It should come as not too much of a surprise that if there’s a new McKillip novel published in any given year, it’s likely to be near, or at the top of this list. Now, it’s not a given. Patricia’s books are coming more slowly in recent years, and there were a couple of story collections to fill in some gaps, but somehow, the quality of her stand-alone novels just doesn’t diminish. Believe me, I’m waiting for it. Nobody’s streak can last this long. Each time I pick up one of her books I think, this will be the one that disappoints me. And while I certainly do have favorites, I have yet to really be disappointed. Her latest novel, Kingfisher is no exception, and features all the McKillip hallmarks that I love so much.
It may be cliche, but I must start this review with, “How does she do it?” Without being at all formulaic, Patricia A. McKillip has managed to write a stunning series of stand-alone novels (shocking in the fantasy genre) that consistently weave wonder, magic, romance, adventure, and stunningly complex characters, male and female with such startling consistency and nary a misstep in over thirty years!
In her latest novel, Kingfisher she creates an astounding number of well-define, diverse characters in a fantastic world that blends modern day, with the time of knights, and the remains of magic. Each character is distinct and memorable, even when they don’t appear for chapter on end. She also deftly creates several factions all seeking the same goal for different purposes, but in such a way that the reader is never quite sure who to root for? Is there one group that is in the right? Another working for nefarious purposes? It’s hard to tell, right up to the fantastically mystical denouement.
As usual, her prose drips with exquisite language that in and of itself is a joy to experience. And again, coupled with a complex and delicious stories mainly centered around food, in fact, and the magic inherent in the creation of a superb meal. Patricia A. McKillip, admittedly, is my favorite author, so take this review with a grain of salt, but I stand by it.
And now a recap of my top books read in 2016:
- Kingfisher by Patricia A. McKillip
- The Weaver by Emmi Itäranta
- At the Mouth of the River of Bees by Kij Johnson
- Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
- Heat and Light by Jennifer Haigh
- Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
- Mercury by Margot Livesey
- Christodora by Tim Murphy
- Imagine Me Gone by Adam Hanslett
- An Unrestored Woman by Shobha Rao
- Opportunity Knocks by Alison Sweeney
- Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
- The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by KJ Charles
And a few other titles I enjoyed last year:
- A Wild Swan and other stories by Michael Cunningham
- A Case of Possession and The Magpie Lord: A Charm of Magpies by KJ Charles
- Mrs. Houdini by Victoria Kelly
In an upcoming post I will talk about some of the other books I read including graphic novels, children’s books and plays. In addition, there were a few books I read that I did not like, or I did not finish, but I won’t be mentioning those here. And I’m off to a good start in 2017 too!