Filed under: book reviews, fiction | Tags: fairy tales, fantasy, five hundred kingdoms, fortune’s fool, mercedes lackey, romance, walter moers
I finally got around to reading Fortune’s Fool from Mercedes Lackey’s Five Hundred Kingdom Series. It was actually seeing this book released in mass market that encouraged my interest in reading The Fairy Godmother and One Good Knight. Usually I try to avoid reviews of books I’m currently reading or just about to start, because I find I have a habit of determinately trying to agree or disagree with the review. For Fortune’s Fool, I did happen to come across a review (goodness knows where, perhaps on Amazon?) that did not look so favorable on the book.
The third novel in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series is quite different from its predecessors as the novel relies heavily on movement and scene changes. Katya, the Sea King’s Daughter, and Sasha, a Seventh Son and Fortunate Fool of the land kingdom Belrus, fall in love. During a mission to find a kidnapped Swan Princess and a Snow Woman, Katya allows herself to be magically stolen to discover that an evil Jinn is plucking women with magic abilities from their home. Katya’s story unfolds from her desert prison, but Sasha’s story has him meeting with numerous magical creatures and fanciful tales.
One of my favorite authors Walter Moers truly depends on movement through his story to maintain reader’s interest and this can be done terribly well or just terribly when authors employ this almost flippant regard to scenery and happenstance. Lackey does a good job with this and more closely follows the precise tales in Fortune’s Fool than she has in the previous books in the series. Additionally, while The Tradition is always an important force in the series, in Fortune’s Fool it exists as something of a backdoor yet grounding force. A Jinn, or fire spirit, does not belong in this part of the Kingdoms and the Tradition really has no path to follow but instead offers suggestions.
In short, Fortune’s Fool veers away from what otherwise would have been set ideas for the series.
The book does not go perfectly smoothly either: the beginning’s rough with a bizarre House of Flying Daggers (the movie) scene, Lackey spends time poorly interlacing Japanese and Russian folklore, Lackey moves away from really reinterpreting the tales, the lonely, and the virgin princess is becoming tiresome regularity, as are the bloody Unicorns.
As far as the series goes, you do not have to read these books in order but it does help. Ella from The Fairy Godmother flits into One Good Knight, and the dragons Adamant and Gina from One Good Knight are the champions in Fortune’s Fool. It also offers you a better grasp on Lackey’s capitalized pursuit of Champions, Seventh Sons, Fairy Godmother’s, and so forth. You can assume what is going on and will probably be right if you read these books out of order.
Another fun and enjoyable read I wiled away my rainy day off with.