The Black Swan

( 68 )

Overview

After his wife's untimely death, a powerful sorcerer dedicates his life to seeking revenge against all womankind. He turns his captives into beautiful swans—who briefly regain human form by the fleeting light of the moon. Only Odette, noblest of the enchanted flock, has the courage to confront her captor. But can she gain the allies she needs to free herself and the other swan-maidens from their magical slavery? A monumental tale of loyalty and betrayal, of magic good and evil, of love both carnal and pure, and ...

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The Black Swan

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Overview

After his wife's untimely death, a powerful sorcerer dedicates his life to seeking revenge against all womankind. He turns his captives into beautiful swans—who briefly regain human form by the fleeting light of the moon. Only Odette, noblest of the enchanted flock, has the courage to confront her captor. But can she gain the allies she needs to free herself and the other swan-maidens from their magical slavery? A monumental tale of loyalty and betrayal, of magic good and evil, of love both carnal and pure, and of the duality of human nature, The Black Swan is a rich tapestry which is sure to become an all-time masterpiece of fantasy.

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Editorial Reviews

Locus
...[A] bit of a feminist edge, but for the most part this is a sweet story....[T]he novel is nicely fleshed out, a dramatic and effective fairy tale made large.
Library Journal
Condemned for her faithlessness to spend her life as a swan--except for a few brief moonlit hours when she regains her human form--Princess Odette receives one chance to break the spell that binds her. Enmeshed in the schemes of a vengeful sorcerer and an ambitious queen, a na ve prince becomes the pawn in a malicious snare of magic, while the sorcerer's daughter questions her loyalty to a father who ignores her growing power. Basing her latest fantasy on the tragic ballet Swan Lake, Lackey (Oathblood, LJ 4/15/98) adds her own embellishments and interpretations to provide the story with a new ending. Though lacking the power and drama of the original tale, this romantic fantasy belongs in most fantasy collections and should appeal to the author's large following. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
YA-In this novelization of the ballet "Swan Lake," Odile von Rothbart, daughter of a vengeful sorcerer, lives on an isolated medieval estate with her father's prisoners, unfaithful young women who are swans by day and human while the moon shines. Unexpectedly, after years of living without hope, the swan maidens are offered their freedom if the Swan Queen, Odette, can win the faithful love of an eligible prince. Themes of marital and filial (in)fidelity combine to create a dark and tension-filled coming-of-age story. The sorcerer is obsessed with punishing women he deems untrustworthy, while his daughter has spent her life trying in vain to win his approval and affection. Odile initially makes excuses for her father's dishonorable behavior, but is forced to view him honestly as the story progresses. The prince has long ignored his own avaricious and callous mother and all royal duties. Both Odile and the prince discover that the growing responsibilities of adulthood require that they examine their consciences and make painful choices about loyalty to friends and family and self-sacrifice. The callous use of women and theme of sexual fidelity combined with the moody romance and story of betrayal make for a compelling read.-Marsha Masone, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Locus
...[A] bit of a feminist edge, but for the most part this is a sweet story....[T]he novel is nicely fleshed out, a dramatic and effective fairy tale made large.
Robert Francis
Mercedes Lackey is very good at building empathic bonds between her characters and the reading audience.... In The Black Swan, Lackey also demonstrates an ability to have characters convincingly grow and change. It could be one of her better works...it is a good story that contains many of the best elements that Lackey puts into her works...
SF Site
Kirkus Reviews
Another reworking of an Old Russian folk tale (like Firebird, 1996), this one having also inspired the famous music and ballet Swan Lake. Following the premature death of his wife, the powerful sorcerer Baron von Rothbart seeks revenge upon womankind by capturing the most desirable ones and transforming them into swans. His intelligent daughter, Odile, trembles for the least indication of approval from her father, excelling in her learning of sorcery and guarding his captive flock, until she begins to doubt both her own role and her father's entire motivation. Of the baron's captives, the most mettlesome and courageous is Odette, a princess who relentlessly schemes for her freedom. There are other complications involving Queen Clothilde, regent for her selfish, wastrel son Siegfried, driven to bargain with von Rothbart to prevent the dreadful Siegfried claiming the throne. Lackey's popular, and this one will have its adherents: decorously embroidered and pleasant but, well, feathery.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780886778903
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 534,384
  • Age range: 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 4.46 (w) x 6.56 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Mercedes Lackey is a full-time writer and has published numerous novels and works of short fiction, including the best-selling Heralds Of Valdemar series. She is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots. She can be found at mercedeslackey.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 68 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(37)

4 Star

(24)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 68 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2008

    This is the second worst book I've ever read! Swordbird is first worst!

    Okay, this book is creepy and disgusting. It takes you - word for word- through something that virgins cannot do, if you know what i mean. It is haunting and really perverted. I suppose that it would have been a good book, if the author excluded the stuff we really do not need to know about. It brings out the sick curiosity in us all, because the plot is wonderful, you wanna know what happens. You could say, 'Oh, just skip over those parts!' but seriously, you'll miss like half of the book! I couldn't finish it, and I'm never reading Mercedes Lackey again.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2008

    Amazing

    I loved this book. I love Mercedes Lackey and am so glad to have found her on a bookshelf in my basement. This book is a new take on the Swan Princess which is always fun. The characters have a depth other authers cannot achieve and no matter what how many times I read her books I still live them for all they are. Yes some people complain that parts are a little graphic but to those people I say grow up and get with society. You can hardly turn around these days with out atleast hearing a reference or inuendo. Amazing book and I recomend it to all.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2001

    REALLY GOOD BOOK

    this book is recommended for anyone who loves to read good stories with fairytale plots and lots of magical adventures!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2008

    A reviewer

    I love the story of Swan Lake... and this book put a whole new perspective on it. Odil is a beautifully written character. Like Wicked, I was forced to cheer for someone I always thought was the evil antagonist. Wonderfully done.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2003

    Wonderful retelling of Swan Lake

    An enchanting rewriting of Swan Lake- Lacky has turned flat characters and a tragic, detail-sparing story into a coming-of-age tale filled with detail and a carefully considered plott line. Recommended to anyone who has read/seen/heard the story of Swan Lake, read other books by Mercedes Lacky, or anyone who enjoys fantasy and drama. An intriguing interpertation of a well known fairy tale.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2002

    A wonderful coming of age story

    Mercedes Lackey has done a fantastic job in the retelling of Swan Lake. All the classic themes of the wicked queen, the evil sorceror, The bad prince turned good etc. I won't tell you how it ends, you'll have to read it and find out for yourself

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    Entertaining

    I really enjoyed her take on the story. It's a little dark but not to the point that makes me think "Okay, now you're just doing that to be shocking." I like that Odile, unlike in the ballet/original story, is a fully realized character.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    The black swan

    I really loved your movie"The black swan" and i can't wait to read your book'The black swan"!My favevorite part is when she does the amazing performence and then that strange leaf turns her eyes pale red.Thank-you for writing such amazing books and amazing movies.I'm wacthing "The black swan"write now at 9:47!your,#1fan,Eden

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

    Good story

    I enjoyed this one and will read it again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Recommend!

    Great version of the Black Swan fairy tale.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    A beautiful example of a fairtale dream and visionary

    I saw the movie The Black Swan and I was wondering if there was a book behind it. When I saw this book and started reading it I felt I was taken to another world. The book revealed wonderous themes and heartpounding moments.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Quality Fantasy

    I don't usually read fantasy novels, but this one was good. It's adult material, not young adult. A good read and interesting story. I'd like to see the movie now. I recommend this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 14, 2011

    Wonderful Story!

    I absolutely loved this book. I couldn't put it down. This story draws you into a beautiful world where anything is possible. The imagery was so good that I felt like part of the story!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 28, 2010

    Great Fairy Tale Adaptation

    Black Swan / 978-1-101-11906-8

    The story of the Swan Lake ballet is simple and Lackey does not lose the reader who might not be familiar with the source material. The evil wizard von Rothbart keeps captives maidens in his care and curses them to take the form of swans during the day, when there is no moonlight. The spell can be broken if a young man pledges his love and faithfulness to one of the ladies, the Princess Odette, and a Prince Siegfried steps forward to attempt this task, but von Rothbart plays him false and tricks him into swearing his pledge to his disguised daughter, one Odile, the black swan of the ballet. Siegfried and Odette cast themselves into the waters of the swan lake in despair. In some versions of the ballet, they are saved and von Rothbart is killed, but the ending varies according to troupe.

    Lackey carefully remains true to her source material, filling in only the details of background and motivations, and her vibrant details are a delight. The gripping story follows the viewpoint of the much-neglected daughter Odile and asks the simple question: How does she feel about all this? Von Rothbart is a cold and cruel villain, and Lackey determines that he is naturally a cold and cruel father, as well. Odile is a strong sorceress, but a gentle woman, and strikes the perfect note as an unreliable narrator - she senses that she is nothing more than a tool and a vessel for her father's schemes, but she desperately believes that he loves her and that everything he does for her is for her own good. Through the course of the novel, she overcomes her scorn for the captured prisoners and comes to understand that their curse or, as von Rothbart claims, their "punishment" is not just or fair. When von Rothbart uses her against her will to trick Prince Siegfried into breaking his vow of loyalty, Odile turns on her father in shock, fear, and hatred, using her magic to kill him in order to save the prince and princess, her unlikely friends.

    If this is a coming-of-maturity tale for the sheltered Odile, it is no less so for the regal Odette and the pampered Siegfried. Odette must come to face her own actions and past and determine that while her "punishment" is arbitrary, cruel, and unjust, neither were her actions completely blameless or without shame. She accepts this with dignity, and bears herself with courage and determination for the sake of her fellow captives. Siegfried, by contrast, has lived a life of pleasure and ease, encouraged by his mother who prefers that he stay infantile and she stay as Regent on the throne. He seduces and rapes women, barely seeing a difference between the two, and lives the life of a spoiled nobleman who has never been told how to behave to his fellow humans. When one of his "conquests" drowns herself and haunts his nightmares, he seeks to reform himself. When his efforts to reform himself by half are not enough to save the lovely Odette, he agrees to reform himself wholly and becomes a better person and a fair ruler as a result.

    I cannot recommend this book enough. At 400 pages, the reading is gripping and swift, and I could not put the book down.

    ~ Ana Mardoll

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  • Posted November 10, 2010

    Surprise!

    I started this book knowing nothing about the author. As I read I was pulled in to the story more and more. I can't wait to add additional Mercedes Lackey books to my library!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2005

    wonderfully written story

    I love how this book is written. really draws you in. The story itself is really great and keeps you reading, but the characters are a little too fairy-tale. The prince, that was once a man who always has 12 women beside him, falls in love and vows to be devoted to a woman after a day of meeting her. plus it would've been so much better in Odette's point of view instead of Odile.. other than that, it's a great read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2002

    WOW!

    the best book i'v ever read! and that IS saying alot....

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2001

    Excellent!!!

    I think this was a very well written story! I liked the way the plot was formed from a fairy tale. Wonderfull!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2000

    VERY VERY GOOD BOOK! :)

    This book is a goooood book, as is any other book by Mercedes Lackey.... :) So, I suggest that you read it if you like Mercedes Lackey's books. :) Have a good time~bye~

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2000

    Wonderful, Simply wonderful!!!!!!!!!

    Great book. I loved the way it was written!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 68 Customer Reviews

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