Firebird (Mercedes Lackey's Fairy Tale Series #1)

Firebird (Mercedes Lackey's Fairy Tale Series #1)

by Mercedes Lackey
4.2 43

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Overview

Firebird (Mercedes Lackey's Fairy Tale Series #1) by Mercedes Lackey

In Mercedes Lackey's Firebird, 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 to 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312858124
Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Publication date: 10/28/1996
Series: Mercedes Lackey's Fairy Tale Series , #1
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.47(w) x 9.53(h) x 1.27(d)

About the Author

Mercedes Lackey is the author of the bestselling Valdemar series, the Obsidian Trilogy (The Outstretched Shadow, To Light a Candle, and When Darkness Falls), the Enduring Flame trilogy (The Phoenix Unchained, The Phoenix Endangered, and The Phoenix Transformed), and the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms. She has written many other books, including Trio of Sorcery, Phoenix and Ashes, Sacred Ground, The Fairy Godmother, and Alta. Lackey is the co-author, with Andre Norton, of the Halfblood Chronicles, including Elvenborn. Mercedes Lackey was born in Chicago and graduated from Purdue University. She has worked as an artist's model, a computer programmer, and for American Airlines, and has written lyrics and recorded more than fifty songs. She lives in Oklahoma.

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Firebird (Mercedes Lackey's Fairy Tale Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Firebird is a book based on the classic Russian fairy tale of the same name. Ivan is a self-styled tsar who has many strong, trained, warrior sons, but none of them are very bright. Except for Ilya, the middle son. He is much smarter than his brothers so they naturally assume that he is a sorcerer and use every opportunity provided to beat him to a pulp and just generally make his life miserable. When someone steals Ivan's prize cherries, he sends his sons one by one into the orchard to discover who the thief is. Ilya knows who the thief is because he spied on the orchard and saw her. It was the Firebird. As a reward for not telling Ivan who was stealing his cherries, she gives him the gift of speaking to animals. As his older brothers fail to discover the thief, they become convinced that Ilya is the thief and give him the worst beating of his life. Ilya now fears for his life and can think of no other plan to save himself than to pretend that the beating addled his wits and turned him into a fool. However, not even his pretense protects him as his brothers continue to play cruel jokes - such as tying him to his horse and setting the dogs on him during a hunt. Using his newly acquired skill to communicate with his horse and the dogs chasing him, he is able to get away. However, when his horse is killed, he is lost out in the forest in the middle of winter with no supplies. A kindly ex-employee of his grandfather takes him in for a time and then Ilya becomes restless and follows the feeling of magic back into the woods. There he comes upon a giant maze which leads to an evil sorcerer's castle. After catching one glimpse of the 12 beautiful maidens that the sorcerer keeps captive, he falls in love with the lovely Tatiana. He decides to do whatever it takes to free her and to kill the evil sorcerer. But, with evil demons, a dragon, and other impossible tasks, can Ilya accomplish what so many other heroes could not? I gave this book 3 stars because there was such slow story development that I almost set it aside. I usually finish books in a day or 2 and this one took me a week and a half to plow through. The characters were likeable enough and the story was fine, but Mercedes Lackey spent well over half of the book just setting up the story. The first part of the book just dragged by as the author described Ilyas terrible life and the horrible things that his family did to him. She weakly explained that Ilya didn't dare leave because he couldn't survive out in the forest alone long enough to get anywhere else where he could survive. But, if Ilya's home life was actually as bad as it was potrayed, Ilya definitely had enough backbone to leave - long before the whole cherry tree incident. By the time Ilya actually does leave his father's land, there isn't a whole lot of time left for the real action in the book. The reader is going along at a nice slow pace and then suddenly is raced through to the ending where everything changes and nothing ends quite the way it was set up to. The ending was quite abrupt and left the reader hanging, too. If this book was a duology or a trilogy, then it would be understandable that Lackey spent so long setting up the story line and left the reader hanging at the end, but, as far as I am aware, it is a standalone novel. Perhaps Mercedes Lackey was planning on writing another novel to follow this one and it never happened?
Cid More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've loved this book for years, and was very happy to find it in a Nook book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recommend the book, Firebird, to any one who likes fantasy and adult fairy tales. This breathtaking fantasy is adapted from a classic Russian tale. Ilya is a young man who is frequently ganged up on by his seven brothers. Because Ilya surpasses them in intelligence and liveliness, they are jealous of him, and beat him. Ilya¡¦s father, Ivan, is a tsar who distrusts everyone, even his sons, and is greedy. One day, while trying to discover the thief of Ivan¡¦s precious cherries, Ilya sees the firebird, a half bird half maiden. But because he saw her without her permission, he is plagues with bad luck, and encounters boars, is forced to pretend to be a simple-minded fool, getting lost in a forest, and more. Ilya has to prove his intelligence and worth to save the 12 most beautiful women in the world, with help from animals and the firebird herself. The surprise ending gave me a pleasant shock, and this book is truly a traditional story turned into a dazzling and astonishing legend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A most enjoyable read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I grew up in a family of Russian descent, & i always loved this story. I heartily approve of her changing the end of the tale, though. Remember, this is a Russian tale! They looove depressing endings. The author gives the ending that it should've had. Thank you for that!
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twOH More than 1 year ago
If you like fairy tales you will enjoy this story. A lot happens to keep you reading.
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