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Posted October 6, 2008
Another fractured fairy tale
I used to be a great Lackey fan - bought every title she wrote the moment I saw it in a bookstore. But lately, her books have been lackluster at best. Instead of buying her books automatically now, I check them out of the library first...and this has saved me a considerable amount of cash, as none of her books since 'The Fire Rose' has been worth the investment of either time or currency. Her latest tome, a 're-imagining' of the classic tale 'The Snow Queen', is the worst yet. Lackey discards the most intriguing aspect of the original tale - the quest for Kay by Gerda - and focuses on the Snow Queen herself. Now this could be an interesting angle...but unfortunately, Lackey botches it. Her attempts to make the Snow Queen sympathetic results in some of the most hare-brained plot twists I have ever read in any fantasy novel. For instance: In order to make the Snow Queen a good guy, Lackey invents a FAKE Snow Queen who actually does all the bad stuff. Wow, brill. And the Snow Queen (this is the REAL Snow Queen, mind) that Lackey creates is a crashing bore, and that's because the character is a victim of Lackey's over-reliance on character introspection, which she substitutes for action, character development, or anything else required to make a story worth reading. We get pages and pages of the character's inner thoughts, meticulously - one might say, excruciatingly - analyzing every single aspect of any given event to the point of outright boredom. People don't act in her books, they mostly THINK about acting, so that by the time they actually do something, the reader is so overwhelmed by the tedious set-up for any given action that the action itself comes off as anti-climactic. I don't know what's happened to Mercedes Lackey, but I would guess by her habit of putting out several novels a year (some written exclusively by herself, others collaborative efforts) that she's written herself dry, and needs to ease back and try taking a sabbatical or something. I intend to take a sabbatical from any more works from Mercedes Lackey, until I see evidence that she's returned to the quality writing that got me so hooked on her novels of Valdemar. Otherwise, this author/reader relationship is NOT going to have a happy ending.
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Posted November 2, 2008
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