Skellig

Mar. 27th, 2011 11:29 am
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
[personal profile] booksofafeather
Short review: This is an amazing book... it feels claustrophobic, and vast at the same time, gloomy and hopeful, full of pain and full of light. It's a story about a mystery man, a lot of birds, and the flickering dreams of two children... and that really gives you all you need to know about it. There's much philosophy, and many interesting, inspiring questions asked, and the book holds birds and bird-people in high esteem, touching on the dreams that we have all had about them. It's wonderful.

Writing: The writing here is great. The story is written like shadows, only revealing itself halfway, and the story builds up and builds up like a rolling thunderstorm until it almost hurts to read.

From a winged person's perspective...: The winged person in this book is never shown quite directly, but only in hints. But those hints are worth ten of what's in many other books. Through all of the book, his presence provides a feeling of magic and mystery that touches everything in the story. You don't see him fly, but you will feel the power of flight through all the references to birds and flying that feed on each other and make the story feel like it's very tightly knitted. He's shown as beautiful not monster, even though he is crippled. There is lots of talk of myths, birds as evolution, and a somber kind of magic... I only want to hint at it, because it's lovely to see it, itself, but it truly is great for winged people, and a little bit of a different story from the usual ones about people who want to fly. Though, one of the main characters in it is someone who has a strong love of birds and desire to fly, and wants to protect them, which is nice too. It's shown in one place as a temporary love and not something she deeply felt from the beginning, but other than that one line, it's a very beautiful picture of someone who feels connected to birds.

Trigger warnings: Some mentions of dead birds. Threats of cruelty to birds. The winged character is shown as suffering and in pain clearly. Lots of reflections on death.


More thoughts...: Imagine two children dancing under a gloomy light, carefully touching the spiritual with reverent and shaking breaths. That's this book. It's full of mistakes and fumbles and beauty and childhood dreams, and important questions and issues like "is it possible for the soul to be overwhelmed and hurt by too much joy?" and "can love help a person heal?" and "how does it feel when magic leaves?" And, despite that last one, this isn't a book with a typical "the magic went away" ending. Indeed, even though the balance of magic shifts, it continues to be strong all the way through. I'll let you see what is meant by that.

It's a very tightly written story, where everything loops into itself-- coincidences, matching, things pulling on each other, feeding back. Everything's connected and not only is that a message of the story, but the writing itself brings out that message by echoing that. You really start to get a sense that big things are happening even when only small things are, which makes this book amazingly written. You'll get to feel the magical moment where we experience flight in half-dreams that we're never sure are real... and many other small fragments like that. For some people, it might hurt too much just to be teased by the small fragments. But it creates a beautiful poetry, that is greater than the sum of each individual thing that happens.

If you want to be made to feel that myths are real, if you want a shadow-feeling story about hope and promise, or if you just want something a bit different from the normal winged-people books that is still very relevant... a myth for the winged if you like... then by all means, read this book. I definitely give it five out of five. Skellig is within us all... and you will feel it, too.
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