bookish posts

Patricia McKillip readalikes

I’ve been re-reading Patricia McKillip’s Song for the Basilisk recently, and I wanted to come up with a list of readalikes for her books. This proved to be more difficult than I anticipated.

There is certainly Rachel Neumeier, whose City in the Lake was directly inspired by McKillip, and whose House of Shadows would probably also work for McKillip fans.

And then–

Well, more tenuously there are Martha Wells (especially perhaps Wheel of the Infinite, which has the sense of setting that McKillip so often does), and Lois McMaster Bujold’s Chalion books.

There are obviously many people who write fairy tale retellings, and Robin McKinley occasionally writes magic in a similar way. Franny Billingsley seems like she writes in a similar continuum.

But beyond that, I came up with a blank. So, any suggestions for McKillip-like writers?

Rachel Neumeier says: “1. The Shapechanger’s Wife by Sharon Shinn is actually very McKillip-y, more so than her other books.

2. A Dark Horn Blowing by Dahlov Ipcar has something of the same feel.”

Charlotte suggests The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill

Katy says, “Juliette Marillier, and also found Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull popped up in my blog when I searched for McKillip”

On Twitter, Erin Bow suggested Shannon Hale’s Goose Girl books and Cecelia Larsen suggested Caroline Stevermer’s College of Magics/Scholar of Magics as readalikes for some but not all of McKillip.

By Maureen LaFerney

My name is Maureen. I currently work as a library assistant in a public library in the Indianapolis area, and also just so happen to be a voracious reader. I frequently end up under a cat.

7 replies on “Patricia McKillip readalikes”

Yes, a couple:

1. The Shapechanger’s Wife by Sharon Shinn is actually very McKillip-y, more so than her other books.

2. A Dark Horn Blowing by Dahlov Ipcar has something of the same feel.

…. and then I’m out.

1. I have the first one of those checked out! I will get to it…eventually.

2. I have never heard of that one, but I’ll take a look.

Meredith Ann Pierce, for her vivid and archaically flavored prose and dark, colorful worlds – with the caveat that many of her novels have troubling romantic dynamics. I would argue for the Darkangel trilogy as being the closest in feel to McKillip. Treasure at the Heart of the Tanglewood doesn’t have the wonky romantic dynamic, but I think it is also far less striking in setting and plot than her other novels. She does also have a not-at-all-troubling and delightful trilogy involving warrior unicorns, the Firebringer Trilogy, but it’s not so much in the McKillip vein of things. Apologies that this whole paragraph ended up as one long caveat.

Some of Tanith Lee’s less dark work falls into the McKillip spectrum; I might recommend the science-fantasy romance The Silver Metal Lover and the fairy-tale retelling collection Red as Blood.

I think an argument could be made for A. S. Byatt’s fairy tales and retellings, too (collected in The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye and The Little Black Book of Stories).

Very excited to check out the other recommendations in this post! Wheel of the Infinite keeps coming up again and again on my radar…

I have read none of those, so clearly I need to get on that.

Wheel of the Infinite is great–older POC protagonist, complex and interesting world, etc. etc.

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