Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Book Review: The Hunter's Moon, by O. R. Melling

I don't know what my luck is with libraries, but once again we returned to a library, and once again the computer said they were checked out of all of the books I wanted except one. Again, the one they reportedly had was missing. Needless to say, I was frustrated. It started to turn into a round of deja vu as I headed for the Young Adult fiction section. Searching for anything that looked good, I pulled out O. R. Melling's The Hunter's Moon. This is getting rather repetitive, but again I had low hopes, and again I was vastly surprised.

The Hunter's Moon had a fairly uninteresting plot that was both cheesy and cliche at parts. There were only a few characters. The general writing wasn't even that great. No, the thing that captured me about this book, was the descriptions of the beautiful Irish countryside, the luxurious land of Faerie, and what the characters were going through. The descriptions flow like Shakespeare, and are sweeter to the ear than poetry. The images Melling's words paint in your mind just transfix you to your seat and keep you turning the pages, searching for more. I'm not even going to bother saying anymore about the story, I'm going to go ahead and post some tastes of this delightful book.

"The order of things is ours to play with. We can create a sun and a moon. The heavens we can sprinkle with radiant stars of the night. Wine we can make from the cold waters of the Boyne, sheep from stones, and swine from fern. On the mortal plane, life is a web of illusion. We weave what we wish."

"I have seen a land where summer dwells, a faraway country. There stands a fair bright wood of branching oak, full of red sap, where sweet birds nest. At eventide cools the sun-steeped earth in a shower of dew, like dark drops of honey. Acorns fall from the trees and into a stream, foam-flecked and murmuring."

"Suddenly a dark form leaped over the bonfire, scattering the fairies with the shriek of a a hawk. Vivid colors gleamed on his body like metallic paint. His dark eyes were scrolled with kohl. His long black hair was sleek and glossy. In command of the clearing, he began to dance. It was a breathtaking display of grace and control. At first he stepped slowly, as if in a dream, then he switched to quick startling motions. The tilt of his head or the crook of his arm. Even his eyes flitted and flicked. And his fingers and toes. Each exquisite movement was an intensity of passion honed to perfection--the first shoot of a leaf, a bird breaking its shell, a dragonfly struggling to unveil its wings. In every part of his being , he was dance itself. On his brow glittered the sovereign star. Finvarra, the King, Lord of the Dance."

"His features were cool, his eyes aloof, but the voice was rich and dark like the night."

"To life we wake from the long-forgotten dream, the beautiful mystery. The taste of existence is a drop of honey on the tongue. So very young and so very old, we have gone to seed and run wild with the wind."

"Unto what is the journeying? What stitches the weave of the warp and the weft? What lies between the layers of every moment?"

"We need no words, Beloved. Our fates are entwined until the stars fall. It is for you I have taken this path and I do so without regret. Whether fairy or mortal, love is all."

"Seven were the days of Genesis. Seven are the pillars of life. Seven will be the fires of the Apocalypse. No better number can ride the storm. As a Company of Seven we will forge our destiny."

"They stepped out from the alcove, one human, one immortal, both clothed in night's black and arrayed with stars. As they walked arm-in-arm toward the assembly, the music and dancing ceased and the trumpets blared out."

"They sat tall in their chairs, like lords and ladies. The ghosts of old battles whispered from the tapestries. Camlann. Clontarf. The Fields of Culloden. The shadows of lost and noble causes. For better or worse, some wars had to be fought."

"They stood in a milky void, as if inside a cloud. Towering before them was a gigantic white gate. The railings shone of pale alabaster; the great fluted arch was inlaid with ivory. The portcullis, which had begun to rise, had the silvery sheen of mother-of-pearl."

"Whether it took seconds or aeons to cross that beautiful kingdom, they couldn't know. Time meant nothing in a land suspended between morning and night, for it held the breadth of infinity within its borders. And whether the countryside swept past them like wind, or they traveled themselves at impossible speeds, they couldn't be sure. For it seemed they were given hinds' feet as they leaped over mountains, vast plains, and boundless seas. Everything shone with a startling clarity of light, an eternal summer's day. For lo, the winter is past, the flowers appear on the earth, and the time of the singing of birds is come."

"Like the kraken from the deep, the Great Worm rose up with an eerie silence more dreadful than a scream. He was darker than the night itself. A thousand eyes glared from his body. Gargantuan and glittering, like a spray of cold stars, he appeared to have no head, no tail, no beginning or end. Crom Cruac, the Hunter."

"I lie curled on the branch of the Tree of Life that bears both Faerie and your world like golden apples. Two spheres, two moons that eclipse each other, one fantasy, one reality, balanced side by side. Humanity cannot exist without its dreams, but for any dream to exist there must be a sacrifice."

"Leaf and branch sighed above her. The trailing ivy on the trunk whispered in her ear. Bees hummed in the sunshine, murmuring their secret language in an effort to soothe her. All of nature inclined toward her, for they knew the Queen of Faerie had lost her king."

"It was twilight that brought the fairies. Dusk had fallen over the fields and hedgerows. The early glimmer of stars hailed the night. First came the music, quivering on the air, dim sounds so plaintive the heart ached to hear them."

Well, I know that's kind of overkill. That's a lot of quotes right there, but it's only the beginning of all the wonders of The Hunter's Moon. If you're into poetry and Shakespeare, and people who know how to use words to stitch amazing tapestries in your mind, then you should definitely read this book.

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