Lately, I’ve been going through my collection of high fantasy novels, taking a break after all that vampire stuff for a while. My current reading list includes the first four books from the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdom series by Mercedes Lackey. This series is basically a re-imagining of the different fairy tales that we grew up with, like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel. Add in a dash of romance, magic and battles, you get the wonderful series
The Fairy Godmother
The first book of the series gives us an introduction to the Five Hundred Kingdoms and how the Fairy Godmothers steer the Tradition, which is the magical force that determines how things turn out, into the path of least danger and hopefully happiness. This story tells of what happens to a girl who was supposed to be the Cinderella of the kingdom, but due to circumstances that prevent her from fulfilling her role in the Tradition, ends up being a Godmother.
Being the first book that started me on the series, I have to say, this is my favourite out of the lot that I have. Strong female characters who are on equal footing with their partners, are always a good read.
One Good Knight
This is like Clash of the Titans. Ya know, princess being offered to the creature as sacrifice to protect the kingdom? What if there’s more to it than just simply to keep the kingdom safe? This book introduces dragons, a very special knight and a very smart princess.
Once again, you have strong, smart female characters. See a trend here?
Katya, seventh daughter of the Sea King, is the eyes and ears of her father on dryland. When she meets Sasha, the seventh son, Fortunate Fool and Songweaver of the King of Led Belarus, sparks fly and they fall in love. As always, something happens and they get separated, leaving Katya to figure a way out the danger she’s in and Sasha, finding a way to get to her, with help from unexpected places.
I’ve never heard of the folklore of the seventh child until I read this story. I don’t know much about it other than the fact that the seventh child is granted with special powers or gifts.
Totally not relating to this story, the only seventh child I know of is Seventh Son of the Seventh Son by Iron Maiden.
The Snow Queen
The Snow Queen, Godmother Aleksia, is falsely accused of stealing men and killing whole villagers. When she discovers that an imposter had claimed Aleksia’s title as her own and is the one causing all the disappearances and deaths, Aleksia goes out to fix the problem herself.
I don’t know much of the story of the Snow Queen other than she takes little boys who are naughty. That’s about it. To me, this is the weakest of the four books. The ending was abrupt and hurried.
As I was looking for pictures of the book covers, I discovered that there’s a fifth book in this series, The Sleeping Beauty, which I’ve yet to read. I think a trip to the book store is in order the next time I’m in town.