Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, Deryni Rising, Book of Enchantments

I’ve successfully inventoried the ENTIRE LIBRARY, by MYSELF, in a little over a week, on part-time hours! I’m super proud of myself and also kinda brain-dead; all I’ve been doing lately is watching TV shows on Hulu and vaguely thinking about reading a book sometime maybe. How have y’all been?

Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, Deryni Rising, Book of EnchantmentsSheepfarmer's Daughter (The Deed of Paksenarrion #1) by Elizabeth Moon
(narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck)
Published: Brilliance Audio (1988), Audiobook, 15h53m
Source: Bought
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, GLBTQ

Paksenarrion—Paks, for short—refuses her father's orders to marry the pig farmer down the road and is off to join the army. And so her adventure begins—the adventure that transforms her into a hero remembered in songs, chosen by the gods to restore a lost ruler to his throne.

I’ve been wanting to read an Elizabeth Moon book FOREVER, so when I was very excited finally got my hands on the audiobook for the first Paksenarrion book. It’s a coming-of-age/origin story for a folk warrior hero that wasn’t AS fun as I thought it’d be, mostly because it’s so centered on military life instead of, like, character development. There’s plenty of action and training montages, but Paks1…lacks a little in emotional intelligence. Things happen and she just kind of goes “huh” and moves on. Or she spends a lot of time being confused and not understanding things. Possibly it’s because she’s super young and sheltered; maybe in the next book she’ll grow a bit wiser. The narrator was VERY good, though. She does excellent male voices and everybody sounds different from one another, which is really all I could ask for.

Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, Deryni Rising, Book of EnchantmentsDeryni Rising (The Chronicles of the Deryni #1) by Katherine Kurtz
Published: Brilliance Audio (1970), Audiobook, Genres: Fiction, Fantasy

In the land of Gwynedd, the Haldanes have long ruled and have long kept a dangerous secret: there are those of their blood who possess the magical powers of the Deryni. To be Deryni in a land ruled by the all-powerful Church is to be branded an outcast.But now, young Prince Kelson is about to assume the throne after the mysterious death of his father. He must be told of his magical heritage. For his legacy is being challenged by a woman who does not hesitate to lay full claim to her Deryni powers. And to face her in magical combat, Kelson must learn a lifetime’s worth of magic in a few short days.If he loses, he dies as his father did. And if he wins, he is King—but all the world will know that he is also Deryni…

I’m still surprised at how charming I found this book, considering it’s a high fantasy with wizards and protagonists who are (I think) white dudes. There’s courtly intrigue and an assassinated king and a TERRIBLE mother character who honestly is a little over-the-top in how bad she is. Not evil, just neglectful and deluded. All the female characters are pretty bad, actually, which is very disappointing. And yet I still really enjoyed the story??? I think I just really like stories about princes (or princesses) who have to prove they’re fit for the throne somehow. Especially when they have a magical uncle character who is somewhat tragic. Maybe the narrator helped, too; it’s a very good production and I tend to forgive a lot of sins in an audiobook with excellent narration.

Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, Deryni Rising, Book of EnchantmentsBook of Enchantments by Patricia C. Wrede
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers (1988), Paperback, 256pg
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy

This witty and charming collection of ten short fantasies includes a story, set in the Enchanted Forest, about Queen Cimorene's Frying Pan of Doom; a zany yarn about a magical blue chipmunk with a passion for chestnuts; and an eerie tale of a caliph who turns his vizier's daughter into a wolf.

Originally I wanted to read this short story collection for its connection to the Enchanted Forest chronicles (one of my favorite book series and highly recommended, btw). There are TWO Enchanted Forest stories in here, but they’re actually not even the best ones in the collection. This is a top-notch short story set! I liked nearly all of them, even the ones that made me want to cry. One of my favorites is the very first story, about a blue chimpmunk god and a greedy man who tries to wish his way into fame and fortune. It’s adorable.

  1. who is, btw, asexual!

1 thought on “Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, Deryni Rising, Book of Enchantments”

  1. Awwww, Book of Enchantments. My own copy is battered and torn from many years of affectionate reading by me and my family members. I need to reread it — when I was little, the story about the three sisters gave me horrible nightmares (I’m the middle child tooooo of sisters!).

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