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The Foretelling

The Foretelling

4.4 48
by Alice Hoffman

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A coming-of-age story that pierces the soul and heals the spirit, this is the tale of the future leader of the Amazon women warriors. Rain must hold fast to her inner warrior, but she is startled and mystified by the first stirrings of mercy towards the enemy.


A coming-of-age story that pierces the soul and heals the spirit, this is the tale of the future leader of the Amazon women warriors. Rain must hold fast to her inner warrior, but she is startled and mystified by the first stirrings of mercy towards the enemy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Hoffman's prose expresses the beliefs and rituals of a lost civilization and offers a sympathetic portrait of a young leader who chooses kindness over cruelty," according to PW. Ages 15-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
There comes a time when traditions must change. In Hoffman's newest novel for young adults, Rain is a young girl who is disturbed by her tribe's coda of violence toward men. She is chosen to succeed her mother, Queen Alina. But, her mother treats Rain as an outcast because she was born out of rape. As Rain becomes more involved in battles, she finds her conquests revolting instead of pleasing. She develops an alliance with Io, daughter of her mother's companion. Rain also finds comfort in the arms of a young boy. Her actions go against the rigid, Amazon- like regime of her people. But, none of those forbidden relationships can suffice for the yearning of affection from her mother. When her mother dies during childbirth, Rain is faced with a hard decision to make. Should she risk her life to save her baby brother or maintain her tribe's laws? Hoffman's writing style makes this an adventurous tale that will definitely engage adolescents. 2005, Little Brown, 176 pp., Ages young adult.
—Anjeanette Alexander-Smith
Amazon warriors riding horses, terrifying the men they fight: this is the world Hoffman describes with poetic force in The Foretelling. The narrator is Rain, daughter of the queen, but never spoken to by her mother because she is the product of a horrific rape. Rain is an adolescent, skilled, passionate—she wonders if she will be queen some day. Then her mother chooses to lie with a man to become impregnated with another child and awaits the birth of this daughter who would usurp Rain's inheritance. The child is a baby boy, unwanted in this all-female world, and Rain becomes a different person as she seeks to save this child's life. Hoffman, in a brief story that holds the power of myth, examines what a society dominated by strong women would be like. The close relationships between women and the horses that take them into battle will appeal to all those horse lovers among YA readers. The larger theme is that Rain struggles to find a way to live without the constant warfare, without the hatred of men. For all those who never can get enough of Greek mythology, and for those who want to read about women who are as powerful as any man. The compelling cover will help attract readers. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Little, Brown, 167p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-This atmospheric coming-of-age fantasy tells the story of a teenager who is destined to become queen of the Amazons. The product of a rape and shunned by her distant mother, Rain struggles to find her identity and prove herself. Her first-person narration is accessible while evoking a sense of otherworldliness. She talks of animals and people as "sisters." The story unfolds at a measured pace with little dialogue, but the language makes it compulsively readable. Readers will be drawn in by Rain's attempts to win her mother's approval even as the teen begins to question the Amazonian way of life and see a new future for her people. Like the best of myths, this story finds truths in details and emotional insights. Not for everyone, but a treat for fans of Tamora Pierce and Hoffman's other novels.-Adrienne Furness, Webster Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A young warrior questions her destiny and ultimately changes her future and the future of her tribe in this spare, compelling coming-of-age story. "Born out of sorrow," Rain is the only daughter of Alina, queen of the Amazonia, a race of warrior women living in a "time of blood." Ignored by Alina, Rain is determined to prove herself worthy of her royal heritage. Groomed to be an Amazon warrior unlike any other, Rain trains to ride, shoot and kill, but feels unaccepted and alone and wonders if she is meant to be queen. Rain's doubts are reinforced as Alina announces she is pregnant with a child who will rule instead of Rain. When Alina dies in childbirth, Rain learns to make something out of her sorrow and opts for a future apart from blood and battle. Artfully structured to track Rain's spiritual quest from youthful warrior to queen, the story effectively incorporates elements of a primal, nature-based culture. Should appeal to teens with their own mythic quests. (Fiction. 12+)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.62(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Foretelling

By Alice Hoffman

Little Brown For Young Readers

ISBN: 0-316-01018-9

Chapter One

In the time of

I was born out of sorrow, so my mother named me Rain.

Ours was a time of blood, when the sky reached on forever, when one horse became a hundred and then a thousand, when we wore our hair in long black braids and rode as warriors. Everything we had was given to us by the goddes, and everything we lost was taken away by her.

We lived in the time of fortune, in a world of only women. We were warriors from the very beginning, before we were born. There was no battle we could not win. We were strong, the strength of a thousand sisters. And we had something no one else had. Something that caused terror in our enimies when we came across the steppes. Something no one in the man's world had yet managed to do.

We rode horses.

It was said my great-grandmother the Queen had found a white mare in the snow and that she lay down beside this wild creature to warm herself and keep herself alive. My great-grandmother whispered certain words in the mare's ear that no man would think of saying. Ours was a country of snow for half the year, of ice and wind and the steppes that led to the Black Sea. By the time the ice had melted, my great-grandmother had made the first bridle out of a leather belt and the snow mare let herself be ridden. A horse and a Queen had become sisters; when they raced across the steppes they were two hearts pounding with a single thought inmind.

Horses were everything to us. Our goddes, our sisters, our sustenance. Alive, they were our way to win battles; four legs against men's two. Even when our horses' lives were gone they were our tents, our clothes, our boots, our food, our traveling companions to the next world. Our children were raised on mare's milk. It made us wild and quick and unafraid. It gave us the ability to speak the language of horses.

A language men had yet to learn.


Excerpted from The Foretelling by Alice Hoffman Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Alice Hoffman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 15 acclaimed novels beloved by teens and adults, from Green Angel, Indigo, and Aquamarine to The Ice Queen, Here on Earth (an Oprah Book Club selection), and Practical Magic, which was made into a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock. The Foretelling is Hoffman's fourth young adult novel.

Brief Biography

Boston, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
March 16, 1952
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
B.A., Adelphi University, 1973; M.A., Stanford University, 1974

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The Foretelling 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Vesper More than 1 year ago
With the intriguing premise of being set among an Amazon tribe, I couldn't say no when a co-worker suggested this book. Hoffman writes a gripping story about bravery, survival, coming of age, finding one's identity, inner strength and a touch of love and understanding. The author obviously put in some anthropological research to provide a great feel and believable atmosphere for the story. With a relatable protagonist and themes this was a wonderful read! A definite gem among young adult lit section.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the most bizarre (and best)books ive ever read. It certainly does leave an impact on you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A short but meaning-packed novel. Well-writen story. Worth the read for young women and adults alike. Very touching and gives you a lot to think about. A quick read.
www.LindaBallouAuthor.com More than 1 year ago
Women who war against men, slice off a breast so they may become better archers, carry on the population with drug induced orgies that often end in the death of their mates, is hard to accept. But, when one considers the fact that women are routinely raped, beaten and mutilated in third world countries and even here in the U.S. it does seem fitting that women should take on the face of the warrior. The heroine Rain, a child of rape, is born into sorrow. In this richly imagined coming of age story she achieves self-actualization, female empowerment and acceptance of self-life lessons we all must learn, male or female. www.LindaBallouAuthor.com Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler's Tales
Trebble More than 1 year ago
The first words: "I was born out of sorrow, so my mother named me Rain." This sets the book up for a short and lyrical coming of age story through the eyes of Rain as one of the legendary Amazon sisters. Rain's birth was anything but joyous because it was born out of gang rape, so her mother shunned her. As she grows she learns everything she can about life of the Amazons. For knowledge is power and she much know how the whole society runs. She excels in horse training and riding and becomes as her grandmother, a true sister of the horse. Because she is a queen-to-be and also because her mother shuns her, she is set apart and often travels alone. These adventures with the advice from one of their most wise and psychic priestesses, Deborah, help her to see that what is beyond their borders is not all evil. Not all to be shunned. This becomes the beginning of her quest to becoming her true self, including her questions about if she wants to even be queen. I think this book is a quick and interesting fictional look into a culture that did exist many moons ago (hey, got to get into character here). However, it really is a look at one girl's life as she questions and learns and grows into her own wisdom and seeks the courage to become what she should become. There are references of rape, and sex, but it is not done in a graphic way and dealt with in a way that would make sense at that time. I give this book 3 1/2 stars. Loved this quote from the book: "The weak are cruel: the strong have no need to be."
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
In this intense yet complicated fantasy story, Rain attempts to gain her mother's notice and acceptance by being the best of warriors in their Amazonian tribe. The product of a rape when her mother, Alina, wasn't much more than a child herself, it is hard to gain the Queen's approval. Although Rain knows that she's been raised by Deborah, the wise priestess, to one day be Queen herself, she also pays attention to Deborah's promises of a much grander destiny.

Rain doesn't totally understand the Queen's desire to so thoroughly destroy her enemies, even though her own cousins, Astella and Asteria, are two of the fiercest warriors in the tribe. When Alina takes Penthe as her companion, and Penthe's daughter Io seeks to be Rain's sister, matters become even more complicated. Rain wants nothing more than to ride her horse, Sky, to garner her mother's approval, to earn the place as rightful Queen that will someday come upon her.

On her first journey alone, Rain comes upon a bear cub, which she takes back to camp. She names him Usha, and together with Io the two girls raise the cub as if he were a horse. Although Rain and Io soon discover the mistake of doing so, it's too late--Usha is killed in battle, and Rain still doesn't have the love and acceptance of her mother.

THE FORETELLING is a coming-of-age story set in a fantastical land of the Amazons. Rain is a compelling character who, although she tries so hard to be vicious and fierce like her fellow tribe-members, always leans more towards peace for all men and compassion towards her enemies.

Not to be missed by lovers of fantasy stories!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Fortelling, is Alice Hoffman at her best. Short, sweet, and to the point. You feel like you are part of the book. Even though it is set in ancient times, as a teenager I can relate to Rains' emotions. I most definatly suggest reading this, and other Alice Hoffman titles!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is it just me, or does it remind you a lottle bit of the Giver? Especially when she rided on her horse with Anto. This is one of the best books I have ever read in my life!
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Brave_Horse66 More than 1 year ago
This novel is set in a time where a nation of women are feared warriors who never lose a battle to invaders because of one unique advantage: they have domesticated wild horses to ride into battle. Rain is born by the Queen, a woman who has no desire to interact or associate with her daughter at all. These women never question their lifestyle; it's what it always has been and they have no need for mercy, compassion, or protection from men. But Rain is different: as she grows up, she is plagued by dreams of a black horse. In their culture this is a foretelling of death, and when the "black horse" comes to them, Rain makes a choice that will forver change how she views her world. The story is an intriguing tale told from a unique first person perspective of Rain, who is an independent, strong-willed young woman who struggles to find her place as the Queen-to-be. A definite must-read for horse lovers and young adults alike.
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