Book Review: Patricia A. McKillip’s Ombria in Shadow

Posted February 24, 2011 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 Ombria in Shadow

Ombria in Shadow


Patricia A. McKillip

fantasy that was published by Ace Books on February 4, 2003 and has 298 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

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

A vibrant, poetic fairy tale which I could not put down.

In 2007, Ombria in Shadow was a Tähtifantasia Award nominee; in 2006, it won the Prix Imaginales for Roman étranger; and, in 2003, it won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature.

My Take

McKillip’s writing paints a lyrical story of an evil regent-in-waiting allied with a black magic against a waxling, a bastard, an about-to-be ex-mistress, and a young prince-in-waiting.

This time, my friends, the shadows are on our side.

The Story

An unexpected death and a young prince enables a wicked relative to take power. In her greed, she pushes her victims into retaliation. An easier task as Ombria is a place heaped with history — and secrets.

The Characters

Lydea was the Prince’s mistress. Mag is said to be a waxling created by a sorceress.

Prince Kyel is the heir to the suddenly dead Prince of Ombria. A bastard, silver-eyed nephew who is obsessed with drawing.

Domina Pearl is Kyel’s wicked great-aunt.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a jewel of colors and richness as the curly and red-headed Lydea flees in her gorgeous blue court dress, a fan in one hand and a rose and locket in the other. The background is a collage of the city with various practical and fanciful architecture, a deep red velvet curtain gathered up on the top right with a richly colored border along the right and bottom edges. All the test is in white.

The title is true, for Ombria in Shadow is with the death of its ruler.


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