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1. Intrigues: Book Two of the Collegium
2. Foundation: Book One of the Collegium
3. Changing the World: All-New Tales
4. Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit (A
5. The Sleeping Beauty (Tale of the
6. Trio of Sorcery
7. Winds of Fate (The Mage Winds,
8. Firebird (Fairy Tales, Book 1)
9. Harvest Moon: A Tangled Web\Cast
10. Storm Warning (The Mage Storms,
11. Exile's Valor (Valdemar)
12. The Phoenix Endangered: Book Two
13. The Serpent's Shadow (Elemental
14. Legacies (Shadow Grail, No. 1)
15. Reserved for the Cat (Elemental
16. The Snow Queen (Tales of the Five
17. Invasion: Book One of the Secret
18. The Outstretched Shadow (The Obsidian
19. Finding the Way and Other Tales
20. The Phoenix Transformed (The Enduring

1. Intrigues: Book Two of the Collegium Chronicles (A Valdemar Novel)
by Mercedes Lackey
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2010-10-05)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$9.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756406390
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
"Spellbinding storyteller" (Rave Reviews) Mercedes Lackey continues her epic Valdemar series.

Magpie is a thirteen-year-old orphan chosen by one of the magical Companion horses of Valdemar and taken to the capital city, Haven, to be trained as a Herald. Like all Heralds, Magpie learns that he has a hidden Gift-the Gift of telepathy.

But life at the court is not without obstacles. When Mags is "recognized" by foreign secret operatives whose purpose is unknown, Mags himself comes under suspicion. Who are Magpie's parents-who is he, really? Can Mags solve the riddle of his parentage and his connection with the mysterious spies-and prove his loyalty-before the king and court banish him as a traitor? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

2-0 out of 5 stars Depressing Disappointment
This sequel to Foundation felt like a lecture on friendship failures without the resolution that justifies the dark episodes.
It felt like Ms Lackey had recently read some Harry Potter and couldn't quite get it out of her head.The horseback version of Quiddich was a filler without the excitment of the broomback competition.
Too much similarity to prior Valdemar plots.Character rejected for no reason, living on the streets of Haven with miraculous ease (though he had no prior experience having lived in a mine, then the collegium).
Betrayal of friends on baseless suspicion, though they had been built up as 'soulmates' of sorts up until this point.
Recycled plotlines, broken and pointless lengthly soul searches, the feeling that the writing was done in 2-3 different times, with the loss of continuity that would result.
Sometimes a trilogy gets rescued in the conclusion, but it will take alot in this case.

Conclusion - save your money and get a used paperback.People aren't going to be saving this one to read again.

3-0 out of 5 stars Sadly disappointed
I have been reading Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books since 1989, and I was sadly disappointed by this one.The plot is about a tragically misunderstood Herald trainee who feels like all his friends are turning on him one by one.Accidents befall him; occasionally he emerges almost heroically despite forgetting all weapons and mindspeech training.Herald trainee Mags has the basic willingness of a Herald to protect and defend others, but he lacks a certain depth of character, perseverance, conviction, and spunkiness that have endeared past Valdemar characters to me.His only strengths are riding, mindspeech, and acting as a spy. The ending left me unsatisfied, despite rereading the last couple chapters to see if I missed relevant details.I was puzzled by a number of references to characters and plots that originated in the first book which were unexplained in Intrigues; but not sure I want to dig Foundation out of storage.The speech dialogue of the main character was written in a slurred pigeon English that was painful to read.I really would have liked to see the main character grow and develop more depth; the events of Foundation and Intrigues occur during a 9 month period in a 12 or 13 year old's life.There was hardly any gap between the books for Mags to grow.I will probably buy Book Three anyway, but I really hope Mags learns to talk proper English (or Valdemaran!)

1-0 out of 5 stars Do not read if you are dealing with depression
This book needs a warning: Do not read it if you are dealing with depression or at risk of being triggered for suicidal impulses.

Mags spends most of the book being systematically tortured by the hostility and suspicion of the minds around him (he being a Mindspeaker you will recall).Meanwhile, Bear and Lena deal with family being abusive idiots.At the crisis point, both Bear and Lena break and verbally attack Mags, viciously and inexcusably given the fact that he has done nothing the whole book but try to help them.Understandably, he runs from this attack, now sunk deep in depression and explicitly suicidal, brought by Bear to believe he is insane and expecting Dallan to repudiate him any day.And when Rolan finally contacts him, does he offer Mags protection against the mental assault he's dealt with the whole book or even a little human sympathy?No!He lectures Mags very briefly about how he was, essentially, a coward for running away, and Mags spends the end of the book being "tested" to see if he's still trustworthy!On top of that, neither Bear nor Lena apologize for their unprovoked attacks on him, despite their having been instrumental in driving Mags to suicidal despair.It's covered over in two pages, all is magically better, Mags actually apologizes for the things he said to them when they finally pushed him to snapping.I find this especially unforgivable in Bear's case, given that he supposedly fears he might have had something to do with a patient dying on him.So the Healer is going to go and scream filth at someone he knows is unstable?And there are no consequences to this?What?

There is no closure.There is no recovery.There is nothing to help the reader get back out if they fell down the extremely graphically described pit with Mags.When other of Lackey's characters have fallen this far, we have, at least, been able to follow their journey back up with them.Not this time.So don't go in expecting her usual treatment of this issue, because she has signally failed of it with this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Exile's + Take a Thief = Intrigues
I've seen a lot of reviews comparing this to Harry Potter. While I see those comparisons, I think this book is closer to Exile's Honor and Valor (with the "don't trust the foreigner" and the invented game) and Take a Thief (with living on the streets and Mags thinking he doesn't fit it). This does not meet Intrigues is a bad book, but it does make me wonder how much though Lackey put into it.

I gave this book a 4, but it is really a 3.5. It isn't a bad book (though it is more juvenile than her previous Velgarth books), but it isn't as good as what she has written before. In her other Velgarth books, I've been amazed with the way she creates characters. You really feel and care about the characters in her books. In this one, that doesn't happen. There is a connection to Mags, but Bear, Lara, and Amily are just names.

Finally, the ending is kind of strange. While I could follow what was happening, it did not seem like certain things were resolved. (I know there will be a third book, which may resolve this issue.)

2-0 out of 5 stars Just not enough story
Former mine slave and now trainee-herald, Mags, worries about being accepted by the other herald trainees, tries to keep up his friendship with Bear and Lena, spends a lot of time riding his 'companion' (mind-talking white horse) and gets drafted to be a player in a new game designed to prepare the herald-candidates for a war they all believe is coming although nobody knows where the attack will come from.

Mags hasn't really gotten over the last set of adventures he went through (see FOUNDATION). Although he foiled the plans of the foreign spy/assassins, the foreigners themselves escaped capture and are still at large. When Mags discovers one of the spies still in the city, and when foreseers begin seeing visions of a foreign threat, Mags (who happens to be the child of foreign parents) becomes both a suspect and the primary searcher for the enemy.

Author Mercedes Lackey has written some wonderful stories of Valdemar...I think this series contains her best work, combining emotional depth with plenty of action and a hint of romance. There was some of this in INTRIGUES but, frankly, not enough. Watching Mags learn to play Kirball (think Quidditch on horseback instead of brooms) was boring. His sudden decision to abandon Herald school and become a kitchen drudge didn't seem motivated, and the coincidence that, with all of the nation's police, military and magical heralds on the lookout, only Mags could ever find the enemy (and he did so several times) all seemed a stretch.

Mercedes Lackey is a talented author with a way of making us care about characters, involved in the plot and invested in the outcome. INTRIGUES showed flashes of this talent, but overall, there just wasn't enough story here to fill the 328 pages (hardback version). This sub-series started out badly with Foundation. I think I'll wait for her to launch another series and give up on Mags. ... Read more

2. Foundation: Book One of the Collegium Chronicles: A Valdemar Novel
by Mercedes Lackey
Paperback: 432 Pages (2009-10-06)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756405769
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In this chronicle of the early history of Valdemar, a thirteen-year­old orphan named Magpie escapes a life of slavery in the gem mines when he is chosen by one of the magical companion horses of Valdemar to be trained as a herald. Thrust into the center of a legend in the making, Magpie discovers talents he never knew he had-and witnesses the founding of the great Heralds' Collegium.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (89)

1-0 out of 5 stars Boring, tedious, just awful.
I've been a long time fan of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar novels since I was twelve years old.

This one is the worst I've ever read.

None of the plot elements are ever fully explained, it's like the book just stops halfway through the story. The story itself is extremely boring until probably the last 1/4 of the book, where it picks up a bit. The entire first part of the book plods along, meandering back and forth between Mag's inner musings and the hum-drum of everyday life. Mags and his Companion, Dallen, never seem to really mesh well together, there's no chemistry there at all. The supporting characters seem trite and two-dimensional, just caricatures, really. The author frequently repeats herself, using three times the amount of words she actually needs to beat us over the head with whatever point she's trying to make. It's like she was just trying to reach a certain word count, or perhaps that she just sat down, slammed it out, and no one bothered to read or edit it before sending it to the printers.

I don't know if she's just burnt out on writing about Valdemar or what, but this book felt sloppy, thrown together and a total waste of my time as a reader. I wouldn't even recommend to long-time fans of Valdemar.

1-0 out of 5 stars Phoning it in
Mercedes Lackey's been my go-to author for decent entertaining fluff for a long time now.She's not exactly a deep author, but if you want a decent yarn about a kid too special for his environment, who goes to a special place to reach his full potential and have adventures on the way, well, she's usually pretty fun about it.

But this is just appalling.It's all her normal tropes, sewn together by the most serviceable and convenient writing, with the most minimal effort she can possibly get away with.The last time I felt this author had phoned it in this blatantly was Piers Anthony's later Xanth novels.The protagonist's so badly maltreated in his childhood that the Companion has to literally do some kind of mindmeld where he magically brings him up to a reasonable stage for a kid that age, but once that happens he's just magically fine and ready to make friends and influence people.I found this to be tremendously lazy writing, which appropriately set the stage for the rest of the book, wherein nothing much happened at great length as he settled into the Collegium.

Frankly, I'm insulted that she put this crap out for the people who've read her for years to buy.I don't demand quality, but a little more than the bare minimum of effort would be nice.

4-0 out of 5 stars Kind of Like Comfort Food for the Brain
Foundation chronicles the first year of training for Herald Trainee Mags, an orphan who was discovered working as an indentured servant in a gem mine. Mags makes for an entirely different sort of naif than Talia did, being no longer innocent, in spite of his lack of experience in the greater world. Watching people do the right things for the right reasons constitutes an awakening for him, and not an entirely comfortable one. Mags's coming of age takes place in a general atmosphere of change, as there are an unprecedented number of Trainees, too many for the available Heralds to take on as apprentices, and a Collegium is being built to accommodate the burgeoning group. Not all Heralds are in favor of the new training method, as Mags comes to find out. He quite unexpectedly finds his place among them after using skills he learned in the mine.

I enjoyed jumping back into this world. Valdemar is as enchanting as it ever was, and Mags is easy to root for. The supporting cast is also fun. Dallen the Companion is a treat, but I especially liked Herald Jakyr. His flaws made him interesting. Mags's buddies Lena the Bardic Trainee and Bear the Healer Trainee round out a trio that reminded me of another fantasy trio, and I have a hard time believing that was an accident. Still, Collegium is not really like Hogwarts, with its carefully negotiated sense of danger just held off, such an effective mirror of ordinary life. Far from reassurances of safety that is not really guaranteed, the instructors at Collegium are constantly reminding the Trainees that they are being trained for dangerous jobs. Depth is not the attraction of this particular book, however, so Collegium need not be a mirror for anything. Foundation has the cozy sense of everything in its place - even when the mysterious assassin turns up - that makes most of the Valdemar novels such good comfort reading.

It is curious that the timeline states the year as 850 AF, yet Stefan, Jisa and Treven are apparently all long dead, people barely remember vrondi and nobody seems to know what a mage is. I'm just going to pretend that was a typo and the year is really 950 AF. The plot makes better sense in the context of 950 AF.

Bottom line, if you like the Valdemar novels and aren't holding out for another entry of the caliber of The Last Herald Mage trilogy, this is well worth picking up. I'm probably going to continue the Collegium Chronicles myself, though I waited for Foundation to go into paperback and I'll probably do the same for Intrigues.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
Ok, if your super picky and have to tear every thing you read apart step by step and are not capable of just enjoying a good story then maybe you shouldn't bother reading this book, but if you love Misty and enjoy a good read, then, by all means, read this book.I loved it!!!! I love everything Misty has written.

3-0 out of 5 stars meh
I think I own every Lackey book, and have read the covers off several of them.This one's cover will remain quite shiny. ... Read more

3. Changing the World: All-New Tales of Valdemar
by Mercedes Lackey
Paperback: 352 Pages (2009-12-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756405807
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In March 1987, a young author from Oklahoma published her first novel, Arrows of the Queen. This modest book about a magical land called Vademar was the beginning of a fantasy masterpiece that would span decades and include more than two dozen titles. Now sixteen of today's hottest fantasy authors-including Tanya Huff, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Fiona Patton, and Judith Tarr-visit the world of Valdemar, adding their own special touches.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Love the new take on the old series!
The short stories were tight, and showed new aspects of the original "world" of Valdemar.I had a great time!

5-0 out of 5 stars Changing the World:all-new tales of Valdemar
Delightful and well received by a huge fan of Mercedes Lackey and her Valdemar/Hearld series.Guest authors of the short stories kept to the basics of Lackey's original series.All were good glimpses into Valdemar.

5-0 out of 5 stars Continuing the Storylines
Changing the World (2009) is the fifth Fantasy anthology in the Valdemar series, following Moving Targets.It contains sixteen original short stories about Valdemar and related themes.Each story has a short description of the author(s).

- "One Left Behind" by Mercedes Lackey is about a woman who was raised by her mother after her father was Chosen to be a Herald and then was left by a fiancee who also became a Herald.

- "For Want of a Nail" by Rosemary Edghill & Denise McCune tells of the suspicions of a soldier and explorer who returns to Haven to find every person in the higher levels is a Herald.Who are these Companions who have such influence in the new settlement?

- "Softly Falling Snow" by Elizabeth A. Vaughan reveals the love between Queen Elspeth and Bard Kyran.

- "The Reluctant Herald" by Mickey Zucker Reichert discloses the trials of a Companion trying to Chose a man who thinks he has everything.

- "A Storytelling of Crows" by Elizabeth Waters introduces a young fletcher -- and speaker to animals - who discovers an injured Companion carrying a severely wounded Harald.

- "Waiting to Belong" by Kristin Schwengel regards a young herbalist who loves a Herald, but is too shy to call attention to herself.

- "The Last Part of the Way" by Brenda Cooper concerns the healing of a Herald who loses his entire family.

- "Midwinter Gifts" by Stephanie D. Shaver relates the investigation by a Master Bard of a woman who has been married four times.

- "Wounded Bird" by Michael Z. Williamson continues the story of Riga, a warrior maid and merchant of the Kossaki.She despises the treatment of a female servant within an abusive society.

- "Defending the Heart" by Kate Paulk continues the tale of Jem and Ree as they live with Garrad, the old farmer.Soldiers come from a Grand Duke to collect taxes, soldiers and slaves.

- "Matters of the Heart" by Sarah A. Hoyt covers the events following the previous tale after the soldiers flee.Now the long gone son of Garrad comes for a visit.

- "Nothing Better to Do" by Tanya Huff recounts the trials of a Herald taking a toddler to his relatives.

- "The Thief of Anvil's Close" by Fiona Patton confronts newly appointed Sergeant Hector with a smith who is angry about allegedly stolen goods.

- "Twice Blessed" by Judith Tarr presents Heralds Egil and Bronwen with the problem of two young women who despise each other, but have been Chosen by the same Companion.

- "Be Careful What You Wish For" by Nancy Asire has a group of bandits who capture a Herald who can tamper with emotions.

- "Interview with a Companion" by Ben Olander brings a Companion to the Kentucky Blue Grass country to meet an investigative reporter.

I believe my favorite in this group is "Nothing Better to Do".Herald Jors has some learning experiences while transporting Torbin.OTOH, I have five daughters and the antics of the toddler are hilarious, but not unanticipated.

Many of these tales continue storylines from previous volumes in this series.Indeed, the pair of stories by Paulk and Hoyt are sequels to their joint contribution in the last anthology.Read and enjoy!

Highly recommended for Valdemar fans and for anyone who enjoys tales of brief challenges, telepathic creatures, and assorted viewpoints.The initial volume in this series is Sword of Ice.

-Arthur W. Jordin

4-0 out of 5 stars Short stories
Another collection of Valdemar stories.Some of them are connected to stories by the same authors which have appeared in previous collections. That gives them additional interest.

4-0 out of 5 stars Changing the world.. one need not be a herald!
Anyone familiar with the Heralds of Valdemar would always want to be Chosen, to have their own companion. And what I love about the anthology is that it shows that everyone has his own part of the world, one need not be a chosen to make a difference. The first story showed how the heralds with their companions needed someone to apprehend a thief, a con artist. Gifted they may be, it was someone who thought herself unwanted that made the difference!

True enough... as someone have reviewed.. there seems to be three odd stories, one that seems not be be in valdemar, the last story, and one wherein a companion has two chosen... oh well.. despite these three oddballs.. i still like the anthology. ... Read more

4. Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit (A Novel of King Arthur) (Arthurian Novel)
by Mercedes Lackey
Hardcover: 400 Pages (2009-10-06)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$3.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003A02R9E
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The bestselling author of the Valdemar novels pens a classic tale about King Arthur's legendary queen.

Gwenhwyfar moves in a world where gods walk among their pagan worshipers, where nebulous visions warn of future perils, and where there are two paths for a woman: the path of the Blessing or the rarer path of the Warrior. Gwenhwyfar chooses the latter, giving up the power that she is born into. Yet the daughter of a King is never truly free to follow her own calling. Acting as the "son" her father never had, when called upon to serve another purpose by the Ladies of the Well, she bows to circumstances to become Arthur's queen-only to find herself facing temptation and treachery, intrigue and betrayal, but also love and redemption..

... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars I love both Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradleyversion AND this story
This wasn't as exquisite in it's descriptive detail as Zimmer Bradley's story. Instead it is more a story of a courageous hardened female warrior who plans military strategy. Although the first section shows her as a courageous young girl, a victim of a jealous and spiteful sister. Only the last third of a book deals with her time as Queen.
In general I have never been the type to like books about horses, military strategy and the like, and yet somehow I ADORED this book and couldn't put it down. I guess it was because the characters were so true to life and real and then there was all the exciting magic of the King Arthur Story as told from yet another female character's perspective.
Don't expect to like Arthur in this book. When it comes to dealing with women his character in this book was even less appealing than in Zimmer Bradley's work.

1-0 out of 5 stars Publisher is nuts!!!
The Kindle price is almost twice the price for the printed book.
I probably will buy it, but not from Amazon.

4-0 out of 5 stars Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit
Another tail of King Arthur but told from Gwenhwyfar point of view, something I recommend for anyone who liked the the Mysts of Avalon.

1-0 out of 5 stars Audiobook version killed by poor naration
I've like many of Mercedes Lackey's books, but even a good audiobook can be made bad with the wrong reader.Anne Flosnik's reading of this book is monotonous and irritating, to the point that the book was unenjoyable.I can't fully evaluate the underlying story, which didn't seem to be up to Mercedes Lackey's normal standards, because the narration was so grating.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bought for my Fiancee
I bought this for my fiancee because she loves this author and I knew she would not be able to put this one down, and I was right. ... Read more

5. The Sleeping Beauty (Tale of the Five Hundred Kingdoms)
by Mercedes Lackey
Hardcover: 352 Pages (2010-07-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$15.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 037380315X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Heavy is the head—and the eyelids—of the princess who wears the crown…

In Rosamund's realm, happiness hinges on a few simple beliefs:

For every princess there's a prince.

The king has ultimate power.

Stepmothers should never be trusted.

And bad things come to those who break with Tradition….

But when Rosa is pursued by a murderous huntsman and then captured by dwarves, her beliefs go up in smoke. Determined to escape and save her kingdom from imminent invasion, she agrees to become the guinea pig in one of her stepmother's risky incantations—thus falling into a deep, deep sleep.

When awakened by a touchy-feely stranger, Rosa must choose between Tradition and her future…between a host of eligible princes and a handsome, fair-haired outsider. And learn the difference between being a princess and ruling as a queen.

The moral of the story? Sometimes a princess has to create her own happy endings…. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (51)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fairy tales are like adventures: fun to read, not fun to be in
Mercedes Lackey has been retelling fairy tales for many years now. This one is part of the Fairy Godmother series, also known as the 500 Kingdoms. (cue the klezmer music) It is about "Tradition!" Not the traditions that Tevye sings about in "Fiddler on the Roof" but the Tradition that says all girls with dead fathers and evil stepmothers and wicked sisters play the part of Cinderella in their real lives. In this case, the Traditions involved are of the Wastrel Younger Son, the Hero, and the Sleeping Beauty. Lackey rings down changes on the tropes (or Traditions) and winds up with a Fairy Godmother who becomes the Evil Queen and the Wizened Old Woman. The seven dwarves aren't Disney-fied. And the Hero isn't a Conan (or in this case, a Siegfried) clone.

Worth reading if you like Lackey, worth reading if you like retellings of Fairy Tales, and just plain worth reading.

Walt Boyes
Active Member, SFWA

4-0 out of 5 stars A light read with unexpected moments of glee
Sleeping Beauty is the fifth book in the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series. There is no hard work to read this book, no deep thinking, and assuredly no difficult plot twists to follow. It is a jaunt into fairy tale land, complete with a beautiful princess, a beloved-but-dead mother, a revered king, an evil huntsman, a wicked stepmother, talking animals, a hero, another hero, five hundred more heroes, a dragon, four more dragons, a herd of sheep...

Wait, sheep? Yes! Mercedes Lackey is at it again with the sheep jokes. If you are joining this series late, there is only one thing that you need to know in order to jump into it with this book instead of the beginning with The Fairy Godmother. In this series, Lackey takes the basic fairy tales (Cinderella, Snow White, etc.), adds some explanations of their original formulas, and then promptly twists them around. The fundamental theme of these books is that all fates and fortunes are guided by a mindless magical force called The Tradition. The Tradition wants peoples' lives to follow the formulaic paths, but is agnostic when it comes to happy or tragic endings. It is up to the Fairy Godmothers, Heroes, and other Tradition-educated people to try to manipulate The Tradition into happy endings which may or may not fit the original formulae. Siding against them in this battle for the outcomes are the Sorcerers, Sorceresses, Evil Stepmothers, and their tribe of henchmen.

Here in Book 5, we are off to Eltaria, a rich but small kingdom with a beautiful queen and beloved king. Here, the princess Rosamund is destined to be yet another Snow White. Sleeping Beauty. Whatever. The book isn't very clear on where or why she is going to have to be either. There is a lot of talk about tragedy, but it is glossed over in true tale format. Instead, Lackey revels in the cleverness of her various characters as they do their small-but-plot-turning activities such as freeing captive bears and sneaking around in enchanted cloaks to whisper words of advice.

In this story, Lackey delivers entertainment in an airy style. For me, the best part of the story starts when the Godmother Lily and Rosamund work up properly Traditional contests for the scores of heroes, princes, and adventurers. One contest involves full sets of armor, magical horses, raw eggs, and herds of sheep. (Visualize that!) Regardless of fairy tale education, this story is appropriate for almost any audience with the vocabulary to read it. The target audience is women who enjoy light fantasy-romance, and who prefer to know that everything is going to work out right from the beginning.

3-0 out of 5 stars breezy, entertaining venture into the world of the five hundred kingdoms
*actual rate is 3.5 stars.*

lackey's latest installment has quite interesting fairytale backgrounds - namely the merging of sleeping beauty and the ring of nibelung, both which coincidentally feature sleeping maidens. rosamund is a decent heroine, both spunky and quick thinking. however, i find that her character is left undeveloped in the latter half of the story. it may be due to the fact that the first part of the story focuses on rosamunds' side, and the next half on siegfried. i however, expected more from lackey. siegfried, on the other hand, had better luck in terms of development. he is not an eloquent, witty charmer. in fact he is, on the surface, a man of brute strength. yet, little by little he is revealed as a careful and thoughtful man as well.

while there are no real surprises in the outcome of the plot, the story itself is enjoyable. the dialogues are breezy and the plot moves fairly easily. various other fairytales has "cameo" roles in the book, which greatly adds to the plot. supporting characters are also pretty well-fleshed, my favorite being the fairy godmother.

while not great, "the sleeping beauty" is an entertaining read, a good diversion on a sunday afternoon. not one of lackey's best, but not her worst work either. if you like reimagined (i call it reality-fairytales... go figure) fairytales, you could do worse than checking out mercedes lackey's five hundred kingdoms series.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth reading to the end.
I hadn't read any Mercedes Lackey books in a good decade, but given that she was once my favorite author, I decided to read The Sleeping Beauty and see how I liked it.
The book got off to kind of a slow start in that there was a lot of explanation of "how things were.""Godmothers were generally prone to doing x thing in x situation" is the kind of sentence that made the voices of my college professors cry, "Show, don't tell!" at the back of my head while I read. Additionally, while it's nice that Lackey knows her fairy tales, many readers will not recognize many of the tales that are described as being contributors to the Tradition, since they come from different cultures.I recognized the reference to someone dancing herself to death, but I would guess that most people aren't even familiar with that one.Not knowing all the stories that are mentioned doesn't hinder the reader's grasp of the story at hand, but it can make him/her feel a bit undereducated.
Still, I found a lot to like in the story.Rosamund's strength was especially appealing; I loved that she realized the value of one of the princes--and that she was falling for him--in spite of another prince's charms.I also loved that she realized how she felt BEFORE the last minute!
Perhaps my favorite aspect of this tale was Siegfried's connection to nonhuman animals.I enjoyed seeing a character who showed respect for other creatures.
The end of the book was uplifting.Some aspects of it were pretty predictable; others were quite a bit less so.
The Sleeping Beauty isn't my favorite book, or even my favorite Mercedes Lackey book, but it certainly has merits.It adds some common sense to a fairy-tale kingdom, which is a worthy task.

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining twist on traditional fairy tales
The Sleeping Beauty is the fifth of the series Tales of Five Hundred Kingdoms.In this alternative version of sleeping beauty, Rosamund, the daughter of the King of Eltaria is trying hard to avoid Tradition, the force that manipulates peoples' lives to conform to the fairy tales we all know. She is not the typical damsel in distress.

Eltaria is a small but rich kingdom and always under threat of encroaching neighbors.When the Queen dies, according to tradition, the King must marry someone who will turn out to be an evil stepmother so the realm's fairy godmother steps in and disguises herself as Sable to save Rosamund from that fate.When the kind dies, the race begins to find a man capable in protecting Eltaria from its enemies.

This story is quite convoluted with a mix of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Norse legend and it is quite enjoyable. It's light reading and I found it delightful enough to buy the 4 previous books in the series. ... Read more

6. Trio of Sorcery
by Mercedes Lackey
Hardcover: 352 Pages (2010-11-09)
list price: US$24.99 -- used & new: US$16.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765328518
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Product Description

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mercedes Lackey presents three exciting short urban fantasy novels featuring three resourceful heroines and three different takes on the modern world and on magics both modern and ancient.

Arcanum 101:  Diana Tregarde, practicing witch, romance novelist, Guardian of the Earth. Studying at Harvard, Diana is approached by Joe O’Brian, a young cop who has already seen more than one unusual thing during his budding career. The distraught mother of a kidnap victim is taking advice from a “psychic” and interfering in the police investigation. Will Diana prove that the psychic is a fake? Unfortunately, the psychic is not a fake, but a very wicked witch—and the child’s kidnapper. 

Drums:  Jennifer Talldeer, shaman, private investigator, member of the Osage tribe. Most of Jennie’s work is regular PI stuff, but Nathan Begay brings her a problem she’s never seen before. His girlfriend, Caroline, is Chickasaw to his Navaho, but that’s not the problem. Somehow, Caroline has attracted the attention of an angry Osage ghost. Thwarted in love while alive, the ghost has chosen Caroline to be his bride in death. 

Ghost in the Machine:  Ellen McBridge: computer programmer extraordinaire, techno-shaman. The programmers and players of a new MMORPG find that the game’s “boss,” a wendigo, is “killing” everyone—even the programmers’ characters with their god-like powers. A brilliant debugger, Ellen discoveres that the massive computing power of the game’s servers have created a breach between the supernatural world and our own. This wendigo isn’t a bit of code, it’s the real thing . . . and it’s on the brink of breaking out of the computers and into the real world. 
... Read more

7. Winds of Fate (The Mage Winds, Book 1)
by Mercedes Lackey
 Mass Market Paperback: 464 Pages (1992-07-07)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.22
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0886775167
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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With the realm at risk, Elspeth, herald and heir to the throne, abandons her home to find a mentor who can awaken her untrained mage abilities. Reprint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (52)

1-0 out of 5 stars Good story, bad OCR
I won't bother reviewing the story itself, since there are plenty of those already. Suffice it to say that the whole trilogy is a fun read for any fan of fantasy.

I want however to comment specifically on the Kindle version. It stinks. They obviously used OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software, and no one bothered to edit it afterwards.

Spaces mysteriously appear and disappear from the text, c's often turn into e's, l's turn into t's, "rn" or "rr" often turn into "m", capital I's become number 1's, text becomes italicized, unitalicized, bolded or unbolded at random. It's quite maddening and bound to confuse anyone who didn't already read the print version of this book.

The Kindle version is nearly as expensive as the paperback version, but because of the complete lack of post-OCR editing, the text is insultingly bad and in places illegible. If the publisher is going to insert itself between the author and the customer and charge so much money for the privilege, the least they could do is offer basic editing services.

Please note that my rating is solely for the Kindle version of this book (or rather the bad process used to produce the Kindle version of this book). The story itself is great fun.

2-0 out of 5 stars Beware!
Kindle readers beware!!The typos in the electronic version of this book are atrocious.I honestly couldn't believe what I was seeing.How this ever got past even a single copy-editor is beyond me.If you really want to read this save yourself the anguish and just go out to your local book store and pick up the paperback--trust me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Oh, what fun!
Oh - I know I said before that the Talia books or the Vanyel books were my favorites, but now, I must admit... it just may be that the Elspeth books are my favorites. Though there weren't any surprises in this re-read, it was still so exciting to read - Ma'ar/Falconsbane, Need "waking up", Nyara... all the threads are starting to come together - there are even gryphons in these books! Really, it's these next few books that the whole series seems to be working up to.

2-0 out of 5 stars Confused
I have been a science fiction/fantasy book fan for as long as I can remember. For some reason, I never was really attracted to any of Lackey's books. Out of desperation of nothing to read, I bought two from a book store. The Black Swan was an ok book, but nothing that was really gripping or exciting. The second book was Winds of Fate. I hate starting a trilogy without reading it in order. First, the book was just confusing. Never reading any of the previous novels concerning the background of the story, I had no idea what was being discussed half the time. Once I got into the swing of things, and began to get a little interested, I discovered I bought a misprinted copy! I have A page of chapter 11, then it goes to chapter 13, then back to chapter 12. ??? Anybody else have this problem??

5-0 out of 5 stars Mercedes Lackey Does It Again.
This book drew me in from the beginning and held me in thrall to the end. Ms. Lackey is superior in fantasy novels. I completely enjoyed this trilogy. ... Read more

8. Firebird (Fairy Tales, Book 1)
by Mercedes Lackey
Paperback: 352 Pages (2008-01-08)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765317192
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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            Ilya, son of a Russian prince, is largely ignored by his father and tormented by his larger, older brothers.  His only friends are three old people: a priest, a magician, and a woman who toils in the palace dairy.  From them Ilya learns faith, a smattering of magic, and the power of love--all of which he will need desperately, for his life is about to be turned upside-down.

            The prince's magnificent cherry orchard is visited at midnight by the legendary Firebird, whose wings are made of flame.  Ilya's brothers' attempts capture the magical creature fail.  When Ilya tries to catch the Firebird, he sees her as a beautiful woman and earns a magical gift:  the speech of animals. 

            Banished, the young man journeys through a fantastical Russia full of magical mazes, enchanted creatures, and untold dangers.  As happens in the best fairy tales, Ilya falls in love with an enchanted princess, but to win her freedom will be no easy task. 
Amazon.com Review
Mercedes Lackey never puts a foot wrong in this confident,funny fairy-tale adaptation. Tsar Ivan has eight sons; all are bruteslike himself except for happy-go-lucky, least-favored Ilya. Cast outthrough the machinations of his jealous, competitive brothers, Ilyastumbles onto an enchanted castle, distressed damsels, a garden ofquesting princes turned to stone, and the secret of the shapeshiftingwoman called the Firebird. In love with a captive princess, Ilyaenlists the Firebird and a charming, crafty vixen to help him battlethe sorcerer. But is settling down with a princess what "happilyever after" really means? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (56)

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
If Ilya Ivanovitch was the hero of a European Fairy Tale, Sleeping Beauty would still be snoozing and Cinderella would spend her days scrubbing floors.The despised middle son of Tzar Ivan spends the entire first third of the book bemoaning his fate and pretending to be a Fool.He finally escapes from his cruel home through the malice of his brothers rather than leaving an impossible situation through his own get-up-and-go.

Ilya stumbles through the second part of the book with the assistance of various birds and animals, which he can hear and speak to through a gift bestowed upon him by the lovely Firebird.Without help, Ilya would have drowned in the lake on his very first day of freedom.With help, the Foolish son makes it through an impassable maze and into the presence of the Firebird, whom he frees from a magical trap.Does Ilya, at this point, realize what a fantastic maiden the Firebird is and sweep her off her feet?Of course not!Having dreamed of or tumbled every pretty maiden he sees up to this juncture, Ilya suddenly decides to ignore the beautiful Firebird in favor of a vain and selfish princess, with whom he falls in love.In a stroke of true irony, the Firebird actually helps Ilya win the hand of the selfish princess. It isn't until after the engagement is announced that Ilya realizes that his princess is less-than-ideal.

In the end, Ilya is saved from a loveless marriage by sheer luck when the princess betrays him with his brother on their wedding day.Having finally gotten it through his thick head that it takes more than good looks to make a good marriage, this not-so-pretend Fool summons the Firebird with the intention of living happily ever after with her.And happily ever after may indeed happen, at least for Ilya, because he gets an amiable wife and a magic kingdom out of the bargain.But pity the poor Firebird who has to spend the rest of her life married to this man.If I were the Firebird, I'd stay single.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enchanting.
I lived in Russia for a while.Needless to say, I adore the old Russian fairytales.Firebird touches on several of these and is done so with a literary magic that is really quite awesome.I will say that the back blurb above is a bit misleading; the things happen, but not quite how the back blurb leads you to believe.The language of Firebird is a little archaic, not so much that it's hard to read, but it is told in a more formal style that lends its self to the type of story being told.Casual readers would probably be put off by that.

The Setting -- is as far as I can tell probably some part of old southern Rus, now Russia.It is during that time when people embraced both their traditional faiths and the Orthodox Christianity that was taking root.It is a feudal society where the tsar owns almost everyone.Lackey has a way of communicating the setting for a place that makes it feel magical.The opening paragraphs describe a beautiful day to such a point that it feels real.

The Characters -- didn't feel quite as alive to me.That said, they stick very near what I know to be traditional Russian style.The main character, Ilya, is not an innocent prince, pure of heart and intention.He's a young man who is much better than his brothers, but still just a man.I liked the characters, my favorites were not the main characters by far, but I still appreciated them.I didn't really sympathize with them.

The Plot -- was the crown jewel of the story.Russian fairytales to me have always been fascinating.I love them.I also love how Lackey pays as much attention to the in between sections of time as she does to the action times.A lot happens within the pages of Firebird.It's a magical story that made me smile.I might not hand it to younger readers, but older ones will like the tale.

4-0 out of 5 stars Better than I expected!
This book has definite shifts in style.

The somewhat lengthy beginning is typical Misty: a troubled, gifted young person struggles to escape his abusive, somewhat stupid relatives. He is aided by talking animals and magical circumstances. HOWEVER - this was surprisingly well-crafted Misty that completely took me by surprise. The characters were dynamic and complex and unique; she really took the time to make each one an individual. I simply ate up this portion of the book; it progressed steadily with interesting, unique twists (sometimes scary, sometimes comforting, sometimes breathtaking) and I found myself wanting to be there with Ilya in every scene. The setting in "Rus" (Russia) was a fresh and delicious departure from Valdemar... as much as I DO love Valdemar. I seriously did not expect to be drawn in as much as I was. The sorrel horse was wonderful and deserved a much greater part than he had.

The shorter "climax" chapters towards the end, after Ilya enters the evil magician's maze, felt totally different from the slowly-unfolding early chapters. It progressed more quickly, with flatter characters; I thought the villain was really quite run-of-the-mill, and his dumb demon henchmen were completely typical (if not entirely forgettable), although the garden-filled Russian castle setting was kind of interesting. I feel like Misty was a little out of her element here. Everything was just suddenly removed from "reality," and we didn't get a chance to get to know the new characters as much as they deserved (like the vixen, and the keeper of the gardens). The book really could have been much longer, integrating the "statue princes" as strong characters instead of names that got thrown out to wrap things up quickly. I wanted more development! I also felt that the Ilya in these chapters was a little less "real," and less in-character.

That being said, I liked the ending. I was afraid I wouldn't, because she really made things look dark and ominous quickly before bringing them to a bright and interesting conclusion. I didn't walk away feeling disappointed in any way; instead, I think she made some wonderful deep statements with this story. I just wish the ending hadn't been so quick! If she'd managed to pull the first half of the story back in, and bring back all of the characters we had grown to know (I even cared about the eight brothers INDIVIDUALLY!), and merge them with better-developed characters from the second half, it would have been an epic read to rival the ending to "Herald Mage." As it is, is was a pleasing and entertaining story that kept me up well past my bedtime. I absolutely loved the Firebird as a character and she was allowed some brief moments that were "heartbreakingly beautiful" - give us a sequel!

5-0 out of 5 stars firebird
the book firebird is a side-line of the tales of the 500 kingdoms series and follows a different path in the kingdoms.it's a great story of the fools tale and how to over come obstacles while using his head.I'm re-reading it for the 3rd time and still find different things that i missed or overlooked before. If you like the un-likely hero tales this is a great story with talking animals,magic and finding his right love. So please get The Firebird by Mercedes Lackey. you will enjoy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lackey's Firebird
I always enjoy Mercedes Lackey's books. Since this is a first of a series, I wanted to read the first of any of her series, and moreso, the sequels. I enjoyed the book and recommend others, who are into Science Fiction Fantasy books, to read her books. ... Read more

9. Harvest Moon: A Tangled Web\Cast in Moonlight\Retribution (Luna Books)
by Mercedes Lackey, Michelle Sagara, Cameron Haley
Paperback: 384 Pages (2010-10-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0373803222
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A Tangled Web by New York Times bestselling author Mercedes Lackey

Kidnapping Persephone should have been an easy task. But in the Five Hundred Kingdoms, nothing's ever simple—and the wrong blonde goddess is stolen by mistake, leaving Prince Leopold without his new bride. At least until he braves the realm of the dead to get her back….

Cast in Moonlight by New York Times bestselling author Michelle Sagara

Barely a teenager, Kaylin Neya is a thief, a fugitive and an attempted assassin. She also has a smart mouth, sharp wits and mysterious markings on her skin. All of which make her perfect bait for a child prostitution sting in the city of Elantra—if she survives her first meeting with the Hawks!

Retribution by Cameron Haley

In the underworld, there are tricks to killing. Like executing rivals at crossroads so ghosts won't follow you home. But sometimes retribution is hard to avoid—and now a supernatural hit man has a contract on Domino Riley's life. Luckily she knows a thing or two about death…. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Harvest Moon is magical and led to other places for me
I admit, I picked up this book because of the Mercedes Lackey story. To my surprise, that story was the least interesting for me. I read the Michelle Sagara story and started looking for more of her books! I wanted to know more about her Chronicles of Elantra.I bought one, then went back for the entire series. I also went looking for more by the author of "Mob Rules". Both of these authors build complex worlds, with characters who engage one's interest. This book gives a strong lead-off for those new and exciting worlds.

4-0 out of 5 stars Three fantasy romance authors
The Harvest Moon stories is an introduction to three fantasy romance writers.I am familiar with Mercedes Lackey 500 kingdom series.The story " A Tangle Web"is a follow up to her latest novel, "The Sleeping Beauty".It is an epilogue story which introduces the Greek/Roman mythologies to her 500 kingdoms fantasy world. I am assuming that this will open up a new avenue for this series. This story wasn't one of her more creative pieces but it was a fun since it put Hades into a new light as a romantic figure and Persephone more in control of her destiny.
The other stories by Michelle Sagara and Cameron Haleygave me an introduction to their series of fantasy novels.Iam looking forward to reading them. I enjoyed their fantasy plots,heroines and characters.
Harvest Moon is great way to renew favorite fantasy authors and enjoy introductory stories of unfamiliar fantasy series.

4-0 out of 5 stars Exciting glimpse into three different series by three amazing authors
This review is based on an ARC that I won from Goodreads.com
Harvest Moon is an anthology of 3 novellas centered somewhat around the theme of the Harvest Moon. The world in each of these stories comes from a previous series by each of the authors. Tangled Webs is based on Mercedes Lackey's Five Hundred Kingdoms series. Cast In Moonlight is based on Michelle Sagara's Elantra series, and Retribution is a prequel novella to Cameron Haley's Underworld Cycle.

A Tangled Web was a re-imagining of the story of Persephone and Hades. I have enjoyed so many of Mercedes Lackey's books that its a surprise to me that this story was my least favorite of the three, it fell a bit flat for me especially in comparison to the other two. I've read her other books in The Five Hundred Kingdoms series and I enjoyed how, in this novella, "The Tradition" can even force Gods to bend to its will. The Greek Gods themselves act like spoiled children which is entertaining. I think a lot of the problem for me was that there were so many things going on in such a short story that the characters, for me, fell flat. Persephone herself reminds me of a whiny and defiant teenager while Demeter acts like one of those selfish, clingy talk show mothers that doesn't want their child to ever leave home, and Hades comes off as rather weak. When you add to the mix the strong personalities of Brunnhilde and Leopold from Norse mythology, aquest for Leopold to become immortal, and a mistaken identity kidnapping, there's a lot of plot to cover in such a short story. I would rate this one a 3

Cast in Moonlight was a compelling story set in the world of Elantra that I'm not at all familiar with having never read any of Sagara's previous work. Sagara writes this novella in a show don't tell style that had me rather lost in the first pages, not being familiar with the world, however, I was quickly caught up in 13 year old Kaylin's story. Through this novella, Kaylin Naya is captured trying to kill Lord Grammayre, finds herself reprieved from what she believed to be an automatic sentence of death, learns to face her many fears as well as embrace her magical ability and find her place among the Hawks in this unique world. I think this was a well written story and definitely got me interested in learning more about the world. There were a lot of characters introduced, but the main ones I felt were fully realized and the story itself was interesting and enjoyable
I would rate this a 4

Retribution was a hard hitting rather violent novella that introduces us to Dominica Riley, a tough as nails heroine that fits right into the Underworld of gangsters and sorcery. Actually, combining magic and gangsters was an interesting concept to me and I'm certainly left wanting to read more about this world. This short story, while violent and dark, was also an action packed page turner for me beginning with the first line "I was twelve years old the first time I killed a man" That certainly caught my attention and the story itself was a good introduction to The Underworld Cycle. This was my favorite story of the three, possibly because I enjoy the darker elements in my Urban Fantasy. Retribution is certainly appropriately named and was the main focus of the story, the desire for retribution, what you're willing to do, and the consequences. I look forward to reading more from Cameron Haley.
I would rate this one a 4

Overall, this was an entertaining read and an exciting glimpse into three amazing series by three great authors. I will definitely be continuing to read Lackeys 500 Kingdoms series as I have enjoyed all of the previous books I've read in that series. And now I have two more series of books on my to read list, I'm especially excited to read more from Haley. I'm giving Harvest Moon an overall rating of 4.

5-0 out of 5 stars three fine fantasies
"A Tangled Web" by Mercedes Lackey.At. Mt Olympus, Thanatos kidnaps Brunnhilde in the opening ploy of a scheme to enable his master Hades to capture Persephone.Ever since he met her (see The Sleeping Beauty) Leopold is not one to sit idly by when Brunnhilde is in danger.

"Cast in Moonlight" by Michelle Sagara.In Elantra, teenage Kaylin Neya joins the hawks as she works her first case.

"Retribution" by Cameron Haley.Enforcer Domino Riley killed her rival for the position she now holds in accordance with Mob Rules, but an otherworldly hit man is coming after her also in accordance with Mob Rules.

These are three fine fantasies that fans of the respective authors especially will enjoy as Mercedes Lackey provides a Five Hundred Kingdom's entry; Michelle Sagara contributes an Elantra saga; and Cameron Haley an Underworld tale.

Harriet Klausner

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I recently finished SLEEPING BEAUTY, which I enjoyed, but the story by Lackey in this anthology is boring and very drawn out.There are to many Gods and Goddesses and just to many long tales to follow to reach the end.I liked Persephone, but while bringing Odin and the NOrse Gods into a Tradition for the Olympian Gods sounds good, it is very boring.If you are not up on your mythology you will not understand half of it.

The story of Kaylin's first run in with the Hawks and Lord Grammayre and Marcus as well as the Barrani, is well written and the only reason I gave 2 stars to the book. Kaylin is only 13 but the Lord of the Hawks senses that she is important and for sure she is the one to see the magic residue left on some murdered children.The mystery of who is killing the children and why is a good story.I enjoyed it.

The last story by Cameron Haley had too much gore and blood for me.The heroine (?) was not likeable at all and I personally felt she was too cold to make a good heroine.She murders a man at a cross roads to keep his ghost from haunting her but he has time to cast a death curse on her.The story deals with her attempts to either kill or subvert the messenger who will carry out the death curse.I did not feel any sympathy for any characters in this story.It was cold and left me cold. ... Read more

10. Storm Warning (The Mage Storms, Book 1)
by Mercedes Lackey
 Paperback: 432 Pages (1995-09-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0886776619
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Worried about the growing magical power of the Eastern Empire, which for years has been shrouded in mystery, Queen Selenay of Valdemar struggles to bring about an alliance with enemy Karse in order to defeat the evil schemes of Ancar of Hardorn. Reprint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

1-0 out of 5 stars Book 2 not available in Kindle for USA customers
Do not buy the Kindle version of this book if you live in America, as book two of this series is not available for purchase by Americans (although I'm baffled as to why books one and three are available to us). If you buy this book and enjoy it, you will not be able to buy the Kindle version of the second book in this trilogy.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great book, BAD Kindle version!
This is a great story, and both the hardcover and paperback versions are lovely and readable. Unfortunately, the Kindle version is not. The interior illustrations are very blurry, but that is not my main concern. The text was obviously retyped instead of scanned. It has a rather large number of errors, ranging from bad formatting of paragraphs, punctuation marks eliminated or added, misspelled names and words ( obviously spellcheck was not used ), and a great deal of font errors. Since the author uses italics to denote unspoken thoughts, the use of telepathy, and the odd emphasized word, this really interrupts the flow of the story.
When the language errors are bad enough that you have to stop and think to understand what the sentance means, you have a big problem, and since I have gotten both the hardcover and paperback versions from the library, it is obvious that the fault lies with the kindle version alone.All of these errors would have been eliminated if the kindle version had been proofread, and perhaps a quarter of the errors with spellcheck alone.

3-0 out of 5 stars alright
if you like this write, it's an alright extension of the storyline, but not as good as earlier books in the long series.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not like Talia and Vanyel's adventures but good
It's a different style of Valdemar novels and I was hesitant to read it. I'm glad I did and I ended up buying the other two (just reading them now). Karal is a great character and watching him go from the reality that the Companion's and Heralds aren't evil to seeing the good that they do is really a good read.

I was glad to see Talia and my other favorites show up and especially the Gryphons. And we get to see the first inside look of Iftel - not for long but it's there and I've always been SO curious about that country!

It's a good read and a great addition to your Misty collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Warning: Good Book! Set aside time to read it quickly!
Well, I did remember just about everything about this one from previous readings. It is the slowest moving of three, that is for sure, but it wasn't a painful re-read or anything like that... though I do remember being a bit disappointed the first time I read it because it takes a while for Karal to become as likable of a character as say, Elspeth or Talia. Although, Altra and Florian do help with that. And the problems of this trilogy are probably the most interesting because everything is so dire. So, I am excited to read the next two, though I am now starting to think that there is very little that I don't recall from all of my previous re-reads. ... Read more

11. Exile's Valor (Valdemar)
by Mercedes Lackey
Paperback: 448 Pages (2004-10-05)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756402212
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This stand-alone novel in the Valdemar series continues the story of prickly weapons-master Alberich. Once a heroic Captain in the army of Karse, a kingdom at war with Valdemar, Alberich becomes one of Valdemar's Heralds. Despite prejudice against him, he becomes the personal protector of young Queen Selenay. But can he protect her from the dangers of her own heart? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (37)

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this and previous book more than I thought ...but
As said by a previous reviewer this book was not at all bad but it was hampered by bad editing and Lackey's own lack of research into her prior material.

The changes of history Between this book and "By the Sword" lowered the quality of this book sadly as did the silly backwards Yoda speak of its main character although this book has less of it than the first thankfully but I cannot stand when writer resort to odd speech pattern writing, it's bad form and uneccessary and can be distracting to the average reader.


But even that did not anoy me as much as the out and out errors in the Valdemar events timeline. Karath's father does to die before Karath tries to take out Seleney he dies after and he does not support Karath's plot as the characters suspected either. That is a pretty major mistake in my opinion and is just laziness on the author's part as well as the editor.
I still enjoyed this book and the prior Exile's book but I am disapointed in this mistake.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun read!
This is one of the others that are non-re-reads for me in this series and even though I still knew how it would end, I really loved it. It was quite exciting and just plain fun! I was surprised that Myste ended up with Alberich after all... with the explanation of keeping it secret to explain why there are no hints of this relationship in the other books... still, it's a fun duo in the series and it was exciting to have the gaps actually filled in - even if the "facts" from this book doesn't always line up with the others... I was surprised how young Elspeth was when her father died... I had gotten the sense that she was older than a few months old...

5-0 out of 5 stars Exile's Valor
I thought this story was going to be about just war but it wasn't. It turned out to be one of the best of the Valdemar adventures.

5-0 out of 5 stars continuing valdemar excellence
style. another flawless story in the valdemar series. alberich is one of my favorite characters and I was very happy to read more of his adventures.

5-0 out of 5 stars exiles valor
good read.lackey connects all her characters with different books. we like them. ... Read more

12. The Phoenix Endangered: Book Two of The Enduring Flame
by Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory
Hardcover: 416 Pages (2008-09-16)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$9.73
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002MAQT92
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

In The Phoenix Endangered, second in The Enduring Flame, Tiercel, a budding High Mage, and Harrier, a reluctant Knight-Mage, develop greater power—and learn of the evils of war when they see the devastation caused by the fanatical armies of the Wild Mage Bisochim.

The desert tribespeople led by young Shaiara flee Bisochim’s evil, seeking a legendary oasis deep in the desert—a refuge that may hold the key to stopping Bisochim and preserving the Balance between Light and Darkness . . . or that may be the cause of Light’s ultimate downfall.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

4-0 out of 5 stars WOW
This was a great buy! The book was used and had little damage just like they said in the product info. I was happy that it shipped as quickly as it did. I would buy books from this company again, and soon!

2-0 out of 5 stars Enduring is a re-tread
This book was utterly predictable, and thus utterly boring....Ancaladar.Mage Knight-Mage, Unicorn. The first series, The Obsidian Trilogy, used all these characters to much better effect. This was a tired variation on a great first theme. This was like all the sequels to "Gone With The Wind' Never try to improve on a classic! Read the Obsidian Trilogy instead, and then stop!

1-0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Disappointing
I've read a lot of Mercedes Lackey's books and found the majority of them to be either excellent or at least good.This book is a stark exception and stands out as one of the worst books I've read in a while.Somehow it manages to hide what little plot may exist to the point where it can't be found, and then makes unicorns, dragons, magic and adventure utterly boring.

I read the Obsidian Trilogy and the first two books of that left me wanting to know the rest of the story.Many of the same ideas were rehashed in this novel but by now they are old and over used.Not only that, they really don't contribute anything to the book, except to provide an excuse to fill up some more empty space on the page.

The third book of the Obsidian Trilogy was a weaker ending to a great beginning.That book resolved everything much too quickly and neatly.It would have been much better to use these additional three books to continue the story after the second Obsidian book rather than just dropping the reader off a cliff in the third book.After doing that in the third Obsidian book there really wasn't anything more to write about.The Pheonix trilogy certainly illustrates that point clearly as it starts slowly and gets even slower in the second book.

If you really must read everything that Mecedes Lackey writes then go ahead and read this book.If you're looking for entertainment, something artful like the first two Obsidian Trilogy books or great writing then you should look elsewhere.

1-0 out of 5 stars not even close to the quality of the previous books
I really enjoyed the obsidian trilogy. so when this serie came out i had hope it will be as good as the last trilogy, but sadly so far this serie is not even close. I felt like the author is trying to milk the obsidian trilogy and its fan base for more money from fans of the previous trilogy. This serie by far felt less epic and the two main heroes of the serie are shall we say (dumb and dumber). please stay away from this book!!!

3-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
I enjoyed the book, it was a satisfying continuation of the first.But, the storyline is not impressive enough for me to want to buy the hardcover of the conclusion.I can easily wait for it to make paperback. ... Read more

13. The Serpent's Shadow (Elemental Masters, Book 1)
by Mercedes Lackey
Hardcover: 400 Pages (2001-03-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$8.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0041T4S86
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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One of the world's best-loved fantasy writers, Mercedes Lackey has delighted readers and critics alike with her enthralling Valdemar novels. Now, she has truly outdone herself-with a magnificent and thrilling adventure that takes the magic of India into the eerie gaslit streets of Victorian London...Amazon.com Review
Mercedes Lackey returns to form in The Serpent's Shadow, the fourth in her sequence of reimagined fairy tales. This story takes place in the London of 1909, and is based on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Lackey creates echoes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, pays affectionate homage to Dorothy Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey (who plays an important role under a thin disguise), and turns the dwarves into seven animal avatars who masquerade as pets of her Eurasian heroine, Maya.

Some of Maya's challenges come from the fact that she is not "snow white," and she has fled India for her father's English homeland after the suspicious deaths of her parents. Establishing her household in London, she returns to her profession as a physician, working among the poor. Her "pets" and loyal servants stand guard, and Maya herself uses what bits of magic she managed to pick up in childhood to weave otherworldly defenses as well. But the implacable enemy who killed her parents has come to London to search for her; if Maya can be enslaved, her enormous potential powers can be used to the enemy's ends. Fortunately, English magicians of the White Lodge have also noted a new, powerful presence in their midst, though they're having trouble locating her, too. They send Peter Scott, a Water Master, to track her down. He finds Maya beautiful and benign, and is determined to teach her to use the Western magic she is heir to, before her enemy discovers her.

Some will find the author's Kiplingesque descriptions of India and Hindustani culture offensive. Lackey describes Maya's enemy as a powerful devotee of the goddess Kali-Durga, though she carefully shows that the avatars of the other deities will not attack her, and has Kali-Durga repudiate her servant in the climactic confrontation. And, though the story is layered, its surface is as glossy and brightly colored as an action comic. But readers who enjoy late Victorian London, Sayers, Sherlock Holmes stories, and a page-turning tale will want to take this one home. --Nona Vero ... Read more

Customer Reviews (60)

5-0 out of 5 stars An enthralling read
I absolutely enjoyed this book immensely. I have read almost all of the Elemental Masters series, and though Fire Rose is duly noted to be one of the best, I could not help being enthralled by this storyline and the background of the character of Maya.

Having the majority of my childhood in India, I would like to note the cultural reality and importance that Maya places on her love ones within her household, is one that is very accurate. Secondly, yes, you could argue that some "Kipling-esque" as elements are present here; but I love the beauty of the images present, that of tastes and smells and feelings that are very accurate to my culture. In that sense I would like to place the arguments noting Lackey's handling of Indian culture as halfhearted to rest.

As for religious sentiments, the character seems more than reverent towards the religion, the beliefs that go with it; From what I can tell she was less religiously invested than her mother, but respected where she came from. Honestly this is a fantasy, so suspending any kind of reality is needed. I was not looking for a history or theology lesson, but some escapism. Unfortunately, at already 400 Plus pages, I do not think an honest portrayal of Hinduism could be written in; its an incredibly deep and complex belief system. However, if such accuracy is what you desire then I suggest reading up on the religion and giving some creative license to Lackey.

Now, getting back to the book; I found I could relate to Maya because of her overwhelming desire to want to surpass the barriers of not only her background and gender, but also her mired history and knowledge of magic. I found myself comparing her to Mara of the Acoma from the Empire series; I like strong, otherworldly female characters who overcome barriers; maybe its my weak spot.

I love the treatment of Eastern magic and the contrasts built against Western magic, I just wish there had been more of it. In fact that is one point I agree on with other viewers; more back-story please! More depth to the magical workings of Eastern Magic, or Maya's childhood. It would have fleshed her out even more, and would have provided to those who found her less relatable than I a firm foundation to understand the character.

The best part of this book: the emphasis on magical differences, the conflict of background, culture clash (even within magical circles), the action (wish there was a bit more), and the relationships. I get that this isn't Lackey's forte, delving into such a culturally different fantasy source, but I responded well to it. Also, I find it amusingly ironic that this version of "Snow White" was someone who was of a different culture; probably manufactured slightly on Lackey's part but I like the break from convention.

The one note I was a bit iffy on was the conclusion to the action at the end of the book. I would have liked to see Maya be a lot more active actually (couldn't there have been some sort of resolution like that in the Gates of Sleep? Mental warfare of some kind?) I also agree it kind of made the whole feminist ideal underlying the book sort of weak. However, the wit and caution Maya exudes in her interaction with the daily folk of London, as well as her ability to maintain her practice, and scheme against those who seek to dissuade her from her practice as a doctor, that particular scene I found amusing. All in All however, I found the character interesting, and I found myself invested into this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable
While this is touted as the first book in the Elemental Masters series, the real first book in this series is the 'Fire Rose', so if you are going to read this book, you definitely want to check out the other one. You can read that book before or after this one, it doesn't matter as the two are not too closely tied together.

This is overall an entertaining book. It brings magic into this world in a subtle way, almost like Harry Potter except magic works differently in the Elemental Masters universe that Lackey has created. It's also a fun retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but be forewarned, the author took great liberties with the original story, so some things will be quite different than what you might think for a retelling of the classic tale. I like that the character of Maya is not some simpering princess, but a competent and able physician who digs out a place for herself and also finds the time to help poor people. Overall a decent and likeable character, though the 'Prince Charming' bit in this book is a bit obvious. Still, overall a good book.

3-0 out of 5 stars ok, but too dark & gory
This book was ok because I liked the history and the character Maya and the majic but the love story lacked something and the violence was too much for me. I hate that kind of human sacrifice stuff.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Good Effort, But Not the Best in the Series
In British-controlled India, an English doctor and a high-caste Brahmin woman fell in love and defied both cultures to get married. Their daughter, Maya Witherspoon, grew up happily and practiced medicine alongside her father. Maya's world comes crashing down when her mother is struck down by cholera and her father is bitten by a deadly snake. Sensing that her parents' deaths are more than just tragic accidents, she flees her homeland to live in hiding in London. Despite the double prejudice of her gender and her Indian blood she manages to establish herself as a doctor. Although an excellent doctor in her own right, her medical knowledge is aided by her ability to use Earth magic to help heal her patients. However, unable to get proper training, her rudimentary knowledge of magic is not enough to fend off whatever dark force killed her parents and is now hunting her. Meanwhile, the appearance of a new source of magic in London attracts the attention of the Council of Elemental Masters which sends Peter Scott, a powerful Water Master, to investigate. When Peter finds Maya he is instantly drawn to her and decides to help her learn more about her magic in the hope that she can protect herself against whatever she tried to leave behind in India.

The first in the Elemental Masters series (though each stands alone and can be read in any order), SERPENT'S SHADOW is a retelling of Snow White set in Victorian England. Although the bare outlines of the Snow White story are visible, they are very, very faint. The villain is not a wicked stepmother, but a wicked aunt. The seven dwarves are in fact seven animal companions. And Snow White (Maya) is not poisoned by an apple, but instead an old woman with a syringe (although, to be fair, the old woman was posing as an apple seller at the time).

Lackey's amazing ability to bring Victorian London alive is evident and she makes a good point about the unequal treatment of women, minorities and the poor. But then she won't stop preaching about how very badly these groups were treated as well as how superior Maya is because she uses hygienic medical practices while some doctors still don't appreciate the benefits of a clean environment. If Lackey had spent less time lecturing, she could have done a better job moving the plot forward and creating a more interesting romance between Peter and Maya. It's love at first sight between the two of them and there are no real obstacles to them getting together beyond Peter's shyness. There was none of the spark between Peter and Maya that I felt when reading about the leads of FIRE ROSE and PHOENIX AND ASHES. As an interesting side note, Reggie Fenyx (the hero of PHOENIX AND ASHES) makes a (very brief) cameo. He only speaks two sentences, but it was fun to see him.

It's a shame that this book isn't as good as it could have been, as the character of Maya and her efforts to be a doctor in the male-dominated medical world are interesting. But it is bogged down by too much lecturing on the chauvinism of the time, irrelevant characters (Gupta's family does nothing and are entirely irrelevant to the plot), a weak romance, a one-note villainess, and a sadly dull climax (I skimmed through it).

3-0 out of 5 stars Almost there
Based on the fairy-tale "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (although I personally wouldn't make that reference because it makes you expect something that it's not) this story is in the time of the Suffragettes, in the heart of the movement, London.Maya Witherspoon enters England following the shocking death of her parents, an English doctor and Hindu mage, to establish herself as a physician.Inherited from her mother, Maya knows a bit of magic, which she uses to defend herself (she lives in the poorer side of town) and for small healings.

The English Masters of the White Lodge are not ignorant; they sense the magic and its foreign scent.They send Water Master Peter Scott to inspect the disturbance, and he is shocked to find a beautiful woman.
Immediately attracted, he begins to teach her what he knows about magic.Together, they soon suspect the presence of another outlander in London.An unwanted other.

With her seven pets to protect her, Maya sets about revisiting the past and discovering the truth of her parents' death, ultimately endangering herself.She soon finds she is in over her head, until all the mysteries are solved and she realizes what she needs to do to survive.What she needs to do to fight.

Eh.It was good, and it moved pretty fast, but I feel like there needed to be something more.It seemed like Maya's character was a little shallow, but Shivani's is the worst.She's so stereotypical and probably even a little offensive to the Hindu culture.I just wished for a more innovative character.Then I would've given it 4 stars!

But beyond that there's all the historical blabber.I know it sets the setting (ha), but I didn't like the Suffragette thing.It was all just too much.

All in all, it didn't bomb.Sure, there were some things that irked me, but it's still an enjoyable story.It's not much of a retelling, but more like its own original plot.For any Mercedes Lackey fans, you know what to expect, and you'll like it.I just didn't love it. ... Read more

14. Legacies (Shadow Grail, No. 1)
by Mercedes Lackey, Rosemary Edghill
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2010-07-06)
list price: US$18.99 -- used & new: US$3.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765327074
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Who—or what—is stalking the students at Oakhurst Academy?


In the wake of the accident that killed her family, Spirit White is spirited away to Oakhurst Academy, a combination school and orphanage in the middle of Montana. There she learns she is a legacy—not only to the school, which her parents also attended, but to magic.


All the students at Oakhurst have magical powers, and although Spirit’s hasn’t manifested itself yet, the administrators insist she has one. Spirit isn’t sure she cares. Devastated by the loss of her family, she finds comfort with a group of friends: Burke Hallows, Lachlann Spears, Muirin Shae, and Adelaide Lake.


But something strange is going on at Oakhurst. Students start disappearing under mysterious circumstances, and the school seems to be trying to cover it up. Spirit and her friends must find out what’s happening—before one of them becomes the next victim…

... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not bad but not great either
I don't know that I'd call the plot of LEGACIES "clichéd," though the setting is certainly familiar enough. Of course one thinks of Harry Potter when talking about boarding schools for magically-gifted students, but there are a number of other series with similar themes currently being published. And if one substitutes "paranormal creatures" for "magically-gifted students," the number of comparable series jumps dramatically (Vampire Academy, House of Night, the Fallen series, etc., etc.).

So, does this stand out from the crowd? Um, not particularly. I did enjoy the novel as I was reading it; liked the core group of friends, certainly. And it was refreshingly free of romance (which usually figures heavily in this genre); the fellows in this group are very appealing, but none of the girls were irresistibly drawn to them, or felt the need to be their devoted slaves. Now isn't that a change...

Still, the characters were perhaps a bit underdeveloped, as was the school setting itself. Seemed to me that these kids could get away with a LOT, considering how strictly-run the school was supposed to be.

The main problem, however, is one that affects many fantasy-oriented series books. The author has to provide adequate closure to the individual story, while still leaving enough aspects of the plot/situation open to make the reader curious as to what will happen next. Now, the mystery detailed in this novel is adequately wrapped up, but there really were too many plot holes and unresolved questions at the end (which will presumably be addressed in the next novel) for this to be a really satisfying read.

So, a bit of a mixed review from me. I'm interested enough in the story that I will likely read the second entry, but overall there is nothing about the book to make it stand out from so many other similarly-themed novels. But hey, if you enjoy this type of story, by all means give it a go and see what you think for yourself.

(Oddly enough, while this is book one of the "Shadow Grail" series, this novel gives no indication whatsoever as to what the shadow grail is---I don't think the term was mentioned once in the text.)

The dust jacket isn't bad; again, nothing special but at least it's a little more dynamic than many of the other jackets now on the market.

PS---Okay, there was one GLARING error that annoyed me! The text mentioned "The full moon was almost directly overhead, and the stars were brilliant in the clear night sky. They were so far from any city that the Milky Way was even visible." Now, this scene takes place near the winter solstice. The wintertime Milky Way is fairly dim (compared to the very bright Milky Way visible in the summer sky), and becomes almost impossible to see with even a low level of light pollution.Quite apart from the fact that when there is a brilliant full moon, you really don't see a lot of stars in the sky, you would not see even a TRACE of the Milky Way in a brightly moonlit sky! This is a very basic error and should have been caught in editing.

3-0 out of 5 stars 2.5 stars
I haven't read a Mercedes Lackey book in a long time so when I saw she had a YA book out I decided to try it.

SUMMARY Spirit White is sent to a boarding school after her parents and little sister die, and is told she is a legacy. Only problem is her legacy hasn't awoken yet. Then some students go missing and Spirit and her new friends decide to solve the mystery behind the disappearances. Meanwhile Spirit constantly feels that something isn't right about Oakhurst Academy.

I enjoyed this book and the characters, and I'll probably read the next book when it comes out if I see it on the library shelves. But, this book felt like an introduction and just never went deeper than that. When I got to the end I pretty much felt that nothing that happened mattered. Nothing was really solved either (besides the missing students plot which felt irrelevant, I mean what was the point?), and I still feel like I don't really know anything about the characters.

I hate to say it, but while Oakhurst Academy was interesting (I really wish the authors had focused more on what Spirit was learning about it), the main plot of the book was boring. It almost seemed unnecessary and led me to wonder whether the teachers were just useless and/or idiots or were all in on it, and what exactly did this plot accomplish? Sadly Legacies is mostly forgettable, but maybe it's sequel will be better and not feel almost random.

3-0 out of 5 stars Shadow Grail...Harry Potter for a Girl Tweener Audience?
Mercedes Lackey is spreading her wings.With Legacies, she enters the lucrative (and popular) YA market.

The Shadow Grail series begins with Spirit entering the prestigious Oakhusrt Academy.Yet, in spite of the luxurious surroundings, the environment is tainted with the disappearance of many of the students in mysterious ways.Spirit White, is 'trained' in self protection, and along with her friends, tested and trained to determine their natural magical skills.

While the popular Potter series includes an academy and wizardry lessons, this is not that.It draws on the genre, but more importantly builds on the mystery surrounding the private school.What is not said is more important than what is said or explained.There is magic, and a challenge of sorts, but this is no Hogwarts.

The book is engrossing, and reveals just enough to entice readers back for Volume II, and more adventures of Spirit and her friends.Lackey and Edghill write well together with their strengths combining effectively.

Will this be a 'franchise' series?It is hard to say, but the cast of Spirit and friends are intriguing indeed.Thank you Mercedes and Rosemary!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Magic Academy
Legacies (2010) is the first Fantasy novel in the Shadow Grail series.It is set in the contemporary era at a school outside the small town of Radial, Montana, about four hundred miles from Billings.Oakhurst Academy is an exclusive school for orphans yonger than twenty-one years old.

In this novel, Spirit Victory White is an orphan.Her father, mother and younger sister were killed in an automobile accident.She was badly injured in the same accident.She seems to remember something looking at her.

Lachlan Galen Spears is also an orphan.His mother had died much earlier and his father was killed recently in a hotel fire.Lock was in another room and climbed out the window.

Doctor Ambrosius is the headmaster of Oakhurst Academy.His hair and beard are pure silvery white.He has a faint British accent.

In this story, Spirit is feeling very depressed.Then a lawyer visits her and explains that her parents have specified that she will be sent to Oakhurst Academy until she is twenty-one.While she is still in rehabilitation, the Oakhurst foundation will provide her with funds, clothing and necessities.

When she is finally ready to face the outside world, Spirit is picked up by a Rolls-Royce for the drive to the airport.Loch is also in the limousine and explains some things about the school.After a four hour flight, they take a SUV to the train station in the nearby town of Terry, Montana.

They ride in a private rail car to the school station.Spirit is awed by the grandeur of the main building, a large old mansion built by a railroad tycoon over a century ago.It is surrounded by a huge estate, containing an indoor Olympic size pool, stables, gymnasium, tennis courts, and a firing range.

They are met at the station and escorted to the headmaster's office.There Doctor Ambrosius tells Spirit and Loch that they are Legacies, the children of Oakhurst alumni.Furthermore, he informs them that they are magicians and will be trained in magic here at Oakhurst.

Spirit and Loch strongly doubt this statement, but Ambrosius uses magic to move some things around.Then he transforms them to white mice and becomes a huge owl.After being snatched up and redeposited in their chairs, they begin to believe in magic.Then Spirit discovers that she has a slight cut down her arm, as if she had been sliced by a talon.

Spirit and Loch make friends with other orphaned magicians at Oakhurst.Two girls give Spirit a quick tour of the facility and then take her to the Refectory for dinner.Everything seems normal, but magic is ever present.

The next day, Spirit and Loch are taken downstairs for testing to find out about their magical talents.Loch discovers that he has three talents in two different elements.But Spirit doesn't display any talents at all.

This tale confronts Spirit, Loch and their friends with a mystery.A student disappears from the school.Later another also vanishes.The group is determined to find out what is happening.

If this book reminds you of Harry Potter, don't be surprised to see some references to that series within the story.But Lackey is a much more experienced Fantasy writer.Those who have not previously read her works should see the Dragon Jouster series.

They solve one major problem, but other questions are left unresolved.The next installment -- Conspiracies -- should provide more answers.Read and enjoy!

Highly recommended for Lackey fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of elemental magic, thaumaturgic research, and courageous young adults.

-Arthur W. Jordin

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book, but very Harry Potter
I liked the book overall, but it's definitly not Mercedes Lackey's best.I found that the back story was very weak, and the story itself needs to be stronger.I won't pay the price for the hardback when next in the series comes out, but will probably pick up the paperback. ... Read more

15. Reserved for the Cat (Elemental Masters, Book 5)
by Mercedes Lackey
Paperback: 384 Pages (2008-10-07)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.12
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756404886
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Based loosely on the tale of Puss in Boots, Reserved for the Cat takes place in 1910 in an alternate London. A young dancer, penniless and desperate, is sure she is going mad when a cat begins talking to her mind-to-mind. But her feline guide, actually an Elemental Earth Spirit, helps her to impersonate a famous Russian ballerina and achieve the success she’s been dreaming of. Unfortunately she also attracts the attention of another Elemental Spirit—a far more threatening one—and the young dancer must once again turn to her mysteriously powerful four-legged furry friend. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book ive read including elemental masters!!!!
I really wanted to read a book so I just picked up this book and started reading it. I had never heard of it, but it seemed really good and it turns out it was. It got super interesting after Jonathan the Fire mage showed up. All I can really say is that this book and AWESOME BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars A Happy Surprise
Mercedes Lackey writes a lot of books, the elemental masters is a series that I passed on for one reason or another.So I can across "Reserved for the Cat" at the local library and decided to pick it up.I'm so glad I did.

The elemental masters I think will appeal to people who like the victorian era but thrown into the mix are people who can control elementals (One of the 4 elements).But the real treasure is Mercedes Lackey herself.No matter how good or bad a plot, the author's writing style is what draws you in. Ms. Lackey has a very unique ability to create characters that you can bond and identify with.

If you've read any of her other books and enjoyed it, you'll like this book. I really do love this series and have already order the other books in this series from Amazon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Series, Great Story
Maintains the high caliber of writing of all of the previous books in the series.

It stands alone, but it does help to have read other stories in the series to have a better understanding of the underlying culture of Elemental Masters.

4-0 out of 5 stars 1st time reading Mercedes Lackey
My wife is the one that reads this author. I happened to pick up the book & started reading it. I think when done, I will read some of the other Elemental Masters books.

4-0 out of 5 stars It may not be Valdemar, but it's still fun!
In regards to the villainesses being wooden, predictable and all the same: these are rewritten fairy tales!The villainesses are usually based on a stereotype.Could Ms. Lackey have developed and motivated her villainesses more?A bit.Did she make a few technical errors?Yes.However, the character of Nina is cute, I loved the cat and the ending was not exactly what I expected.I always enjoy discovering Ms. Lackey's take on these traditional fairy tales.

This book is easy to focus on, even if you are continually interrupted.All in all, this is a great bit of light reading and I would recommend it.I'm definitely holding onto my copy for a re-read. ... Read more

16. The Snow Queen (Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, Book 4)
by Mercedes Lackey
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2008-06-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$5.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003V1WDVE
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Aleksia, Queen of the Northern Lights, is mysterious, beautiful and widely known to have a heart of ice. No one would seek her wisdom except as a last resort. But when she's falsely accused of unleashing evil on nearby villages, she realizes there's an impostor out there far more heartless than she could ever be.

And when a young warrior following the Tradition disappears, leaving his sweetheart and mother to fear the worst, Aleksia's powers are needed as never before.

Now, on a journey through a realm of perpetual winter, it will take all her skills, a mother's faith and a little magic to face down an enemy more formidable than any she has ever known.… ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

3-0 out of 5 stars Snow-Snow
I have read and enjoyed all the books in Mercedes Lackey's 500 Kingdoms series. "The Snow Queen" while enjoyable was still easily my least favorite.

The basic premise is the snow queen Aleksia is the Godmother over an icy territory called the Sammies.Like every good Godmother she watches over her Kingdom and aids or hinders the magic of the Tradition on her people."The Tradition" finds certain people in situations where they can be manipulated to follow a familiar fairy tale path.For example, a girl who suddenly inherits a not-so-nice stepmother can be manipulated into a Cinderella-like situation.Aleksia is lonely in her snow palace until she learns another sorceress is calling herself the Snow Queen and causing great harm.

I like the character of Aleksia a great deal.Her peronality was very distinct and she has a very unusual sense of humor.However, the story of Aleksia would have been better if her background was expanded on.What happened to get her to the position of Godmother really had an impact that was lessened because Lackey didn't spend enough time on it.

On the other hand, there was a lot of parts of the book that seemed to drag.In my opinion that is rare in a 500 Kingdoms novel.For example there are at least two long examples of Aleksia in another form hunting for food.They added nothing relevant to the story and were boring on top of that.

The editing of the book was worse than in any mass market paperback I have ever read.Misspelled words, run on sentences and grammar problems were rampant.Chapter Four ends in this sentence:'the look of terror in his eyes did not make up'.It stopped mid-sentence! The next chapter begins a fresh scene with a different character's perspective.I ofund this supremely frusterating!

There was much to enjoy about "The Snow Queen" however.The fairy tale bits were beautiful.The adventures and the questing party parts were entertaining and fun to read.The resolution was uplifting as any good fairy tale should be.Everyone gets their happy ending. I'd love to see Lackey write about Aleksia again, but in a crisper, well-edited story.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Snowed-In Queen
I was hoping for the Snow Queen to be a nice light read. It certainly is a light read, but I have to call it "OK" rather than "nice." As with Lackey's books along a similar vein, The Snow Queenbases itself off of a classic fairy tale or myth or ballet story of the same name. Alexsia, the snow fairy Godmother, finds someone taking her name and doing evil under a similar moniker and the pervasive magical force known as the Tradition has been taking notice. Since Alexsia as a "fairy" Godmother is one of the people in charge of watching over the Tradition and ensuring happy endings, she of course has to go about seeing what the matter is and setting it to rights.

The major problem seemed to be Alexsia herself. Since she usually did some variation on the Snow Queen tale herself to help keep clever young men from becoming morally bankrupt idiots, she of course knew how to break the power hold of her quarry and the main drama should have been to find out who it was in the first place. However, since everything is found out through magical inquiry, this becomes something of a dull point and any sense of intrigue that could have happened is lost because of it.

In previous books, there was a good twist on some part of the tale, like George rescuing the princess from the dragon... except George is short for Georgina or Cinderella becoming a Godmother herself instead of marrying the prince. Not so much with this tale. Alexsia makes much about participating in a tale going along a Traditional path, but it felt rather dull overall and does not really vary enough from the original story of the Snow Queen. There wasn't anything hugely objectionable, but I had been expecting better based on previous experience (I like One Good Knight especially).

5-0 out of 5 stars Enchanting
Mercedes Lackey is an enchanting writer who brings the reader into a world that is both new and familiar.Stories that have been told to us for generations are skillfully reborn in the hands of this author.Her description and word play captivate and move the audience in a delightful and elegant dance.She reminds us that the same old story can indeed have a different ending if we choose to look at the situation in a different light.Lackey is an author who is just as capable of rendering a new and vivid environment as she is of remastering an old, cherished one.The Snow Queen is a book that I was unable to put down.It retold the tale in a different light making all the right changes without causing the original story to lose any meaning.This book is able to make you laugh as well as it'll make you feel touched.

2-0 out of 5 stars bad editing
I'm still wading my way through the story but got so fed up by the inconsistencies and bad editing, I had to vent. The spelling errors have been bad enough but when the characters' names are being mixed up, it's just too much. One minute we're reading about Aleksia making her preparations in a cave and the next we're reading that it's Annukka that's doing it. There'a also a few paragraphs that is repeated in two different places. Bad quality control. Seriously.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not quite up to par...
I have to say I loved all of the 500 kingdom books so far - except this one. "The Snow Queen" just didn't seem to fit in the world that Lackey created for the earlier books in the series. I understand that the Snow Queen is a fairy tale in and of itself, but the formula just didn't work this time around - there didn't seem to be much of the fairy tale magic that the other books had, and there was certainly very little romance, if you could consider there to be any at all.

I hope the series continues because I am enjoying it immensely (and will sorely miss it if it goes away), but I hope for the next installment that Lackey returns to true fairy stories. I eagerly await the next chapter in the tales of the 500 kingdoms! ... Read more

17. Invasion: Book One of the Secret World Chronicle
by Mercedes Lackey
Hardcover: 448 Pages (2011-03-01)
list price: US$26.00 -- used & new: US$17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1439134197
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       The world had become used to the metahumans—people sometimes perfectly ordinary,but sometimes quite extraordinary in appearance—who mostly worked with their governments as high-powered peace officers, fighting crime, and sometimes fighting rogue metahumans who had become super-criminals. Then that comfortable world ended in just one terrifying day.

       Suddenly, all world governments were simultaneously attacked by soldiers in giant mecha robotic suits with the swastika symbol of the Third Reich on their metal arms. If these were Nazis, where had they been hiding since the end of World War II? And where had they gotten armor and weapons far in advance of anything on the planet? Weapons against which even the metahuman heroes seemed to be helpless . . .  ... Read more

18. The Outstretched Shadow (The Obsidian Trilogy, Book 1)
by Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory
Mass Market Paperback: 736 Pages (2004-09-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765341417
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Kellen Tavadon, son of the Arch-Mage Lycaelon, thought he knew the way the world worked.His father, leading the wise and benevolent Council of Mages, protected and guided the citizens of the Golden City of the Bells.Young Mages in training-all men, for women were unfit to practice magic-memorized the intricate details of High Magic and aspired to seats on the council.

Then he found the forbidden Books of Wild Magic-or did they find him? Their Magic felt like a living thing, guided by the hearts and minds of those who practiced it and benefited from it.
Questioning everything he has known, Kellen discovers too many of the City's dark secrets.Banished, with the Outlaw Hunt on his heels, Kellen invokes Wild Magic-and finds himself running for his life with a unicorn at his side.

Rescued by a unicorn, healed by a female Wild Mage who knows more about Kellen than anyone outside the City should, meeting Elven royalty and Elven warriors, and plunged into a world full of magical beings-Kellen both revels in and fears his new freedom.

The one thing all the Mages of the City agreed on was that practicing Wild Magic corrupted a Mage.Turned him into a Demon.Would that be Kellen's fate?

Deep in Obsidian Mountain, the Demons are waiting.Since their defeat in the last great War, they've been biding their time, sowing the seeds of distrust and discontent between their human and Elven enemies.Very soon now, when the Demons rise to make war, there will be no alliance between High and Wild Magic to stand against them.And then all the world will belong to the Endarkened.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (76)

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite book!
This is one of my very favorite books! I really love it, and I am going to try to write a review that does it justice, but here is the thing: it is easy to review a book you don't like because then you know exactly what it is about the book that you thought was bad, but for me it is hard to write a review for a book that I DO like - because I end up sounding like a raving airhead! But I am going to try to actually think about this book and write a review that will be helpful to all of the potential readers.

Ok, so here is the one downside to the book: A lot of people who read this book are going to think it is slow in the beginning, and I can understand why they might think that. I, myself, loved every part of the book. I did like the beginning, although I will admit not nearly as much as when the plot REALLY starts. And the plot REALLY starts about a quarter into the book - and then all of the sudden it is just one thing after another! I really loved the main plot of the book, the premise was so interesting, and the world was just captivating - it held my attention like you can't even believe. If you love fantasy, then you will absolutely LOVE this book - it has all the fantastical elements you love without coming off as cliched and old. There is never a dull moment - there is always something going on! One of the things I love about this book is that it isn't just one overarching story line - I mean of course there is one, but that's not ALL there is. There are tons of little things going on in addition to the main plot, and I absolutely loved every second of it! I also adored the characters in this book - you love to love the good guys and you love to hate the bad guys. But the character development is great, it is so cool to see all of them evolve and grow into who they are meant to be, and the interactions between all of them just made me smile nonstop! I literally could not put this trilogy down - I had many a late night because I would rather read these books than go to sleep. There are so many more things that I wish I could put into this review, but its so hard to put into words all the reasons that I LOVE this book! All I know is that this trilogy is one of my top five of ALL series, not just fantasy series. Its world was so amazing that it made me want to live there, I know how that sounds, but its true! I loved how the magic was set up, and I loved all of the different races in the world. The plot and characters were so incredibly spellbinding that I still think about this trilogy long after I have read it - and I plan on reading it again soon!

I just really can't put into words how much I love these books, and I hope that I have written something useful to all the potential buyers! I recommend this book to all fantasy lovers, and basically just everyone! I hope you love reading this book, and the rest of the trilogy, as much as I did!

4-0 out of 5 stars The begining of excellence
For all those interested in a well written, descriptive novel, this is it!But to be fair I almost gave up on it.Normally I'm the kind of person that if I can't get into a book by the third or fourth chapter, that's it and I won't touch it.The first book of the Obsidion Trilogy is Slow.It took till around a hundred and twenty pages to start thriving for more.All in all I'm really glad I did because the Authors' description of environments and characters is like putting you in the book.Compasion, Fighting, Magic, Mythical Creatures, and Epic Quests await all those who read.And Book 2 and 3 continue the story for hours of page by page enjoyment.

2-0 out of 5 stars Could have been great, but it's just ok
I believe the authors (and apparently the publisher) were looking for quantity over quality. Much of the narrative is superfluous, and doesn't contribute to the storytelling.I found myself skipping multiple pages throughout each chapter because of this.I counted 15 paragraphs (pages 429-430) just of the protagonist debating whether he wants a new suit of clothes. And this is a REPEAT of a theme found in earlier pages. I mean, really? Do the authors have to continually rehash the fact that the protagonist never really likes his clothes? How does his discomfort help the story? The authors continually repeat (re:hammer home) various themes throughout the book that add pages, but not substance.

Speaking of the protagonist, what a whiny wimp. It's impossible to believe that he's 17 years old. Scared of his own shadow (like the pun?). The authors try to paint the picture that he's led a sheltered life, but at the same time, he hasn't (because he sneaks out of the house habitually in order to interact with others).The authors portray him like an adolescent, when he should be portrayed as a young adult. He is easily overshadowed (ha) by ALL of the other characters in the book. I became immensely sick of him by chapter 19; there are 26 chapters in the book. The narrative is actually better when he's not in it. If the authors are trying to incrementally "build him up" in each book of the trilogy, they have succeeded to the point of failure. A pyrrhic victory, if you will. I will consider reading the other two books in the trilogy, but only to find out how the story ends. I really don't care what happens to the protagonist himself.

Having said all of the above, the plot is respectable. Different types of magic (not just the usual "white" and "black" magic), political schenanigans, manifest destiny, elves, unicorns, centaurs, etc. all get "screen time" in the book. DO NOT PURCHASE, as it's really not worth it. Check your local library to see if they have it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome fantasy book!
*Warning* This is a very long overview (it was an english assignment) on the book and may contain spoilers!
You should read this book, it is very good! I love it! =)


Kellen grew up in the High Mage City of Armethalia with no memory of his mother or older sister, only his father Arch-Mage Lycaelon. At his father's insistence Kellen was forced to take High Magic classes for which he had no talent or drive to succeed in. Even the simplest of spells were beyond him, until one day when he found set three mysterious magic books that disguised themselves as children's story books. Upon further examination of the books Kellen discovers that they are Wild Magic books, a form of Magic that is forbidden in Armethalia. This only feeds Kellen's curiosity toward their contents and he quickly begins reading them in secret and even uses a few spells from them. For once in his life Kellen is able to work Magic and it doesn't matter that it is a forbidden form of magic that exacts an unknown price for each spell.
Kellen's father finds out that he is dabbling in this forbidden Magic and has him imprisoned. When Kellen refuses to denounce the Magic and submit to his father, he is exiled from the city and sentenced to death by The Hunt. A magical form of punishment consisting of large stone Mastiffs who's only goal is to hunt down the condemned and rend them to pieces. Kellen is given one night to escape the lands held by the High Mages until the Stone Mastiffs are released to hunt him down with a speed greater than a running horse and Kellen is on foot. Sometime during the night Kellen performs a spell to bring him help to get out of the lands of the High Mages, help comes in the form of a grumpy Unicorn called Shalkan. Shalkan runs tirelessly through the night with Kellen on his back getting more bruised and tired as the hours go by. By morning they are still not outside the lands of the High Mages and the Stone Mastiffs quickly begin to close on them. Kellen realizes that his father put all the magic he had into this Hunt to ensure Kellen's death and they are not going to make it to the border before the Mastiffs catch up with them. Kellen, with no fighting skills and Shalkan, with his magical horn end up making a stand against the powerful Stone Mastiffs. Shalkan uses his horn to de-magic them and Kellen uses a large stick to bash them to pieces. Eventually Shalkan and Kellen make it out of the High Mages' lands and to the hut of a Wild Mage named Idalia who is very good at healing.
After healing for several days Kellen discovers that Idalia is his sister who was also exiled from the High Mage City Armethalia. Kellen has no memory of her due to their father altering the memories of his childhood. Upon discovering that their father is still after them and will do anything to kill them, Kellen and Idalia along with Shalkan the Unicorn flee to the land of the Elves. A strange race with a great love for tea, the elves agree to shelter them because they know that Idalia and Kellen have Wild Magic and can help in overthrowing the Queen of Darkness. Idalia furthers Kellen's knowledge of Wild Magic and they embark on a journey to begin the task of overthrowing the Queen of Darkness. Kellen discovers more about himself, his special brand of Wild Magic, the greater world around him, and a lot about tea.
I have really enjoyed reading this book with its dry humor and diverse characters. The elves constantly stop to enjoy their tea, insisting that everyone else should enjoy it too. With a myriad of flavors of tea, the elves are a great source of amusement for me. I find myself wanting a cup of tea whenever I think about this book. Even in the middle of a battle they insist on stopping to boil water. Nothing can keep the elves from their tea. No one questions the elves and their obsession either. After all, asking questions is considered rude by this tea loving race. Rather than coming right out and asking how your day was, the elves state what they want to know in a very round about way. For instance: "It would be nice to hear about your day." would be an acceptable way to phrase one's curiosity.
Now the elves may be entertaining, but I think Shalkan the Unicorn is probably my favorite character in the book. He is a big know it all that is not afraid to tell others what he thinks of them. He is also very wise and helps teach Kellen about the world and all the monsters in it. And he has an obsession with sweets. Kellen has to be sure to bring Shalkan something sweet to keep him happy. He is not a silent Unicorn and will voice his opinion to anyone within hearing.
Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory are always coming up with new ways to amuse readers with their characters. I always enjoy a little humor thrown in with the books I read. The characters in this book provide just the right amount of humor. Whether the elves are trying to get Kellen to appreciate their tea or Shalkan is telling him off for not bringing sweets, this book is very entertaining. Just thinking about it makes me want to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just a Review
Just as the writer in the beggining attacked the city with his book.. I wonder if it wasn't this books goal to attack our system of govt in its way of political correctness that seems to be getting ever more dominant.I've been in a unique position to see a likeness between the two but I can't say that this was an intention for the book and not my own conclusions.

I loved this book in its way of bringing a fun magical world full of all matters of neat wonderful things together in contrast with dark disturbing images of human fault and the pure intense evil of the true antagonist.Never again do I expect to read about unicorns in 1 chapter and horrific torture in the next.However, it still reads light and fun unlike some books (The Farseer Trilogy by Robbin Hobb) which are almost physically draining to read.To justify, I can't mention Hobb's work without saying that I place them high in my favorite list despite my comment.Anyway, I also must credit the laws of magic in this world in that they are very well thought out well realized.I absolutely adore the concept behind wild magic.I found the characterization to be more than apt if not completely as full as some of lackeys other works.Even the length of the book is a good thing as I consider because why would I want a 300 page book that lasts for 4 hours or so when I can have an entertaining 700 page book that will last me 2 or 3 days depending on the time invested for the same price?

I don't consider lackey my favorite writer and I don't even know the first thing about the james fellow but I could find no faults with this book.I'm quite happy I picked it up and I doubt it will never see the inside of a used book store again as some of mine do. ... Read more

19. Finding the Way and Other Tales of Valdemar
by Mercedes Lackey
Paperback: 352 Pages (2010-12-07)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756406331
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In March 1987, a young author from Oklahoma published her first novel, Arrows of the Queen. This modest book about a magical land called Valdemar was the beginning of a fantasy masterwork series that would span decades and include more than two dozen titles. Now readers can take a journey to the world of Valdemar-including Tanya Huff, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Fiona Patton, and Judith Tarr-each adding their own special touches. ... Read more

20. The Phoenix Transformed (The Enduring Flame)
by Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory
Mass Market Paperback: 800 Pages (2010-08-03)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$4.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765355086
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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In The Enduring Flame trilogy, Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory have given readers a new view of the complex and fascinating world they originally created for The Obsidian Trilogy.  Jumping one thousand years in time, Lackey and Mallory have told the compelling story of Harrier Gillain, the first Knight-Mage in a thousand years; Tiercel Rolfort, the first High Mage in hundreds of years; and Shaiara, the young leader of a desert tribe who takes both boys under her wing but finds that she has a special affection for Harrier. 

These three young people are their world’s main defense against the evil called up by the rogue Wild Mage, Bisochim. Bisochim’s conviction that he was restoring the balance was shattered the moment Ahairan took her first breath.  Now, in The Phoenix Transformed, Bisochim joins forces with Harrier and Tiercel and the three mages search desperately for a way to destroy Ahairan as she sends her magical forces against them and the desert nomads under their protection. 

With more than one twist in the telling, centering on a magic-plagued journey across a blistering desert, The Phoenix Transformed is the stunning conclusion to The Enduring Flame.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

1-0 out of 5 stars Far too long...
I agree with the prior 4 or 5 reviewers who feel that this last book went on far too long.There was SO much time devoted to them walking in the desert and being attacked ad infinitum, and then the ending wrapped up quickly with little explanation for many open items.

All in all, it was a frustrating read.I was invested in it from the first 2 books of the series, but I really just wanted to skip to the end of this book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Are we there yet?
After thoroughly enjoying the first trilogy in this world, I looked forward to this new one. After the first book, I was intrigued but not like before. Yet I continued onward, trusting that the authors would do amazing things like in the first trilogy. Second book ends with quite the cliffhanger, leaving me more eager for the conclusion.

All I've been left with is a burning rage for the time I wasted on these books. The final book in this trilogy was slow, drawn out, and the plot wandered more than the people in the desert did. It was as if the authors just wanted this really awesome ending but knew they had to fill up the pages with something in order to make it a thick book.

If I had wanted to read about people wandering aimlessly in the desert, I would have read the Bible, thank you.

I'm all for character development and such, but the authors broke the number one rule in writing: Show, don't tell. The only time the story picked up any pace was when characters from Harrier's and Tyr's past show up on the scene. But then it's back to more wandering about and when they finally do reach some random destination, they end up having to go all the way back to where they started this particular journey.

The only reason I ever finished reading this book was because I had already invested so much time into it that I just had to finish it. Never did I feel like I had to turn the page to find out what happened - it was more like a chore than a pleasure. The very end of the book was alright but by this point I was so mad at the authors that I just didn't care much for it. Alright, yay, there's a new magic in the world, big deal.

Suffice it to say, I would never recommend this trilogy to anyone. I would suggest War and Peace before this crap. Yet I will sing the praises of the first trilogy any time. Go reread the Obsidian Trilogy instead of spending money on this.

2-0 out of 5 stars How fun is a 500 page journey across the desert? Not very.
I really enjoyed the first two books- picking them up without having read the Obsidian trilogy, and I fell in love with the story which showed real promise and potential to be a great epic. The second book lagged a little bit insofar as character development went, but I figured "hey, it's the second book in the trilogy, it's obviously going to get better!"

Unfortunately that's not what happened. What we got was Harrier being gruff and grudgingly accepting of responsibility, Tiercel endlessly complaining, no Ancaladar until the last few pages, an uninspired evil villain, and endless desert trekking.

To be completely honest, reading about a group of desert nomads who struggle across an unforgiving desert could be interesting- but not for 500 pages where the 'trials and tribulations' are wash, rinse, and repeat. The group of adventurers are plagued by a series of the awakened demon Ahirain's minions. Over. And over. And over again, with little to no variation in battle sequences.

There was also no progression on the villain's side! The great demon Ahirain wanted to bring back the endarkened, that is what had been hinted at in the first two books and would certainly have made for some really awesome plot. But all she does is make ugly versions of desert animals and dead people and send them to attack our protagonists in order to impress some remnant of an ancient civilization. Very scary.

Whenever the book actually showed promise- IE Servasse taking Bisochim and Tiercel to the Elf lands to get help, which could have opened up new ideas and subsequent plot derivations- Not to mention a much desired break from the desert! But no. Servasse gets her wing eaten and so they have to go back to the main group. After much journeying, they finally get to where they were going, and they then decide it's time to go all the way back to where they started! What a plot twist right? I wanted to throw the book at the authors. The only reason I 'liked' this book was because of the ending. If the rest of the book had been written like the last 50 pages, it would've been great.

Check it out from the Library if you want some closure to the series, but don't buy it- you may as well read the first 100 pages and skip over to the last 50. You wouldn't miss much.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I was very disappointed in this whole series.I never did get "close" to Tiercel and Harrier.I wanted to, but Harrier was too grouchy and Tiercel too wimpy.I hated that they didn't bring Ancaladar back until the end.And I know I will get a lot of flack, but their total disregard of the animals in the book really turned me off.I just read the part where he burned the shotar, but it died before it hit the open ground?I found it disturbing.I know it's a book, but...I, too, wish she would have just stayed with Kellen and kept their characters going.

2-0 out of 5 stars It's ok, but overall I was disappointed.
I'm a huge fan of the first series, the Obsidian Trilogy, but this entire trilogy seemed weak, and this last book was a definite letdown.It seemed smaller than an epic should be, if you know what I mean, plus it was incredibly depressing.I thought the first book was good, but by the time Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory got to this third book, it seemed as if they didn't know where to go with the plot.Also, the characterization in this book seemed one-dimensional; no one coming into this trilogy for the first time would understand why you would care what happens to the heroes.Save your money, and re-read the Obsidian Trilogy. ... Read more

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