Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2005 (2005)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
The Curse of the Raven Mocker
as Marly Youmans' second story set in the otherworldly mountains of Adantis, lands of the '
', who are a mix of Scottish, Irish, English, Cherokee and drifters. Ingledove and her brother Lang used to live at Hazel Creek, before their father left, their
died, and the area was flooded. Now Danagasta, who appeared mysteriously one day when their mother was ill, looks after them. As the story opens, she urges them to visit the '
' where they used to live.
efore they leave, Lang has a nightmare in which he's bitten by a white snake. He and his sister row over old villages and find their mother's gravestone, which has had a phrase added - '
A daughter of Adantis
'. Lang follows an alluring song up into the mountains and Ingledove is forced to follow. They stay at the cabin of a strange woman, Sally, with an odd child named Ild. Lang follows a lovely, ageless stranger in white, named Malia, out into the night and is bitten and poisoned. Sally sends them on their way and mighty, red-headed Knox Messer helps them to find the
Master of Witchmasters
e turns out to be a black-haired, blue-eyed young man, who's expecting someone, and is surprised to see Ingledove and Lang. The Master tells Ingledove to call him Jarrett and shows her the
, which can be used for prophecy, and the beauty of
's night garden. Though his help and healing are powerful, horror is close on their heels, and attacks repeatedly. They travel the tunnels of the
) seeking an underground river at the roots of the mountains. Along the way they encounter magic in fireflies.
inally they must fight for Lang, their own lives and for Adantis, '
the soul of the planet, where all that once seemed a dark or a shining mystery has survived and flourished.
is an unusual, lyrically written mix of fantasy and horror, enriched by familial love and the possibility of romance.
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