Newest Review: ... series in this 'universe' alludes to from time to time. Diana is romance writer, who also happens to be a Guardian. Being a Guar... more
Mercedes Lacking? Maybe...
Mercedes Lackey in general
Member Name: angiepanj
Mercedes Lackey in general
Date: 05/02/04, updated on 05/02/04 (45 review reads)
Advantages: Entertaining, Fun
Disadvantages: lots of them- takes a long time to get through, how much time do you want ot waste?
I rediscovered my library card as a direct result of a shortage of funds after Christmas, which meant that I could no longer afford to buy my fiction but had to start reading books which - shock! horror! - had already been perused by someone else. I was wandering through the shelves of my local library one day, and as usual, ending up stuck in the sci-fi section, spotted a particularly prolific author. After a brief struggle with myself, where one part of me thought that anyone with a name like that couldn't possibly write anything I'd want to read, whilst the other part of me hit that first part over the head with a bottle and shouted 'its a library- you ain't paying anything, give it a go!' (in a purely metaphysical fashion, or else they would have chucked me out of the library for being a bit mad and noisy), I cracked and decided to try a few of her books.
Three series of books later, I'm still reading my way through them quite happily. They've kept me going for quite a while- she's written loads!
The books I'm going to write an opinion of today comprise of her 'real world' fantasy stories, rather than the more magic kingdom styley ones, basically because I haven't got around to starting the other ones yet. The series are based in the 'Elves on the Road universe' which is basically the world in which we live, but with a few changes, the biggest one being that magic exists and there are still a few elves running around out there.
This is the series I would recommend any new reader of Mercedes Lackey to begin with, as it breaks you in gently to the overall feel of her writings, and also provides you with some bits and pieces of information that the other series in this 'universe' alludes to from time to time. Diana is romance writer, who also happens to be a Guardian. Being a Guardian means that she has to use her magic powers, to assist people i
n trouble, but only if they ask her for help. The series consists of three books, Burning Water, Children of the Night and Jinx High.
Personally, I find Diana very reassuring- she is five foot tall with dark hair and wears trainers a lot. Definately not one of those pointless screaming women who need to be rescued all the time. Its enough to renew your faith in femininity, kind of.
The novels are written in a similar style to a who-dunnit crime novel. The characterisation can feel a little shallow at times, but the books are very well written, and the author is definately not lacking in imagination. Each book introduces new supernatural baddies for her to conquer, and the stories are written with humour and plenty of real world mundanity to make the overall concept more convincing. Burning Water and Children of the Night are the best two, Jinx High does have a slightly adolescent feel to it. As with most of Mercedes Lackey's fiction, there is a very stark divide between the goodies and the baddies. The downfall of the books generally is that since the books are quite happy, you know that the main character will survive things, because otherwise she wouldn't have the book written about her. A minor downfall in an otherwise very enjoyable series though. The series was not further continued due to poor book sales and also general outcry at making the heroine in a story a practising Wiccan. Bit of a shame I think.
Bedlam Bard Series.
This series centres around the life of, you guessed it, a Bard. It also introduces the story of the Elves to the reader. The books are written in a very similar style to the Diana Tregarde books, but with this series, the lives of the main characters get a bit more attention, whereas Diana seemed to have a fairly solitary existence, the leading man in these books- Eric Banyon, has a full and exciting social life. He's once again, a very down to earth character, the magic is portrayed as a tool
which can be used to surmount problems and generally make life easier. The books do introduce a walking, talking gargoyle, who acts as a kind of a 'watchdog' for the building in which the lead characters have made their home. This is a longer series than the Tregarde one, presumably no one minded a bit of Druidism and made it worth her while!
Knight of Ghosts and Shadows
Spirits White as Lightening
Beyond World's End
Summoned to Tourney
Music to My Sorrow
Sadly, I can't give you a full opinion of the series, as the library didn't have the two final volumes. They were still a very enjoyable read, as far as I got, although I have to say that it is fairly easy to predict what happens in the life of Eric in the final two volumes. The series doesn't have quite the same divide between good and bad as the Tregarde series, the author leaves room for a bit of grey shading which was rather refreshing after reading so much Diana in one go!
The Serrated Edge
This series centres around another ordinary average guy- a bit like Eric, except that he's a mage instead of a Bard. The lead characters in this and the previous series of books do tend to be very similar in lots of ways, although they look reassuringly different, and lead very different lives. The lead in this book, Tannim (meaning- son of a dragon), has a real world job as a race car driver/mechanic. His Mach 1 Mustang is described in great detail, and becomes as much as a presence in the books os the mage himself. Accompanied by a dragon, a fox- spirit and numerous Seleigh (good) elves, the group are the good defenders against the evil Unseleigh elves. The series harks back to folklore of the fey folk in a very tidy way, and as with the rest of the books, they are a very enjoyable read. Once again in this series, shades of grey are apparent and at times some of the characters appear nicely neutral between the
two sides. Everyone has to choose which side to support in the end though, which is a bit of a shame.
Born to Run
Wheels of Fire
When the Bough Breaks
All these novels have lots of happy endings, some characters do get killed off occasionally though. I would highly recommend these books, not as an intellectual outing of any kind, but as good alternative 'pot boiling' fiction, for when you get sick of reading too much reality fiction, as one thing these books all have in common, is that they are an easy read- easy to get into, easy to get hooked on, but in no way do they provide much in the way of intellectual stimulation! If its escapism you're looking for, these books are great with lots of nice shiny things to enjoy, in much the same way as I would recommend a good girly shopping film, or one with no storyline but lots of really cool fight sequences!
*price is amazon price, based on average price for each volume rather than exact price