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Mercedes Lackey

Book 2 of the Elemental Masters series
2002, March, hardcover

Who recommends: Isabel, Linda
Who discommends: Lori

I also borrowed the latest Mercedes Lackey from the library. Nice read but the quality of this series seems to be going down or maybe it's just the quality of the romance that's going down. This one is based on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale and set in the same pseudo Victorian world of magic as THE SERPENT'S SHADOW. It starts off with the Christening and who should show up but the estranged aunt of our baby heroine (whose name I cannot remember!). This aunt does not have any magic of her own and yet she manages to curse our heroine which results in her being whisked off and hidden by her parents' artistic friends. It pretty much follows along the Sleeping Beauty story line with a couple of twists here and there. I would recommend it despite Sleeping Beauty not being one of my favourite stories but maybe not at hardcover prices.--Isabel (26 Apr 02)

This idea is taken off of Sleeping Beauty but is also totally different. This is also in the world of THE SERPENT'S SHADOW with all the types of magicians. I recommend it. I enjoyed it a lot and the only complaint would be that the love story didn't progress long enough before the action ending. But I truly enjoyed the story of Marina and her life in hiding as her relatives and friends try to save her from the curse that was put on her at birth. Also liked the hero a lot, though I wish he had been introduced earlier in the book.--Linda (8 May 02)

I'm reading this now. Ver-r-y slowly. It has a number of problems. If I do end up recommending it, it's going to be an extremely mild one. But I'm leaning in the other direction.--Lori (03 Jun 02)

I finished it. Discommend. :(

The hardest part was the dedication. She dedicated the book to all the Port Authority employees who died on September 11. And listed them by name.

I got through the book, didn't hate it, but wouldn't want to read others in this "series" after reading this one.

Sort of spoilerish thoughts ahead.

There were a few things that didn't make a lot of sense to me. It's Sleeping Beauty, and the heroine is under threat from the very beginning of the book. I didn't think it made much sense that they didn't warn the heroine, just in case, so I had trouble suspending some of my disbelief. She could have been prepared. Also, her training started pretty late, considering the threat.

And her guardians should have tried to contact her, rather than stayed at home, when she was abruptly taken from them. (Lady Elizabeth probably could have called on her.) They knew how desperate the threat was.

But the real problem was the writing. The book was very slow in places, and there was detailed description about things that just didn't need to be there. Some of it seemed to be filling space, while some of it seemed to me that it might have been some notes Lackey took that she later dropped into the story. And some of it was too close to the end. I thought that either the set-up information should be at the beginning, or not at all. It started to feel as if Lackey was making some of it up as she went along, rather than planning it all in advance.

Also, it ended on a sloppily sentimental note, like the worst of what some people complain about romance. I thought maybe Lackey was aiming at some (mis)perception of the romance market. There was a bit too much about clothes, some unnecessarily detailed descriptions. I need to know something about the clothes people wear, but I don't need excessive detail, nor do I need to see it repeated once it has been established.

The romance wasn't well developed at all. The hero was introduced (we got scenes from his point of view, so we had a chance to get to know him), but the hero and heroine didn't spend all that much time together, and the heroine just ups and decides she's in love with him. Sure, they seemed interested, but that was it.--Lori (8 Jun 02)

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