Illyria

Illyria

by Elizabeth Hand

Hardcover

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Overview

Madeleine and Rogan are first cousins, best friends, twinned souls, each other’s first love. Even within their large, disorderly family—all descendants of a famous actress—their intensity and passion for theater sets them apart. It makes them a little dangerous. When they are cast in their school’s production of Twelfth Night, they are forced to face their separate talents and futures, and their future together. This masterful short novel, winner of the World Fantasy Award, is magic on paper.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780670012121
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 05/13/2010
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile: HL790L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Elizabeth Hand lives in Lincolnville, Maine. Her adult novels have won the Shirley Jackson Award, two World Fantasy Awards, and two Nebula Awards. Viking will publish her next book, Wonderwall, in 2011.

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Illyria 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
redg18 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story managed to fit a lot of events into a tiny novella. I don't understand why this story actually won any awards. I actually read 12th night just before reading this and I still did not see more than a slight parallelism. I have to say that this book was too gritty and left me with a bad after taste. And the whole twin cousin thing was a big turn off for me. The ending was unsatisfactory and the characters seemed inconsistent. I only finished it because it was short.
allthesedarnbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a short, lyrical young adult novel by one of my all time favorite authors, Elizabeth Hand. A beautifully written, neo-gothic story of young and forbidden love, with a tinge of fantasy (which Hand does the best), this book is narrated by teenage Maddy Tierney, the descendant of a famous acting clan. Maddy is in love with her first cousin, Rogan, and if that bothers you, you should skip this one. One day, while spending some time together, the two see a magical toy theater in the attic of and old family mansion. The two of them star in a high school production of the Tempest, as well, but the plot is less the point than the beautiful, aching prose that Hand excels at. Highly recommended, with the aforementioned caveat of the cousin thing. Five stars.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just read another Hand book earlier this month called Generation Loss. I was intrigued to read Hand's take at a young adult novel. This book is nothing like Generation Loss (which was an adult thriller, but the writing style does have many similarities). Like with all of her books Hand weaves a beautiful and dark atmosphere and creates magic that is subtle and mesmorizing.Maddy and Rogan are cousins born on the same day. They see themselves as twins, soulmates, and maybe, eventually, lovers. They struggle against their families' teasing and with how they are teased by those around them. Then one day in a secret room in an attic they find a miniature magical stage. The stage makes them want to create and Maddy and Rogan try out for the school play. Maddy with her determination and Rogan with his magical presence and angelic voice will definitely turn the heads of their audience. But, their passion and beauty make those around them uncomfortable and perhaps this star-crossed couple was never meant to be.I love Hand's writing style. She makes the surroundings come alive, doesn't spell everything out for you, and fills her story with dark atmospheric magic. In many ways this book is similar to her others in that it does those same things. This book is more about magical realism than straight up magic. The story and magic are a bit ambiguous, but more beautiful because they let the reader make what they will out of some of the scenes.All of the characters presented are delightfully complicated. Maddy with her devotion to Rogan, the way she works so hard, yet excels only at being a little better than the norm. Rogan with his wildness and feyness; the way he cares so much but hides behind a veneer of casualness. Even Aunt Kate, who wants Maddy and Rogan to become something exceptional, has many layers of secrets and mysteries to her character. This is a love story of star-crossed couple, but as is always the case with Hand's book, it talks about so much more.The cover is very apt, in that most of the book seems shrouded in a bit of mysterious fog. As I mentioned the story is a bit vauge at points. Given what a slender read this is though, Hand sure packed a lot of story in here. We are subject to Maddy and Rogan's past, the events of their teenage years, the school play, and then finally the results of their lives.It was a beautiful and bittersweet story. I would recommend for an older young adult audience. It touches a lot on sexuality, incest (they are cousins after all), there is some swearing, and there is a lot of casual drug use. Overall I loved this story. It is beautifully and intelligently written. The reader is whisked off to a place with a magical atmosphere with darkly magical characters. I found it to be very engaging and just...well...darkly beautiful.
lilibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rogan and Maddy are first cousins, best friends, and then each other's first love. Their love for theater and talent gets them both starring roles in a school Shakespeare production, but their family pushes them apart.
lawral on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Illyria feels like it's set in some make-believe world where eccentric aunts never age, miniature theatres come to life, every house has a ghost light, and where Maddy's childhood crush on her cousin Rogan can turn into a not-so-secret love affair. But it's not. Maddy and Rogan's story takes place in a cul-de-sac in a town outside New York City populated by the descendants of a once well-known actress. But that doesn't keep any of the above from being true. Hand just makes it all seem surreal.In this not quite a fantasy world, the ick factor of Maddy and Rogan's relationship is missing. There is disapproval from the family and their classmates make fun of them, but their romance is just another (doomed) romance. And it is doomed, right from the beginning, and not just because they're cousins. There is something off about Rogan, something that sets him apart from everyone else, and it's what attracts Maddy to him. It haunts the entire story in the beautiful way that it haunts Maddy. It stays with you.I know I'm not doing this book justice, but that's hard to do with my overwhelming book crush! Seriously, everything about this book is lyrical, magical, gorgeous. Highly recommended.Book source: Philly Free Library
molliekay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A magical romance with a drawback: the main characters are cousins. Despite the occasional "ick" factor, Hand spins a tale about growing up and growing out of everything you know, and growing into adulthood.
delphica on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am not entirely sure what to think of this.For what it's worth, there's going to be a spoiler of sorts at the very end ...Basic gist - a teenage girl is in love with her reckless and brooding cousin, they do dramatic things such as find a hidden room in the attic of his house, complete with vaguely supernatural model theater; have a mysterious, seemingly ageless aunt who takes them on excursions in NYC, and perform in their high school Shakespeare production. Anyway, I loved the writing, and I liked the characters Hand created. I was intrigued by their world of fading family wealth and privilege, and their discovery of the world of theater.At the same time, it was one of those books where, when I ended, I realized that nothing actually happened ... I had been waiting for some big reveal, an explanation, some sort of layered intrigue ... but the entire book was devoted to creating a charming atmosphere and not so much any substance. I am not sure I understand the motivation for setting it in the ... 70s, I think, other than to be able to have the main character reflect back on that time as an adult ... which wasn't that interesting anyway.It does have a genuine smartness to it, and I can see, with the theater, why it would call Tam Lin to mind, but overall, this comes nowhere close to the wonder of Tam Lin.This is the spoiler part -- all the reviews I read talked about the "forbidden love" between the cousins, and I guess proving that I am old, I figured this meant that they are madly IN LURVE, but unable to be together ... as it turns out, they are going at it like weasels pretty much from the get-go.
mcelhra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maddy and Rogan are first cousins; actually their fathers are identical twins so genetically they're half-siblings. They share the same birthday, are each the youngest of six children and grew up together on the same street. They are also passionately and hopelessly in love with each other. They steal time together hidden away in Rogan's attic where they find an enchanted toy theater.Maddy and Rogan's great-grandmother was a famous stage actress. When Maddy and Rogan are both cast in their school's production of Twelfth Night, they realize the extent of their own talents for acting and must decide what that means for their futures, both together and separately.Okay, I'll just be honest here. After reading the other reviews of this book, I'm feeling pretty dumb. It's gotten rave reviews all over the place and won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella. I enjoyed it but I feel like I must have missed something. I wanted more. I wanted to know why the theater was in the attic and why it was enchanted and who put it there. I kept waiting for it to have more of a role in the story and it never did. I think this line from a review on Amazon sums it up nicely: "Though more practical-minded readers may have a hard time grasping the point of this short novel, Hand's writing is beautiful and her imagery vivid." I am too practical (and maybe not smart enough) for this book.
LauraT81 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I adored this novella by Elizabeth Hand about 'kissing cousins', Madeleine and Rogan. Bite size novel, but a whole lot of story with heart. It's is definitely what I would dub as hauntingly beautiful.
capriciousreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Truthfully guys, I don't know where to start with this book, which is often the case with a book I find myself adoring and this time it is almost against my will. For this book is about a controversial subject! Incest! Which in some cultures isn't a bother, but r'ound here? It's something of a taboo! Telling you about the book seems a good place to start, no?Illyria is set in late 1970s New York and tells the story of Madeleine and Rogan Tierney; first cousins, best friends, soul-mates and first loves. Or, in plainer terms, young, innocent Maddy falls for the wild and James-Dean-wannabe Rogan.They are descendants of the original Madeleine Tierney - a famous stage actress - and part of a huge extended family who all live within a defunct housing development. It's just recipe for disaster, all that family (and I mean a lot of family) all living within a 5 mile radius of each other. When the original Madeleine Tierney married and started a family, she quit the stage and never looked back. And neither did any of her descendants, it became something of a no-no, until Maddy and Rogan came along. They do all kinds of secretive things together, in a hidden room in Rogan¿s attic bedroom. Where there is a magical secret that I think is best left for you to discover should you choose to read the book.Obviously, with a set up like this, you have some very conflicted characters and instantly identified with Maddy. I had a cousin who was born on the same day as me (even though we were not 1st cousins) and I had a bit of a crush on him when we were younger. He was something of a wild thing, while I was shy and reserved. I don't know about his talents, we lost touch before we hit our teens, but like Maddy while I worked hard and tried my best, I had little natural talent to make my path easier.In love, as in theatre, I had never had any magic. True, I never flamed out. And I never shone, not even for a moment, the way my cousin had.Rogan got all the natural talent in the Tierney family. Maddy may be an artist, but Rogan is the epitome of a fiery artist. He oozes talent. He has the voice of an angel, the kind of stage presence Maddy would die for and what he does with all that talent? I will it leave for you to discover should you chose to read this book, which I hope you will. The writing is so lovely. Here, an indulgent aunt talks to Maddy of what she can accomplish if she works hard to learn how to be an actress, as opposed to having that "natural talent:""Think of it like this: you¿re building a house, a beautiful house, a little bit at a time out of all these things-your voice, your body, your memory, how you move. If you do it right, if you put all the elements together, something happens. Something comes to live in that space you¿ve made inside you. Then you go onstage and people see it. They see you, but they also see this other-thing-that you¿ve created. That you¿ve built, that you¿re inside of."andIt was my first full-bore exposure to the virus that is theatre, not just watching a show but becoming a part of its chemistry, the intricate helices of desire and ambition and love and unrelenting effort involved in producing even a bad play. And we all knew, almost from the very beginning, that our Twelfth Night was going to be remarkable.and alsoEndless longing; a face you¿d known since childhood, since birth almost; a body that moved as though it were your own. These were things you never spoke of, things you never hoped for; things you could never admit to. Things you¿d die for, and die of.¿Rogan,¿ I whispered.¿What?¿ He turned to me, and his eyes gleamed peacock-blue in the footlights. ¿Maddy? Why are you crying?¿¿Nothing. Rogan.¿ He put his arms around me and I trembled. ¿Just you.¿I have seen a few reviews claiming to be surprised this is a Young Adult title, but I'm not. All the hallmarks of great Young Adult literature are here; teenage angst, first love, coming of age, sex, drugs and even a little rock 'n roll. The writing,
allureofbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Before I say anything else, I just have to say that Elizabeth Hand is an absolutely phenomenal writer. Seriously, the breathtakingly gorgeous writing of this story blew me away. I can't wait to read more of her; I need to hit the library to pick up some of her adult titles.Calling this book young adult is a little iffy to me, just because the characters are teenagers for a majority of the story doesn't mean it has to have a YA label. The themes and emotions the book focuses on are much more adult to me. But at the same time, I'm not one for labels and I read both YA and adult books constantly - I just don't want people to be misled.A lot of people will probably want to avoid this book due to its taboo first-cousins-in-love plot. It makes the book feel so dark and gothic - to me it adds a deeper layer of allure to the plot. It all feels a little other-worldly to me, which is what I think kept the creep factor at bay for me. So, I really enjoyed the story...but I think it really is just something you have to judge for yourself. It is probably beyond a lot of peoples' comfort levels, and that's fine. But if you can get past that enough to pick up the book, I definitely recommend it. The writing is stunning, and I enjoyed pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
quantumbutterfly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Elizabeth Hand, but somehow I never think to check to see when she has new books coming out. A few weeks ago I was reminded to do so by a mention online, and found Illyria at my local library. A short novel about two cousins of the same age and in love with each other. They share everything in their lives, including prominent roles in their school's production of Twelfth Night. In a relatively short amount of space (135 pages) Hand weaves the story of their lives: the family's estates, the aunt who introduces them to theatre, the magical stage hidden in the wall of one house, and their eventual discovery that their lives may not be as intertwined as they hope.As with everything I have read of Hand's, when I got to the end I did not want it to be the end. How can the story already be done? If you finish this way, just consider it encouragement to seek out more of her work.
sarahwriter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just smokes with teenage sex--and intelligence and mystery.
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Madeleine and Rogan are first cousins from a large family whose lives intertwine beyond just the usual ways: they are each other¿s first loves, and they both have a passion for the theatre. As they participate together in their school¿s production of Shakespeare¿s Twelfth Night, changes force them to evaluate their relationship, as well as what the future holds for them, both together and apart.ILLYRIA was far from what I expected. I wanted something slim yet fulfilling, with a magic that is solidly grounded in reality. Instead, I felt no connection to the characters, and felt like the author was trying to go for mood instead of engagement, with the end result that neither was accomplished.Content aside (because there have been other books written about incest), how is ILLYRIA a YA book? It reads like the work of an adult author who chose to write about teenaged characters without any real consideration for the emotions that teenagers may feel. Madeleine and Rogan¿s togetherness lacked actual affection, both in the way Rogan treated Madeleine and the way Madeleine narrated their relationship with an old-woman-at-her-confessional manner. Characters spoke to one another with no real purpose behind their conversations except¿well, in my opinion, except to fill up the pages, to give off a ¿mysterious¿ vibe at their ambiguous feelings and statements. And I hate hate hate when things in stories only appear for the purpose of accomplishing something¿in this case, the author¿s unrealized intention of creating an eerie yet compelling atmosphere throughout the novella.ILLYRIA could have been an interesting, subtly magical, and deeply unsettling story. I think, however, that it was definitely marketed to the wrong audience, and thus I can¿t commend it as a work of YA literature.
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readanovel More than 1 year ago
I adored this novella by Elizabeth Hand about 'kissing cousins', Madeleine and Rogan. Bite size novel, but a whole lot of story with heart. It's is definitely what I would dubb as hauntingly beautiful.
Lawral More than 1 year ago
Illyria feels like it's set in some make-believe world where eccentric aunts never age, miniature theatres come to life, every house has a ghost light, and where Maddy's childhood crush on her cousin Rogan can turn into a not-so-secret love affair. But it's not. Maddy and Rogan's story takes place in a cul-de-sac in a town outside New York City populated by the descendants of a once well-known actress. But that doesn't keep any of the above from being true. Hand just makes it all seem surreal. In this not quite a fantasy world, the ick factor of Maddy and Rogan's relationship is missing. There is disapproval from the family and their classmates make fun of them, but their romance is just another (doomed) romance. And it is doomed, right from the beginning, and not just because they're cousins. There is something off about Rogan, something that sets him apart from everyone else, and it's what attracts Maddy to him. It haunts the entire story in the beautiful way that it haunts Maddy. It stays with you. I know I'm not doing this book justice, but that's hard to do with my overwhelming book crush! Seriously, everything about this book is lyrical, magical, gorgeous. Highly recommended. Book source: Philly Free Library
A_Readers_Record More than 1 year ago
I sometimes think there are books that the more is said the more injustice is done. Illyria is one of those books for me. Illyria brings the term kissing-cousin to a new level though not based purely on love but a shared passion only found within those who are true twinned souls.Both of our main characters, Maddy and Rogan, lead lives that were tragic in their own right and both seemed to understand each other in a way no other was able to or even attempted to. I can't even explain how roped in I was by Illyria. It was a short read but one which made an impact and took me to a time and place that wasn't my own. I fell in love just as Maddy did and I felt torn when Rogan let life sweep him away and one-in-a-lifetime prospects came her way. I even cried when truths about Rogan were revealed, then again at the end when the two came face to face without the scrutinity of those around them and they could have closure to what happened so many years before. Even with a beauty that is unique to it, this story is not for everyone as there are themes that will make some individuals uncomfortable. If you can break through your comfort level you might be surprised with the magic that is found within this book. Passion and pain this deep isn't easily felt through the pages of a book but the words and their impact seeped into my veins and drew me in, completely. Illyria is sinfully beautiful, well written, and flows smoothly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
Fourteen years old Madeleine and Rogan share much in common. Each is the youngest of six siblings; their fathers are identical twins; and symmetry between the two families that seemed almost eerily paranormal. However, the most common shared trait between these two first cousins is their love for one another. Although he has five older brothers and she has five older sisters of which they match ages and the other fourteen first cousins from the three siblings of their fathers, Madeline and Rogan are the only kissing cousins. From their great-grandmother, a renowned actress as were her ancestors and family peers, the pair has inherited her stage talent; none of the current extended family members have a neutrino worth of talent in spite of their DNA. After finally making love for the first time, the duo discovers in the Hudson Valley attic of the family mansion a toy cardboard theater with pieces of lace. Each visit to the attic finds a different scene. The school casts the two cousins in a production of Twelfth Night that parallels the toy theater. Rogan begins to comprehend his love for Madeline parallels his Shakespearean character wise clown Feste as most likely his drama unlike the comedy Twelfth Night will end in a tragedy. This is an intriguing romantic fantasy that focuses on young teenage love with a profound look at the taboo subject of first cousins' incest by using drama in the attic and at the school play to explore deeply the passion and desire of the kissing kin. Rogan and Madeline are fully developed so the audience will feel their love for each other as more than puppy adulation. Yet the audience like Rogan who gained wisdom as Feste anticipates their prim and proper families (except perhaps their late great grandma) will condemn and keep them apart as what they feel for each other is unacceptable in society. Harriet Klausner