Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Fairy Godmother - Mercedes Lackey [June/06]

My friend lent me this book ages ago, and I finally read it! It is the first book that I have ever read by Mercedes Lackey, but I can see myself reading more because I enjoyed this book. Another fairy tale retelling, of course, it turned out to be an entertaining and magical novel.

From the back:

In the land of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, it you can't carry out your legendary role, life is no fairy tale...

Elena Klovis was supposed to be her kingdom's Cinderella - until fate left her with a completely inappropriate prince! So she set out to make a new life for herself. But breaking with "The Tradition" was no easy matter - until she got a little help from her own fairy godmother. Who promptly offered Elena a most unexpected job...

Now, instead of sleeping in the chimney, she has to deal with arrogant, stuffed-shirt princes who keep trying to rise above their place in the tale. And there's one in particular who needs to be dealt with...

Sometimes a fairy godmother's work is never done...

The fairy tales that you read as a child normally follow a distinct pattern called "The Damsel in Distress" scenerio. Where the handsome, normally prince, comes riding to the rescue of the beautiful young woman who has found herself in dire situations. Elena was supposed to follow that pattern, she had the evil stepmother and step-sisters, but her story turned out entirely different because they go away to try and find a better lifestyle, leaving Elena back home. So, she takes matters into her own hands and attempts to better her life. In the process she meets her fairy godmother, and receives a lifestyle that was beyond her wildest dreams.

She is transformed from an unpaid servant to a woman of her own household. She could have ended up with nothing, not having a prince to come to her rescue, but in like most fairy tales there is something special about her that makes her special enough to move out of her drab existence into her own happily ever after. This novel has everything: trolls, dragons, witches, wizards, sorceresses, and on and on.

The novel deals with the idea of free will and magic. Elena was set in her life and what she should do with it. Everyone is, as the novel says, dealing with what is set out for them to do. They get set in a certain storyline, as Elena was supposed to be her kingdoms Cinderella, there are other stories that are happening in her kingdom and the rest of the kingdoms. What we know as fairy tales. It demonstrates that things do not always happen as the person wants them to, but as magic decides for them. There are many times in the book where we see Elena play with "The Traditions" and make new life stories. When the same stories are told over and over again it is easy to learn how to switch them.

All in all, this was a very entertaining novel. I of course seem to have a thing lately with fairy tale retellings, and this is one of my favourites so far. Lackey has a new novel that is a retelling called Phoenix and Ashes, I can't wait to get to read that one if it is anything like this one.


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