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The Black Swan
     

The Black Swan

4.3 68
by Mercedes Lackey
 

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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

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.

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.
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780886778903
Publisher:
DAW
Publication date:
05/28/2000
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
615,068
Product dimensions:
4.26(w) x 6.82(h) x 1.16(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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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Black Swan 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is recommended for anyone who loves to read good stories with fairytale plots and lots of magical adventures!
Anonymous 9 months ago
Spoiler alert: I could not get over the fact that Prince Sigfried is a rapist. He is a terrible person who comes across a gypsy girl bathing, and since she is naked and doesn't immediately run away, he sees it as she wants him. She doesn't put up a fight; so he rapes her and justifies his actions by saying she should have fought him off! He then throws coins at her. Later, Sigfried learns that the girl killed herslef. He is haunted by her in his dreams, and goes to church to confess and fast. After that is unsuccessful, he decides to treat women better. I could not get over the fact that he raped her and only really repented to stop haunting. I was waiting for him to be punished in the book, but instead he is rewarded and ends up happy with Odette.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this one and will read it again.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great version of the Black Swan fairy tale.
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angel50 More than 1 year ago
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.
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sanken211 More than 1 year ago
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.
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