Good Reviews of the New Book! (See below for the cover image.)
Here are some highlights of the early reviews of A Green and Ancient Light:
“This is a universal story about memory, and youth, and love, and the possibility of the utterly impossible . . . the same magic flows in its veins as does in those of the classic The Last Unicorn or, more recently, Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane . . . Here, we delve into the enchantment of time, as it relates to our fondest memories, and the fleeting moments we spend amid the enchanted, that briefest of windows when dreams are as real as anything . . . I left a piece of my heart with A Green and Ancient Light.” — Nicole Hill, Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
“Durbin skillfully ties together the shared quest of three generations . . . This gentle, engaging, and very personal coming-of-age story is mythic in its universality.” — Publishers Weekly
“Durbin’s rhythmic prose and carefully honed imagery are so engrossing and transportive, I was completely disoriented by the mechanical sound of an elevator dinging outside my apartment in the midst of reading. The green of the forest — the leafy canopy and trickles of light through the branches — evoke a tangible atmosphere unlike any other book I’ve read this year. The characters are so fully formed, they are easy to love and root for . . . In equal parts, there is adventure and mystery, romance and heartbreak, a cherishing of childhood and a shock of reality . . . The unnamed protagonist’s adventure in the forest is not unlike reading your first beloved book as a child . . . A Green and Ancient Light could well be one of those books for children and adults alike. I know I’ll come back to this story again . . . Durbin’s tale of childhood, family, truth, and bravery certainly captured a piece of [my heart].” — Sara Cutaia, Chicago Review of Books
“This is a magical book that will appeal to those who loved Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things.” — Megan M. McArdle, Library Journal (starred review)
“Durbin’s gorgeously atmospheric novel . . . solidly shares the fantasy- and historical-fiction genres . . . a delicate dance between reality and fantasy, ominous soldiers and late-night fairy music. Fans of John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things (2006) will enjoy this bittersweet fantasy with a mystery at its core.” — Emily Compton-Dzak, Booklist
“Do I squeal now or later? How about always. I LOVE THIS BOOK. It left me breathless. I didn’t want to move after I finished it. Moving meant breaking a beautiful moment. Moving meant stepping out of the sublime. Moving meant letting go of a village that I wanted to live in. A Green and Ancient Light is SO GOOD . . . It brings an eloquent calm to the page reminiscent of Bradbury. This novel . . . is not your standard war story for it features an old woman as the most battle-ready of the bunch. It is not your standard love story for the depth of friendship is explored far more than any bodily connection. It is the book you want to read after you’ve gone through Peter S. Beagle’s oeuvre and don’t know what the heck to read next. SO LOVELY. Love. Love. Love.” — Patty Templeton, Black Gate
“Durbin knows how to grab his readers and wrap them in a tale so vividly brought to life one can see the purple setcreasea in Grandmother’s garden, smell the breeze coming from the woods behind her quaint cottage and hear the soft rain hitting the cobblestone paths . . . This is a lush and wonderful tale of discovery, relationships and mystery that is perfect for young adults or any grown-up who remembers what it was like to learn that not everything is always as it seems . . . Once the end is reached, there is a longing for more . . . If you like being pulled into a story, enjoy characters that spring off the page . . . A Green and Ancient Light will certainly shine for you. On a scale of five stars, give this a five, brightly.” — Jeff Webster, ThePerryNews.com
“The book itself is magic, and that magic is felt in every single page . . . That’s something about the book that I loved the most — the relationships. Not just between the grandmother and grandson, but between neighbors, and everyone in the community . . . The spell is woven over readers through some absolutely incredible writing . . . I wanted it to go on forever. Isn’t that the true mark of a fantastic book? You never want it to end? And when it ended, it almost brought me a physical pain. This book is magic. The words are magic. The characters are magic. I wish I could read it for the first time over and over again. This is one of the best books I’ve read all year.” 5/5 stars — Bookworm Blues (speculative fiction book reviews blog)
“Publisher Saga Press will release the nearly 300-page novel . . . as adult fantasy; however, I don’t hesitate to recommend it as an intriguing and appropriate read to upper middle grades or high-school readers who enjoy fantasies embedded with intricate puzzles . . . A Green and Ancient Light combines beautiful writing (I kept paper near whilst reading to copy phrases I wished I’d written), romance, war, mystery, and faery fantasy into one compelling, delightful story suitable for grownup or not-so-grownup readers alike.” — Ruth Siburt, Champaign News-Gazette
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A quick appreciative ad here: If you’re a manual typewriter enthusiast and are wondering how you can replace the crumbly, rock-hard, squashed feet of a machine you’ve otherwise lovingly cleaned up and restored, I know just the guy who can help you! Steven Dade of California will custom-build rubber feet for any typewriter. He’s reasonable, works very quickly, does a stellar job, and insists the feet fit to your satisfaction before he gets paid. He’s also a great guy to talk typewriters with! Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (805) 581-6030. I did, and I highly recommend him!
“The Girl Who Writes the Future” is now complete! Illustrated by Emily Fiegenschuh, it appeared in six parts in Cricket Magazine this year. Although I had the privilege of writing this story, the characters and some of the special fantasy objects were created by the magazine’s young readers in the first-of-its-kind crowd-sourced story — a project aptly called “Crowd-Sorcery.” Don’t miss it! By clicking on that link and scrolling down to “Read the Story,” you can read the entire story (and see its illustrations) on Cricket‘s web site!
I also highly recommend Emily Fiegenschuh’s blog — click here. Some of her recent posts have featured sketches she did for the Crowd-Sorcery project (along with her explanatory notes) that do not appear in the published story, so check out this rare look into the artistic development of “The Girl Who Writes the Future”! She has just put up a fascinating post about how she designed the look for the nefarious villain Khaos — read about it here!
Stellar Company: A Review
Here’s a video on YouTube that has left me speechless:
Thank you, Ms. Davis!
AUDIO Dragonfly NOW AVAILABLE!
DRAGONFLY is now also downloadable in audio format from Audible! The unabridged text of this dark fantasy novel is read by Casey Holloway and may be found easily on Amazon (where you can also listen to a brief excerpt). Of course, if you’re new to this page, please don’t miss the print DRAGONFLY (find more information by clicking “WORKS” in the toolbar above).
The incomparable Patty Templeton has conducted an interview with me that is up on the BLACK GATE web site. Please read it here!
THE STAR SHARD: Good Reviews Keep Coming!
Here’s from the latest, by Michelle Villarmia, through NetGalley:
“Frederic S. Durbin’s The Star Shard is a fairy tale among fairy tales. The world is full of fantasy and wonder, perfectly fitting . . . I quickly fell in love with [the main character], despite our age difference. She showed me things that I hadn’t seen in a while. She was fun to get to know . . . I connected with her.
“Durbin builds a magical world, perfect for the imagination of a young child. It’s hard for me to fully express how much awe I was in. The images described were vivid, the world outstanding, and the characters wonderful. . . . It was a nice break away from the worlds of emotional teenage angst.”
The reviews are coming in! Here’s what critics are saying about The Star Shard.
“Durbin has created a world that . . . comes alive with fantastic creatures and a varied cast of supporting characters. Cymbril herself is a strong heroine — loyal, resourceful, and brave. While this story is satisfactorily concluded with surprise revelations and limited loose ends, there is plenty of scope for a follow-up.”
From The Bulletin:
“Evocative imagery, an enthralling world, and a fully realized storyline that does not depend on future installments make this a standout among recent pre-YA fantasies. The charm of old-school fantasy blends with the mechanics of steampunk aboard the Rake, making the massive city feel both menacing in its size and enchanting in its secrets. Cymbril’s longing for freedom is deeply felt, and even as she acknowledges her privileges as one of the more well-kept slaves, her desire to become more than the possession of another person and find a life of her own will resonate with young readers just coming into their independence. Durbin’s quiet, reverent tone does slow some of the more action-driven scenes, but the lush, almost poetic prose is something readers will want to linger over anyway.”
From Asher Knight on NetGalley:
“An engrossing, fascinating tale . . . The Star Shard is a wondrous fantasy read that reminded me why I adore the genre so much and granted me characters I was surprised, but thrilled, to love.
“More, the fantastical world-building is a soft, compelling voice that takes us through and tells of a vivid, magical world, one so thoroughly built, we almost refuse to part with it.”
By way of introduction: I am a writer of fantasy fiction for children and adults, including stories in Cricket Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Black Gate. My first novel, Dragonfly (Arkham House and Ace Fantasy) is a dark fantasy for adults and for precocious children. For more about Dragonfly: http://www.fredericsdurbin.com/?page_id=1384
Creative Writing Instruction
Attention, classroom teachers and librarians in the Pittsburgh area: I am also an exuberant presenter on creative writing. In addition to readings and book events, I love to deliver interactive programs on writing-related skills ranging from basic mechanics to story-building. Some highlights include:
- Creative writing techniques
- Focus on the joy of reading and writing
- 22 years of teaching experience
- Groups of any size
- Length and content custom-tailored to every classroom or program
Each mini-workshop includes a free packet of additional resources for teachers. To schedule a presentation, please contact me at email@example.com.