Ombria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip

     Harry Potter books have ruined my ability to read most fiction anymore.  Somewhere in the dearth between the 3rd and 4th Potter books, I discovered a trilogy by Philip Pullman: His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass).  Those books were a perfect follow up to J.K. Rowling’s world of magic alongside the mundane.  Ever since, I have yet to Ombriabe able to read a fiction book unless it fills this need in me to be so immersed in a magic and fantasy world that I lose myself in it.  When I finished The Amber Spyglass, it was a while before I could find another fiction book to read.  I tried lots and they stayed on my night table with my bookmark steadfast in the same dead-end place for a while until I returned each book to the library unfinished.  Then I came upon a book by Patricia McKillip called Winter Rose.  I took it on a beach trip with my sister and brother-in-law during which it rained the whole time but I didn’t care because I wasn’t there anyway.  I was in another world. 

      McKillip has such an amazing way with words – they’re painterly, they’re dreamy, they are round, three dimensional, they pull you into the pool of her stories so deep that you don’t want to leave and so you ration the chapters as much as you can stand it, but there’s always a mystery woven in that makes you rush to the ending.  It’s no wonder she’s a World Fantasy Award Winner. 

     So, I’ve finished reading another of her books, Ombria and Shadow, and it is more amazing than Winter Rose and I didn’t think that was possible.  The plot is so intricately woven and her imagination is so full of surprises and twists, turns and beauty that she leaves me awestruck.  This book fills the same niche that Harry Potter and Pullman’s His Dark Materials books do; it has a magical world beyond the mundane, just within yet out of reach depending on who you are.      

(Heidi Schachtschneider Cary, Information Services)

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