- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Luna; Original edition (December 25, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0373802021
- ISBN-13: 978-0373802029
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 209 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,155,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Fairy Godmother (Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, Book 1) Hardcover – December 25, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
The prolific Lackey (the Valdemar series) draws on the darker, Brothers Grimm side of fairy lore for her enchanting tale, the first title under a new Harlequin imprint to spotlight romantic fantasy. In the land of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, the Tradition, that ineffable magic, holds the promise of happily-ever-after for all deserving young maidens and courteous princes charming. But the Tradition also leads some in its thrall to pain, suffering and gruesome death. Feisty 19-year-old Elena Klovis seems destined to be an Ella of the Cinders (Cinderella), at the mercy of her wicked stepmother and greedy stepsisters. To escape their clutches, Elena tries to get work as a maidservant, but her fairy godmother, Madame Bella, has other plans for her. Elena becomes Madame Bella's apprentice, doing her best, among other challenges, to ensure that evil does not subvert Tradition. The only problem is that fairy godmothers are not themselves allowed to fall in love. It's up to Elena, who has vowed to reform a wayward prince, to tease out the threads of a new Tradition. Lackey has created an intelligent, self-possessed heroine with whom many readers will identify.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The prolific Lackey will enchant readers with this delightful twist on traditional fairy tales. In the land of Five Hundred Kingdoms, "Tradition" rules, and everyone is expected to fit into established fairy tales. Enslaved by her wickedly avaricious stepmother and stepsisters, Elena should have had a Cinderella-like life, but when things didn't work out, she flees and seeks work. Her fairy godmother, in fact, the fairy godmother of several kingdoms, makes her apprentice fairy godmother, and it's her duty to prevent the bad things that come with Tradition. Her life takes yet another curious turn when, disguised as a crone to test three questing princes, she loses her temper with Prince Alexander. He acts like an ass, so she turns him into one. Unwilling to let a defenseless donkey wander the woods alone, she takes him home and puts him to work transforming his life. Lackey's satisfying fairy tale will captivate fantasy readers with its well-imagined world and romance fans, who will relish the growing relationship and sexy scenes. Diana Tixier Herald
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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This book has all the best kinds of things that adventure books have. It has great multilayered characters. You felt the growth of the mains as they went about their lives. Elena was a wonderfully strong female lead that had a vulnerable human side. This book also had a wonderful story that was rich in history, with backstorys that although were never written in fully, were always felt. The twists and turns were unpredictable which lead to always wanting to know what would happen next.
The only iffy bit in the whole thing was the romance. The book spends most of its time breaking the traditional conventions that bedtime stories have, that was the point of the book. Yet, when it came to romance it felt very much like it's bedtime story roots. Admittedly it was a new tale, it wasn't one that you would find in conventional bedtime stories. The problem was it never felt as real as the characters were. It had that thing where you have 2 characters, their both good looking, they have the hots for each other, so naturally the get it on. It didn't have the slow growth scenes where they flirt and woo each other, or scenes where they show tenderness. There were kind of some, but in relation to the number of pages spent on the adventure, they were short and were clearly only there so no one would complain. Or thats how they felt to me anyway.
Now don't get me wrong. I love this book. This is, as I said a great book. The problem is, it was advertised to me as a romance novel when it was clearly an adventure one, a great adventure one at that. It might have actually benefited more if the romance aspect was removed altogether. Not that it could be done considering how a lot of plot points hinge on it being there, particularly at the end, still this book could have been straight up adventure and still have been great.
4 stars. A great adventure book. I took off one because It was advertised to me as a romance.
Boy, I was COMPLETELY wrong about that!
I thought this book was a fantastic inversion on the idea of a fairy tale. Mercedes Lackey sets up a rich, fascinating fantasy world with every character you can think of...all being driven and propelled by The Tradition. It is a hilarious inversion of a typical fairytale, and to watch the main character, Bella transform from a peasant girl to a Fairy Godmother, and then fight against The Tradition to make what she wants to make out of it.
There are segments of the book that you see coming, but watching the characters stumble through it is a treat. And everything in the world is rich, down to the vain, stupid Unicorns that follow virgins around.
The land where The Fairy Godmother takes place givens birth to many tales, and people exhibit certain patterns that can be seen to be one tale or another. People show tendencies to be Cinderellas or Rapunzels and often they end up living their tales. However, sometimes things don't quite work out. Ella's, prince, for instance, is just a baby. So, not having a place in her own story, she becomes a fairy godmother and, thus, a key figure in other peoples' stories. And yet, the fairy godmother still ends up making a romantic fairy story for herself.
I enjoyed this book. I think Lackey's writing can be a little blotchy at times, and if she finds a particular word she likes, it creeps up in her narrative many times. (Try to see how many times she uses the word "twist", especially in the first few pages.) Still, the novel was very creative and ended romantically. The errors within her writing, though numerous, can be overlooked. For lovers of Lackey, or of fairy tales, The Fairy Godmother is a good pick.