Books by Meredith Ann Pierce

FANTASY
Released: April 1, 2004

The strongest stories in this collection are the ones previously unpublished: the two-page "Night Voyage," as lovely a paean to the land of dreams as one might wish; the meandering and melancholy "Rafiddilee," with its inside-out echoes of Rumpelstilskin and The Hunchback of Notre Dame; the gentle and ultimately rosy "Frogskin Slippers." Pierce is brave enough to let us see "Icerose," a tale she wrote when she was 17. While it has none of the power of her current work, it's nifty to see the writer, pearly and opalescent inside the dark oyster shell of youth and inexperience. Pierce takes pieces of many tales and reworks them finely: in "Rampion," the Rapunzel and Selkie references are woven into a very different tapestry. Readers who cannot get enough of Pierce will want to ride these "luminous and deep" waters; others might prefer Treasure at the Heart of Tanglewood (2001). (Short stories. 12+)Read full book review >
FANTASY
Released: May 1, 2001

The scent of sorcery is sharp and sweet, like basil, and Hannah knows it well. She hears the voices of the magpie, the badger, and the three foxlets who follow her, but she does not know anything of her past, or why the townsfolk fear her even as they come for her charms and cures, or why the wizard deep in the Tanglewood demands, each month, a draught made from the leaves and flowers that blossom in her hair. When a beauteous young knight comes on a quest, searching for his queen's greatest treasure, Hannah pins a lily from her hair to his breast and hopes he will survive. She names him Foxkith and later finds him wounded, but the wizard turns him to a fox before her eyes, and robs him of speech. Then Hannah leaves the place she knows, with her companion animals, in search of what will bring her Foxkith back to her. It's hard for her to notice that once she leaves Tanglewood, lush greenery springs up from what falls from her hair, then the gold of summer, and the russet of harvest, as she travels the land and brings the seasons back. Finely wrought and passionately imagined, it's a tapestry of words to hold the author's themes: the awakening of desire; the longing to know one's origins and one's place; the cherishing and defense of loved ones. A treasure indeed. (Fantasy. 12-14)Read full book review >
DARK MOON by Meredith Ann Pierce
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: May 1, 1992

In a world of unicorns, wyverns, and many other intelligent races, most are bitter enemies. Only humans dwell aloof, oblivious to the others; only they have mastered fire to stave off winter's cold and to power kilns and forges. Aljan (``Jan''), warrior prince of the unicorns, is marked by the crescent that prophesy says signifies the firebringer. Attacked by gryphons and lost in the sea, he's rescued (exhausted, battered, his memory shattered) and taken in by humans, leaving new mate Tek and his tribe distraught. In the humans' city, Jan is horrified to find enslaved horses, but he does learn to make fire by striking his heel with his horn. His memory recovered, he escapes with Ryhenna, a friendly mare, determined to rebuild his tribe (decimated by a harsh winter) and to end the discord among all the races. Unfortunately, this sequel to Birth of the Firebringer (1985) is unexpectedly leaden. Jan is apparently meant as a blend of Prometheus and King Arthur, but too much here is merely silly rather than heroic—e.g., his acting like a unicorn-sized cigarette lighter, or the scene when he and the importunate Ryhenna decide to be just good friends—while magic, gods, or coincidence is dragged in for convenience all too often. Fans will miss the romantic, imaginative spirit that illuminated Pierce's Darkangel trilogy. (Fiction. 12+) Read full book review >
THE DARKANGEL by Meredith Ann Pierce
Released: May 21, 1982

A whippet-paced Quest fairy-tale—free of allegorical hardware but swarming with mythical creatures, Oz-ian settings, and noble sentiments. In the days when the skyborne Ancient Ones have retreated to their domed desert cities, servant-girl Aeriel sees her mistress carried off by a feathered fury: the darkangel vampyre. And soon, determined on revenge, Aeriel is herself spirited off to the darkangel's tower—ordered to spin for his 13 wraithy wives. (Their souls are kept in little vials on the vampyre's necklace—to be drunk eventually by his mother the water witch.) Aeriel feeds the darkangel's chained-up gargoyles; she has compassion for the wives; she's fed and helped by the duarough, a little man of the caves. And soon, armed with a magic rhyme, Aeriel escapes (via a heron-turned-boat), is saved by the lyon (or leosol), meets the immortal star horse (or equustel). But when she returns, now equipped to kill the darkangel, Aerial discovers that she is to be Bride 14. Can she kill him? After all, she ""loves his power and his beauty, the magnificence and majesty of him. . . ."" A little Bela Lugosi, a lot of Disney and Grimm: juvenile fun. Read full book review >