Showing posts with label Mercedes Lackey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mercedes Lackey. Show all posts

Monday, November 6, 2023

3 authors I would like to have lunch with…

...and the single question I would ask them...

1. Toni Morrison

1987’s Beloved blessed you with a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. Do you think the esteemed and prized recognition you received for Beloved put pressure on your following efforts? I ask this because I have always had a difficult time finding myself immersed in your books post-Beloved. Due to this overwhelming feeling with trying to reach for the stories and plots behind the heavier prose. Sometimes I--as the reader--would just like the know what's going on.

2. Sue Grafton

How did you manage to get inside of my head to create a literary figure (as well as mystery genre icon) somehow incredibly relatable to me as Kinsey Millhone? Her wit, no-nonsense attitude, inconsistencies, and loner-ish-ness is so ME!

3. Mercedes Lackey

You come up with some great fantasy ideas. However, I sometimes tend to love your storytelling, while struggling with some of the directions you take with your plot. Then, on occasion, it’s the other way around where the plot supersedes your storytelling. So my question is how often do you allow your characters to dictate your story to release yourself from a functioning, well-rounded plot? Some of your books often leave great storytelling potential on the table [plot]. Such as the mother in the first Bardic Voices book.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Ultimate Mercedes Lackey Fantasy Reading Haul


I had zero business buying all these Mercedes Lackey books I found in a used bookstore out of town. But, as we all see, I bought them anyway. Mercedes Lackey isn’t even all that of a fantasy writer to me; her books always seem to be missing something or another. However, these are books I’ve been kinda-sorta hunting around for a while now. So, I struck gold–as far as I’m concerned. I guess the thing is that once I get my reading spirit into a certain something, I tend to devour and go for all it has to offer.

But my GOD do I also just love these early-to-mid nineties Mercedes Lackey fantasy covers as well. They, quite literally, begged my ass to read them. So here I am. And here’s what I came across and grabbed…

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Mercedes Lackey April

I don't know how I managed this (besides jumping right into my coffee and reading after work at 6am each day), but I managed to clean house with three Mercedes Lackey trilogy readings. It began with Tarma and Kethry adventures in Oathbound. This led to Oathbreaker and Oathblood. I've had the first two books on my shelf for over a year and bought Oathblood to round things out. Out of the three trilogies I completed, these ladies made my favorite party to keep company with. The books were fun; nothing deep nor complex. I learned reading Lackey's By the Sword that fantasy complexities and grandness weren't necessarily Lackey's edge. She does have charm. She is a storyteller. But epic? Nah. Especially when she constantly uses rape as a plot device. It almost took me chewing my teeth out not to throw her books when she does it. Nevertheless, Tarma and Kethry had some great adventures.

Ah. The Arrows Trilogy. I read the first book almost three years ago, and have been hesitant since. But I decided after completing Tarma and Kethry's stories I might as well keep the Lackey train going with Arrow's Flight and Arrow's Fall. Incidentally, the one I found most readers dislike the most was the one I liked the most. Can you guess which was that? It was Arrow's Flight, the second book. I won't get into the details as to why it is many readers' least favorite of the trio. The only thing I can attribute to my patience with the book is having read Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series. If you can read those, you can tap into any reservoir of patience to get through a book you intend on getting through (as opposed to those you outright DNF for whatever reason).

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Do I Feel Like Reading More of Mercedes Lackey's Work?

So here it is. The truth. I closed out reading Mercedes Lackey’s By the Sword feeling unfulfilled and unmoved by the book. So I'm wary of trying more of Lackey’s work. Don’t get me wrong, though. I enjoyed Lackey's Diana Tregarde series, as well as the first book in her Elementals series. As for the two dips I’ve taken into her Valedmar series, I've yet to come away with a hunger for more. And after finishing By the Sword, I am stuck wondering whether Lackey’s work is worth it to me. You see, By the Sword started off great. I was into Lackey’s fantasy character, Kerowyn, catapulting in her own direction in life. She wasn’t interested in becoming anyone’s wife or housekeeper. Nah. She desired the mercenaries way of life, or a means to be a hero to people.

Cool fantasy stuff, indeed.

Unfortunately, by the end of the book things changed for me.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

{Let Me Know} Is Mercedes Lackey's "Arrows" Trilogy Worth It?

Not too much to add here that hasn't been said in the video.  LOL.  Heck, the title alone, right?

Anyway, books and such mentioned (all links are Amazon affiliate):

1.  By the Sword 
2.  Diana Tregarde Investigates (Children of the Night, Burning Water, & Jinx High)
3.  The Complete Arrows Trilogy (Valdemar) 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Random End-of-Summer Book Haul Continues...

Well, damn.  Just when I hauled one set of books, here comes another.  Friday, it appears, I lost control with book hauling.  No worries.  All this was less than $7.
Since I’m suddenly on a “replenishing my love of fantasy” kick, I finagled my way to books #3 [Phoenix and Ashes] and #4 [The Wizard of London] in Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series.  I bought them in the same place (public library used bookstore) for the same $1 price.  Apiece.  I figured why the hell not, before someone gets to them first.  After all, I noticed book #5 had suddenly went missing after my previous visit.  So I hurriedly grabbed these two.  

Monday, August 15, 2016

Random Mini Book Haul (SO RANDOM)

After reading The Serpent’s Shadow, I was still in the air about how quickly I wanted to pick up another Mercedes Lackey Elemental Masters book.  Removing this post from all the details on that hesitation, I’ll just link to my video thoughts on the book.  Nevertheless, it goes without saying that if you find a book you’re even slightly interested in nudged on a shelf for a $1, you may as well get it.  So, as luck would have it, I got this pristine copy of the second book in Lackey’s Elemental Masters series, The Gates of Sleep.  Why the hell not, eh?  Might as well for the future.
(Goodreads info on the book is linked HERE!)
Now this next book was one that had me gasping when I uncovered it during the whole browsing process.  Seriously, I was that surprised and pumped with glee.  A Cold Day for Murder is the first book in Dana Stabenow’s Alaska-based Kate Shugak mystery series.  I bought the third book back in March.  Needless to say, it’s been sitting around waiting on the first.  But, no lie, I really couldn’t believe my eyes when this book struck me.
(Goodreads info on the book is linked HERE!)
Well, that’s it.  Not really intentional, but hey.  When you’re in the stacks, you’re in the stacks!
Carry on.

Final Thoughts | The Serpent's Shadow by Mercedes Lackey (VIDEO)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What? Some Fantasy Novels...?

I told myself “what the hell” today and grabbed these two fantasy novels out of the library used bookstore for a $1 apiece.  As mentioned in the past, the fantasy genre isn’t my strong suit; Urban Fantasy I can nail, given the right ingredients.  Nonetheless, high fantasy–as I’ve learned in the past–takes me an unbelievable amount of energy to focus and survey my way through.  Seriously, with high fantasy you’re thrown into a whole different world of concepts, systems, and ecospheres that allows you little to no reference points to consider.  So I find it troublesome when I attempt to unfold the author’s imagination through my own–at the same time.  Or at least that’s how it feels to me when an author is pounding descriptive exposition of a fantasy empire built onto a water way; congregated by humanoids and humans with varied ascetics not remitting my needing a visual clue.  So it always feels like a gamble when I take on these books.  A gamble of cohesion and comprehension of the events and narrative flow through an author's particular style.
Yet, there’s a wall I want to break to get into these alien and fantasy worlds.  And that’s how I browsed my way to Jude Fisher’s Sorcery Rising (Book One of Fool’s Gold) and the infamous Mercedes Lackey’s The Serpent’s Shadow.  Both their selling points: they feature female leads.  Nonetheless, The Serpent's Shadow's lead is a half-Indian woman named, Maya Witherspoon.  Which really caught my attention.  Other than that, both leads partake in an adventure of some sort.  Oh, and magic will be had.
So it’s going to take some patience keeping up with their respective world-building, politics, and rules of etiquette.  As well as the patience I’ll need to roll my tongue/mind in attempts to correctly pronounce names like “Sanctuarii”, “Arahai”, and “Fotheringay.”
Oh, boy.
But here goes!
Should I jump ship for whatever reason, everyone will be the first to know.
Share your thoughts on high fantasy and these authors.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Taco Seasoning and Fantasy Exposition

After reading two of Max Gladstone’s recent books back-to-back, I'm kind of in the mood to take on some fantasy and sci-fi (currently known as speculative fiction, I think) novels.  Preferably those novels with an ethnic lead for a voice that identifies closely with my own (ala Octavia Butler perhaps). Also through a female protagonist, as I have absolutely no interest in your a-typical guy wielding a sword or commanding some otherworldly space craft. I would also like something with compound world-building built into reflecting our world.  Sort of like how Gladstone takes on our economics with a fantasy twist relating fallen gods and soul letting as a form of currency.  Though that last part isn't so, so necessary when I would gladly trade gods for unicorns and mermaids. 

The problem is that I don't read much fantasy and sci-fi to find authors who manage what I'm looking for.  Wait, that is authors outside of the urban fantasy sub-genre–which combines a lot of real-world mechanics with fantasy and supernatural constructs. And maybe there’s a reason why I don't pick up much fantasy and sci-fi. That reason would most likely come down to the level of exposition needed to build a world.  Example: take Kim Harrison's Cincinnati-based urban fantasy Hollows series in contrast to a 500 page high fantasy novel written by Mercedes Lackey. Oh, yeah. There is a serious difference in levels of necessary exposition required to build between each of these authors and their individual worlds. And that’s where I always take issue, after having picked up my first high fantasy novel by Lackey, By the Sword, when I was fourteen. At the time I remember thinking how this was it; a big, sweeping fantasy novel in my hands. A woman with a sword and a horse and adventures abound. Until I got burned by the level of attention required to understand exactly what was happening to this woman, her horse, and her adventures.

Now, granted I was fourteen and still discovering myself in my Animorphs books, before and throughout high school. And as I said before, if there's one fantasy book that I love more than anything, it's T. A. Barron's The Ancient One.  So I was a little (I stress "little") in the range of Lacky at the time, and it wasn't unusual for a teen to pick up an adult fantasy novel and read it cover to back. Nonetheless, like a phantom pain, I never quite got over how demanding By the Sword was. Subsequently, turning me away from many high fantasy and hard science sci-fi books throughout the years.

The point I'm trying to make in this post is that–while I love fantasy novels–the truth is that I can’t always take on the commitment required to digest the world-building properly. And much of that world-building shows up in exposition.  But seriously, after the toe-dipping in Gladstone, I've come to the conclusion that I (and many others who tend to pass high fantasy and sci-fi) just have to find those who write with a good balance of exposition throughout the storytelling to keep us hanging on.

So I kind of think of exposition like making a taco casserole come out right. Put too much taco seasoning in the mix and it becomes a bad explosion of flavor-override (and a hiked sodium intake). Too much flavor kills the whole dish. However, put too little taco seasoning and you'll have a bland casserole without any special flavor to give it that Mexican kick. So yeah, I’ll relate that analogy to how using exposition in fantasy and sci-fi books takes a careful balancing act. But basically, the “taco seasoning” is the information an author gives his or her reader regarding the make-up (or world-building) of their story. If you put too much “taco seasoning” in, you can’t get the information together, as it’s overloading you while muddling the story. And if you add too little “taco seasoning,” you can’t seem to gather a sense of order to the events taking place within the story. And that’s what I find holds me back from these two genres. Either I'm overwhelmed with information, or underwhelmed (mainly overwhelmed concerning the context of this post). The end result consist of me ditching the book and moving on to something a little less of a reading tribulation.

Accomplishing that exposition balance in fantasy and sci-fi novels has to be uniquely hard because those stories take place in worlds unfamiliar and beyond our own. So not only is an author responsible for teaching the operations and rules of his or her world, but also the characters have to be given fuel and life to push the reader along. I suppose the secret is to give the reader all of this information carefully. And gradually. And with the use of suggestions like crumbs of information guiding them along the way. That’s why I'm going to try to break out of my so-so stumpy summer reading slump by diving back into Mercedes Lackey’s By the Sword. Like I said, it kind of broke me from fantasy as an unprepared teen. Now, seventeen years later, I think I can finally, finally do this. I’m going to take my time. Wish me luck!

Are there any genres you often find yourself avoiding? Was there a book that put you in the position to avoid it? Share your thoughts below!

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