Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey

Another one of Mercedes Lackey's very readable fantasies, this one the story of Swan Lake. At first I thought that it may have been part of a series, but it is a stand alone tale. Lackey has written two other series that center on well-known fairy tales: the Elemental Masters series and the Five Hundred Kingdoms series. This book is closer to the Elemental Masters series, as it does seem to take place in our world, just a more magical version. (Whereas the Five Hundred Kingdoms are very fantastical and not at all real.)
The Black Swan follows Odile, who is the daughter of the antagonist of the ballet Swan Lake (Odette being the good swan princess). In this story, Odile learns to sympathize with the plight of the swans, Odette included. She continues to defend her father's actions, until she learns that she has also been a pawn to his machinations all along. This gives her the courage to overcome his power. The story goes along just like the ballet, but when Odette and her Prince Siegfried throw themselves into the lake to die, Odile kills her father and saves their lives, providing a happy ending for everyone.
Lackey's characters are intricate and have quite a bit of depth, and of course there is always some interesting psychology going on. In this case, it is Odile dealing with her love for her father when he shows her nothing but contempt. This is a very well done and satisfying rendition of the traditional ballet story.

1 comment:

SactoMan01 said...

I really enjoyed The Black Swan because Mercedes Lackey successfully expanded the story of the ballet itself from a very unique point of view, to say the least.

Some readers felt Lackey underveloped Odette's characterization, but I can excuse her for that because after all, given the title of the novel main character is Odile in the first place.