Kingfisher by Patricia McKillip

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Hidden away from the world by his mother, the powerful sorceress Heloise Oliver, Pierce has grown up working in her restaurant in Desolation Point. One day, Heloise tells her son the truth: about his father, a knight in King Arden’s court, about an older brother he never knew existed, about his father’s destructive love for King Arden’s queen, and Heloise’s decision to raise her younger son alone.

As Pierce journeys to Severluna, he learns that things are changing in that kingdom. Ancient magic is on the rise. The immensely powerful artifact of an ancient god has come to light, and the king is gathering his knights to quest for this profound mystery, which may restore the kingdom to legendary glory—or destroy it.

The synopsis provided by the publisher is a bit misleading.

The story indeed follows Pierce, the son of a sorceress, who travels to court to find his father, one of the most famous knight of the kingdom. However, the synopsis does not mention the fact that this book takes place in a modern setting. Knights use bikes, motorcycles or even limos for their quest and they communicate using cell phones. So if you expected a medieval setting (like I did) well, at the beginning, you may found yourself completely at odd with the story.

The first time a character mentionned that he was using his car, I thought that I was extremely tired and that I didn’t understand very well. The second time around, I realized that I had understood and that I wasn’t turning mad.


Kingfisher was my first Patricia McKillip book but it probably won’t be the last. McKillip’s writing style is very lyrical  and the pacing of the book was very good. It was a slow-paced story but I never find myself  bored and I flew through this book.

The story starts of with only one character, Pierce  Oliver, who is searching for his father but after the opening chapter, we are introduced to three other characters whose stories are all going to converge slowly. All the characters were interesting and I was intrigued by every of their perspectives. The story didn’t have a ton of character development but I didn’t mind it.

The plot took a little time to fall into place and at first it seemed like the book was more a painting of the lives of different people than an actual story, but like I said before, McKillip’s writing style made it easy to read the book.

However, I won’t recommend reading this book if you’re hungry because, a lot of important scenes takes places at the Kingfisher Inn and, you have a ton of description of meals. One time, I read a very descriptive scene about cooking just before lunch, and the only thing I wanted to do was to jump into the book to eat EVERYTHING mentionned. It was torture. 😛

Anyway, I really enjoyed Kingfisher, it wasn’t the best fantasy book I read in my life but it was a very comforting read and even if I was a bit unsettled by the modern setting at first, I would still recommend it (just beware if you want it to be a sort of Arthurian tale, it kind of is but kind of not at the same time and you may be a little disappointed.)


★★★ 1/2

8 thoughts on “Kingfisher by Patricia McKillip

  1. The more I hear about this book the more curious I am – true, it’s not all glowing and raving reviews, but it all just seems so interesting! I will be diving into this soon, and even knowing everything I do about the book I still feel like I don’t know what to expect, simply because its descriptions have been so nebulous, but maybe being surprised will be for the best 🙂


    1. I would still recommend it, the modern setting was odd at first but it was a nice twist. I have not read raving reviews but I have not seen terrible ones either. I just think that because the synopsis is a bit misleading, it is easy to go into this with wrong expectations which can be disappointing. I am looking forward to your thoughts about it 🙂


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