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Bedlam's Bard (Bedlam Bard Omnibus, Books 1 & 2) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1998
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". . . a glittering success and a magnificent addition to the ranks of 'urban fantasy' novels . . . seamless and intricately logical, with just the right proportions. . . ". -- Dragon
From the Back Cover
Eric Banyon was a talented musician whose lady had left him singing the blues and playing his flute in a deserted corner of the Renaissance Faire. He couldn't have known that the desperate sadness of his music would free Korendil, a young elven noble, from the magical prison he had been languishing in for centuries. Suddenly, Eric had no time to be in the dumps, as he had to help his new acquaintance fight against the evil elf lord who had first imprisoned Korendil and now seeks to conquer all of California.
And that was only the beginning.
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- Bedlam's Bard is the one volume edition of two previously published novels: Knight of Ghosts and Shadows and Summoned to Tourney (both titles have little to do with the content)
- Someone feels really compelled to complain with the publisher about this edition: not so much because of its disgusting cover "art", after all one could place a nice sticker on it and solve the problem but really, what hell of an ink has been used for print? You cannot read the book without getting your fingers smeared with black and the lines so faded they nearly become unreadable. I had to read holding it in a most unconfortable way. Shame on Baen for this mess.
I am no fan of urban fantasy: I read fantasy novels to escape and the intrusion of our alltoo grim reality in my fairytales disturbs me a lot, but all in all Bedlam's Bard is enjoyable.
It is a pity Ms Lackey and Guon decided not to spend more time on their work: the plot has potential and could have been developped, the characters could have gained depth; we could be reading a fantasy classic, we have a soon forgotten lightweight instead.
The two novels, closely related though each can stand on its own are typical Lackey (I admit I know nothing about Ms Guon).
An indifferent plot, professionally written, well paced. No masterpiece, not even a close shot.
As usual, what makes the reading worthwhile is the gift Ms Lackey undoubtedly has of creating lovely characters and putting them at odds with their destiny, often achieving moving and convincing emotional climaxes.
In the first novel I was particularly intrigued by the love the three main characters, a young man, a woman and a male elf slowly develop for each other, each feeling at times the pangs of jealousy and a sense of inadequacy. This intimate threesome is very tastefully (if a little superficially) handled, with no explicit sex. In the second novel, weaker than the first and out of focus, the nature of this relationship becomes vague, the elf and the young man who in the first one freely kissed on the lips, now behave like best buddies: just reading this second novel one could wonder why the three are said to sleep in the same bed so many times.
As always with Ms Lackey's novels, a better editing could have removed several typos, many (too many) inconsistencies and even some grammar mistakes.