works at the mysterious Kingfisher Inn, where everyone (including her father) seems to be mysteriously troubled, and the weekly All You Can Eat Friday Nite Fish Fry has somehow become a vaguely ominous ritual. Carrie takes a second job with a competing restaurant run by the gorgeous Todd Stillwater and his wife … but there’s something very odd about this couple and the food they serve in that restaurant. Finally, we have Daimon, the king’s bastard son, who falls in love with Vivien Ravensley, an otherworldly girl. Daimon discovers through her that he has a dual heritage, and is both entranced and torn by it.Placing a Camelot-type court in the modern era, and mixing in liberal doses of both magic and technology, is an intriguing concept. It’s hard to resist a chuckle at knights of the court roaring off on their motorcycles to try to locate the lost vessel/Grail, or one knight texting others an image of a fake cauldron in order to draw them off course in their search. But these two vastly disparate worlds don’t always mesh smoothly.More problematic is that the plotline is too fragmented, following several different characters and storylines, and including too many elements: a shape-changing father, the queen and court ladies’ rather paganist holy cave, a Circe-like sorceress who kidnaps Sir Leith in a bout of unrequited love, the elusive cauldron, the haunted Kingfisher Inn and its inhabitants’ bitter feud with Stillwater’s restaurant, and so on. McKillip’s poetic writing can be gorgeous, and it’s filled with delightful imagery, like Pierce’s worried mother using various animals’ eyes to keep a watch out for her wandering son, as Skye mentions. But McKillip’s rather ambiguous writing style adds to the obscurity and sense of confusion, making it difficult for me to feel fully engaged by the story.Kingfisher does contain a lot of subtle nuances and allusions to Arthurian and other legends that are fun to try to tease out. The Kingfisher Inn and the book’s title call to mind the legend of the wounded Fisher King, who depends on another person for his healing. Daimon’s girlfriend, Vivien Ravensley, is part of an ancient realm called Ravenhold, whose remaining people want to regain power over the land that was taken from them. The repeated raven references and imagery seem to be an allusion to the Raven King legend, in which King Arthur was transformed into a raven and roams the earth in that form until his return. Pierce Oliver seems to be an analogue of Sir Percival, who was taken by his mother into the forest and raised in ignorance of the ways of men, until he meets a group of knights as a teenager and decides to try to become one himself. This book is a goldmine for Arthur lore enthusiasts.In the end, the confusing storyline, with its overabundance of competing elements, made Kingfisher feel muddled and thus less than a complete success for me, particularly where several story threads are left unresolved in the end. But it had a lovely mythic feel to it, and at least it errs on the side of being ambitious.I received this ebook from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a review. Thank you!. Hidden away from the world by his mother, the powerful sorceress Heloise Oliver, Pierce has grown up working in her restaurant in Desolation Point One day, Heloise tells her son the truth about his father, a knight in King Arden s court about an older brother he never knew existed about his father s destructive love for King Arden s queen and, Heloise s decision to raiHidden away from the world by his mother, the powerful sorceress Heloise Oliver, Pierce has grown up working in her restaurant in Desolation Point One day, Heloise tells her son the truth about his father, a knight in King Arden s court about an older brother he never knew existed about his father s destructive love for King Arden s queen and, Heloise s decision to raise her younger son alone.As Pierce journeys to Severluna, he learns that things are changing in that kingdom Ancient magic is on the rise The immensely powerful artifact of an ancient god has come to light, and the king is gathering his knights to quest for this profound mystery, which may restore the kingdom to legendary glory or destroy it.. Bestseller Books Kingfisher A weird and thoroughly original-feeling mix of Arthurian legend, pagan myth, and contemporary rural Britain - with lots of cooking - meshes to form McKillip's latest novel, 'Kingfisher.'Pierce Oliver (Percival) has been raised in the remote fishing village of Mistbegotten by his mother, Heloise, a retired sorceress. He knows nothing of his father, but when one day he encounters a group of knights from the big city of Severluna, he's impressed by their shiny black limousine and their flashy leather jackets - as well as the supernatural shadows that seem to follow them. When they mention that there might be a place for him among them, his decision to travel to Severluna and seek his lost father is triggered.Meanwhile, halfway between Mistbegotten and Severluna, the Kingfisher Inn hosts an amazing all-you-can-eat Friday Night Fish Fry - a banquet served in a strangely ritualistic manner. There are mysteries here too; things no one will tell the young cook Carrie - especially not her eccentric father, Merle. To try to find out these secrets, Carrie secretly agrees to work for the seductive yet hated cook Todd Stillwater, who runs a fancy restaurant specializing in experimental haute cuisine.In Severluna, the king has initiated a grail quest - seeking a lost vessel of power which is rumored to belong to the god Severen. However, the priestesses of Calluna espouse a competing belief; that lost histories tell that this vessel was one of the goddess' mercy.Pierce Oliver finds himself caught up in the quest, and he finds that the roads he takes 'away' often double back and lead him back toward the Kingfisher Inn and toward 'home.'There are a lot of references in here - and probably some that I missed as well. Obviously the Knights of the Round Table, the Fisher King, the Cauldron of Annwn... what might seem at first to be a simple tale becomes deceptively complex. It feels like a dream where the dreamer has the unnerving sense that nothing is exactly as it seems. And here where some of my uncertainty about this book comes in: McKillip often creates fantasy worlds where, although unpleasant events may be occurring, the world itself is incontrovertibly someplace you would like to be. That's not true of this world. I didn't 'like' it and I would not like to live there. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not. Overall, while the mix of magical elements with modern-day elements like cars and sneakers and cell phones and what-have-you felt original, I'm not sure it was wholly successful.I still felt this was a very good book, with a lot of food for thought (in addition to a lot of food and food metaphors). But while Patricia McKillip is one of my favorite authors, this isn't one of my favorite books by her.Many thanks to Ace Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinion is solely my own.