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.See more details below


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+)

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Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
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.
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