Dark Horn Blowing (Books for Young Readers) Paperback – 1 Oct 1998
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Stolen away from her husband and newborn child, Nora is transported to the magical realm of Erland where she is assigned the task of nursing the Erl King's sickly infant, who must be able to walk before Nora is allowed to return to her own world.
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It's also multilayered, so you'll get different things out of it at different ages/stages of your life.
The mark of a true classic you might say...
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Then the ending approached. As the book progressed toward a climax, almost nothing seemed to work right for me as a reader. Eelie did a memory regression to figure out why he couldn't walk; his solution was so simple and obvious that he shouldn't have needed to meditate to get it. And then suddenly he knows this, and he can walk. All in about 2 pages. Also, and more importantly, a big and moving reunion scene between Nora, Owen, and Eben was being set up throughout the novel. Then, when it finally happens, whose POV are we reading it from? Eelie's, and he's watching from a distance. No emotional release. Argh. Then there is a long digression at the end that just seems to be Eelie going for a joyride. It's like someone told the author, "I need you to tack ten more pages onto the end."
_A Dark Hown Blowing_ could have been so good, but wasn't.
It's written in a lyrical way, reading very much like those tales and myths as they would have been told by some bard at a feast in a great house. Yet in the case of the two youngest characters, you do get into their heads and their experience quite thoroughly. The characters feel much more sympathetic and real than Farmer's characters did.
There was the occasional weak point, like the swiftness with which the prince solved his personal problem, or the blank spot where the reader wanted to witness a long-sought family reunion. Those weren't minor, and the book is weaker because of them.
But on the whole, I really loved the book, and for the most part, it was an enchanting tale.
With all that said, it must be fair to concede that A Dark Horn Blowing did create a decently surreal and enigmatic atmosphere. A decent attempt to combine ballads, but a far better one is The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope, which is a retelling of "Tam Lin" with some of "The Twa Sisters" mixed in.