By Patricia McKillip.
So, I said I would try to chase this down, and I did.
This book is a mystery, or at least leaves you with a few, similar to Ombria in Shadow. Unfortunately, I didn't find it to be magical in the same way as the others I've read by her; it's more like it has the same literary tricks and dreamlike quality, but it wasn't woven together as well. Or maybe the grass is just greener on the other side of the fence and I look back more fondly on the books I remember than on the one that I've just read.
This book has many of the same elements, the same style as McKillip's other works, but either they're tired out or I am. The wizard's gardener is the wizard, of course, a minor mystery that's resolved a paragraph after it appears, but it's been in so many other books it was immediately obvious to me. I don't think it has always been.
How did Gyre lose his heart? This book involves several characters who seem to have lost their hearts, and somehow I have trouble feeling sympathy for any of them. I wonder if all the ones who didn't run into the witch during the book ran into her earlier on. The sorceror in Ombria appears to have no heart, but gradually discovers hers; contrariwise, these give theirs up in the course of time. The interactions between the prince and the princess lack the poignancy of other such pairings in other books.
The book seems to have little humor. I can understand why a library might not have added it to the collection alongside her other books, but caution prompts me to wonder whether I might not be much more favorable if this was my second time reading this one, despite that I believe I enjoyed most of the others the first time I read them. Who knows?