Book Review: Patricia A. McKillip’s In the Forests of Serre

Posted December 29, 2010 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Patricia A. McKillip’s In the Forests of Serre

In the Forests of Serre


Patricia A. McKillip

fantasy that was published by Ace Books on June 1, 2004 and has 304 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Solstice Wood, The Bards of Bone Plain, Ombria in Shadow, Alphabet of Thorn, Od Magic, Harrowing the Dragon, Song for the Basilisk, Wonders of the Invisible World, Kingfisher, Winter Rose

A standalone fantasy that was nominated in 2004 for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature.

My Take

What a lovely fairy tale! McKillip incorporates Baba Yaga into this fantasy about magicians battling great evil, a “tell-tale” heart, the loss of a great love that is eager for the death of its survivor, and the beleaguered princess who rescues his heart all woven in with ogres, a shapeshifter, firebirds, and enchanted creatures.

And art-lovers will adore the incredibly beautiful book cover.

The Story

Returning from war, Prince Ronan of Serre accidentally tramples a white hen in the road — and earns a witch’s curse. Her words are meaningless to a man mourning his dead wife and child, but they come to pass all the same; Ronan has not been home a day before his father insists on an arranged marriage.

As he gazes into the forest, desperate for a way out, Ronan glimpses a wonderful firebird perched on a nearby branch. He follows where it leads him — into a sideways world where his father’s palace no longer exists. But his intended, the beautiful Princess Sidonie, is on her way to the palace. And her fate depends on Ronan wanting to find his way home…

The Characters

Prince Ronan of Serre is mourning his wife and child while his father has already arranged a new marriage with the beautiful Princess Sidonie.

The Cover and Title

The cover is gorgeous in its rich browns of the deep forest, a warm and yellow spotlight on Princess Sidonie dressed in blues and creams of diaphanous silks, her wild and unbound, wavy blonde hair billowing in the breeze, her bow in one hand, a flame cupped in the other. All the text is in white.

It’s In the Forests of Serre that the prince’s fate is decided.