Robin McKinley and Patricia McKillip

Tarja Rainio tarja.rainio at
Fri Jan 14 10:24:04 EST 2000

Melissa commented on

>Robin McKinley and Patricia McKillip - Melissa , Philip, Max,Hallie
>---Melissa: Okay, I know I voted for Patricia McKillip, but there's
>something about these two I wanted to talk about.  Their early books are a
>lot different from their later ones--and the later ones don't seem to garner
>the kind of fan appreciation that the early ones do.  My theory is that they
>both had an idea of what kind of stories they wanted to write, and as they
>wrote more books they came closer to that goal.  But in approaching their
>goal, they moved away from whatever it was that made their early books
>appeal to so many people.  McKillip's _Winter Rose_ is another Tam Lin
>story, but not one that gets talked about--as opposed to _The Forgotten
>Beasts of Eld_, a nearly and well-loved book.  I'm sure there are other
>authors like this, many of whom may be unfairly criticized for getting worse
>as writers when what's really happening is the writer's and reader's tastes

I think this also has something to do with the reader's age and at what
point he or she read those particular books by McKinley and McKillip. I for
one read the early works by both as a teenager fairly soon after they were
published. At that point they gave me that incredible sense of wonder and
amazement. As I have grown older, even though I thought their work good, it
just didn't give that same feeling any more. This is perhaps why the older
works have retained that magical power in my mind. If I discovered them for
the first time today, I don't know if I would react the same way and would
they feel as wonderful now as then. Sorry if this seems incoherent.

Still, I have to say that of McKillip's work, The Sorceress and the Cygnet
and its sequel The Cygnet and the Firebird did have a very similar effect
on me as her earlier work. I thought them just amazing and still do.


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