Dekteon, a slave in fantasyland, escapes and blunders into a strange world between worlds where horses have bear paws and he gets hired by a man who looks just like him to guard him from the terrors of the night. At least, that's the excuse. But it turns out that his new employer has a much more sinister task in mind.

This odd fantasy has some very beautiful, striking images and scenes, and the first fourth or so has a wonderfully spooky, dreamlike atmosphere. Unfortunately, once Dekteon is sent to the matriarchy of cold, bitchy moon women and the sun men they rule, the magic falls away and is replaced by an annoying plot in which he gets the better of the entire society just by being a manly man and not doing what the women say. I'm not objecting just because it's sexist. I'm also objecting because it's dumb and boring.

Not one of Tanith Lee's best. Though I do love the cover, which is 100% accurately taken from the book. A woman with an ivory bow riding a horned lion is what I read fantasy for; wish she was in a better book.

It was part of the MagicQuest series, a fantastic YA fantasy imprint which reprinted (or originally published some?) books by Patricia McKillip, Jane Yolen, Diana Wynne Jones, Peter Dickinson, Robert Westall, Paul Fisher, and Elizabeth Marie Pope. They had great covers and sometimes also great interior illustrations, and I haunted libraries and bookshops for them - all were reliably worth reading, though I liked some more than others. (I never warmed up to Peter Dickinson, and the Pied Piper book was forgettable.) Except for the Westall book, I read all its books for the first time from that imprint; it introduced me to Diana Wynne Jones and Tanith Lee.

I wish the imprint had lasted longer, but it only put out 18 books. Looking them up now, I see that I never saw or even heard of The Last Days of the Edge of the World by Brian Stableford.

Anyone else read MagicQuest? What were your favorites and least favorites?
cahn: (Default)

From: [personal profile] cahn

I didn't read the MagicQuest Peter Dickinson, but I had a similar experience reading some of his other books -- like, they sound like they would be so good! but in practice I always found his writing a bit cold.
sovay: (Haruspex: Autumn War)

From: [personal profile] sovay

like, they sound like they would be so good! but in practice I always found his writing a bit cold.

He wrote three formative books for me and I'm not sure it's an accident that they were all children's books. He was great at voices. Of his adult novels, I really like King and Joker (1976), but I bounced completely off Tulku (1979) despite feeling it was the sort of thing I should like.
cahn: (Default)

From: [personal profile] cahn

Oh! I totally forgot about King and Joker! That's the one thing I've read by him that I actually really liked. I might have to check out City of Gold and Merlin Dreams, those sound like the coldness that put me off of e.g. the Changes trilogy might work for me instead of against.
luzula: a Luzula pilosa, or hairy wood-rush (Default)

From: [personal profile] luzula

I actually just finished Tulku and I thought it was fairly good, but I didn't love it like I love the two others I've read by him. The Blue Hawk was a formative book for me in my youth and it really holds up for me now, too--very interesting worldbuilding and interesting thoughts about religion. And then I read The Ropemaker recently and thought it was a very fun and inventive YA fantasy.

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