The Lark And The Wren (Bardic Voices, #1)
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The Lark And The Wren (Bardic Voices #1)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  5,936 ratings  ·  88 reviews
If Rune could get the proper training, she could become one of the finest bards her world has ever seen. But her advantages are few, so when she decides to play her fiddle for the Ghost of Skull Hill, he agrees to a bargain--an arrangement that could mean silver for her future quest . . . or her death at the hands of the ghost.
Paperback, 488 pages
Published September 9th 1993 by Baen Books (first published 1991)
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Spunky gal Rune is teased in her generic medieval European village! Oh noes, but at least she has her music. In fact, she's so good that she wins a fiddling contest against an ancient and malevolent ghost. Buoyed by her success, she enters the Bardic Trials to become a licensed bard. BUT! She's a girl! And girls can't be bards! OPRESHUN! She wins the competition, but when she reveals her gender they beat her and cast her out. Luckily, she impressed Talyeson and the Free Bards. They take her on,...more
I read this on a plane while on my way to visit a prospective college. I recall this because it marked the point at which I became too old for Mercedes Lackey.
I read most of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series when I was younger. When I saw this book on a shelf at the used bookstore I thought I'd give it a chance. I can definitely feel a lot of the same style (not surprising) that is in Valdemar, and the worlds are set in similar king/magic/feudal fantasy land. Unfortunately, this book is more optimistic than I can really find believable, even for a fantasy novel. Nothing particularly bad ever happens, and the obstacles that are put in the way of the ma...more
This was a reread of a book I loved when I was a young teen. I lost the book and didn't remember who wrote it. But I thought of it fondly and was excited to find it again. I guess the saying is right you can never go back.
It is simplistic. Not much plot. Everything works out a little too perfectly for Rune. Not enough tragedy in her life to be the Cinderella tale it tries to be. She also comes across as a little...young now. A little bratty and arrogant. My favorite part of the book used to be...more
What is bard's magic and how does one become a bard? What is a difference between a bard and a minstrel? Read and find out as you follow a young girl Rune on a quest to become a bard. It is a Mercedes Lackey book, which means there is nothing wrong with it from a technical point of view. My problem with it: it is actually 3 books in one with Rune traveling from one location to another. As soon as she leaves, the people and events of previous location are completely discarded and almost never men...more
I love Mercedes Lackey. I adore her books and have very fond memories of them and the writing and maybe that's my problem. My expectations for this book were very high, and as it goes - when you have high expectations of something they're probably going to get dashed to pieces. They did.

I kept thinking how childish the plot seemed, how things were a little too good to be true, even when magic was involved. How the entire book led up to Rune trying to get into the Bardic Guild and after that plot...more
From School Library Journal

YA-- The tale of a daring adventuress whose heart and spirit seek expertise in music, but whose experiences lead to : knowledge of life itself. Born out of wedlock, 14-year-old Rune is condemned to remain the butt of local gossip. She has dreams of joining the Bardic Guild, whose members enjoy high status, wealth, and security. First, though, she must escape from the village and her lowly status, and risk all to become a famous bard. Mages, musicians, elves, gypsies,

What you have to understand is I really love a lot of Mercedes Lackey's work - but for some reason, the Bardic Voices series left me absolutely cold. I read this book sometime in the mid to late 1990s and then abandoned this series and went back to her Valdemar books.
You'll really get annoyed with the zealots and the sexism in the countries attitudes in the book, but the book is a blast. This is a number three on the ML rating system.
comfort book left over from high school. YA fantasy at it's best/worst!

If I had rated this when I first read it, back when I was 18, I would have given it five stars. No question. Now I just don't care that much about the tax laws of a country that doesn't exist. The first 2/3 I still think is basically fluffy fun, a few random rants about The Lot of the Women and The Evil Machinations of The Church aside. I'm not such a huge ML fan that I've read her work extensively, but in the context of what I have read, I find those rants to be characteristic and think "blah b...more
Rosemarie Herbert
This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule.

Rune is a young woman who is excellent at fiddling. She is trapped in a deadend situation with a prostitute for a mother and no marriage prospects to speak of. But who said Rune wanted to get married? What she wants to do is become a professional musician, though she is unlikely to get there. Or is she? A poorly thought out bet later, and she'll...more
I read a section from this book years ago, and have been looking to read it since. I have enjoyed everything else by Ms. Lackey that I have read, so when I found this at the local used book store I bought it.

The story could have easily been a trite washed over coming of age female empowerment story, but it wasn't. Rune doesn't get into the guild despite out playing all the other applicants, and she doesn't get retribution for her treatment after they find out she's a girl. She moves on, becomes...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
LG (A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions)

This book is set in a fantasy world that is very much like Europe sometime in the past.

Rune has spent her entire young life working at a small inn. When work slows down and customers request it, she can do what she loves - play her fiddle. After the inn's owner's kind wife dies, however, Rune gets fewer opportunities to play, and townsfolk start treating her worse. When her mother begins jockeying to become the inn's owner's next wife, Rune wonders what will become of her.

A dare prompts...more
Okay, I'm honestly conflicted about this book. In fact, I feel so conflicted about it that I actually had to delay logging in my books this week, because I seriously, honestly, and truly could not make up my mind whether this was 2 stars or 4 stars.

The 2 stars finally won, rather reluctantly, because pp. 72-284 is a fabulous first book in a trilogy, but unfortunately, pp. 1-71 and pp. 285-488 are not books 2 and 3. Let's face it, this book is three books. (Or rather, it's a novella, an anorexic...more
Very enjoyable except for three things. One: Rune loses her virginity to the boy her first ever girl friend likes. And she rationalizes it as "breaking hin in for Maddie." I cannot like or respect someone who is so shallow.
Two: Heavy-handed political and religious views. And I mean heavy-handed. So obvious that even someone with their la-di-bloody-da head-in-the-clouds-world like me recognized it without even being told to.
Three: Too much telling and not enough showing as far as the relationsh...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book didn't know what it wanted to be. The first half was good. Rune carves out a niche for herself while always striving for more. There are corrupt institutions and Rune gets beaten up for being an ambitious female bard, but there are also kind strangers who become friends. The second half is not nearly as cool. It's basically about people wandering around with some all too obvious romance thrown in. The last few chapters are about suddenly finding a long lost prince and saving his life f...more
Mike (the Paladin)
While not a big Lackey fan I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I got deeply into the character, felt her pain, enjoyed her triumphs and followed all with interest. While I am the first to say that Ms. Lackey's books may run hot and cold (though I know she has a large following who like most all her work) this is (in my opinion) an outstanding book. My guess would be that if you are like me and find her books to be on sort of a sliding scale, you'll really like this one. If you like all her...more
I read a fair bit of Mercedes Lackey back in the day and remember enjoying the Bardic series. I came across The Lark and the Wren recently and decided to revisit it. I really liked the first half of the story--it's a good coming-of-age tale and Rune is a likeable heroine. The second half though, when she hits the road with the Free Bard Wren, just didn't have the same feel. There are several quick adventures, lasting just a chapter or two, that are all resolved much too simplistically and easily...more
This book is inserting, you follow a young girl as she try to get free and to become a great bard. Facing challenges along the way and fighting to earn her place in the world.

The first time I read this book I loved it, this time it was just good. You quickly bond to Rune and want the best for her. But this book does something odd later on, it randomly switches to Talaysen and Robins POV for short segments, it isn't done well and was irritating at parts.

Also this felt like it should have been t...more
Lindsay Goto
One thing Mercedes Lackey does which surpasses all others is the training montage. I love the way she builds up her characters and how we get to see them make their way through new situations. My problem with this book is honestly the characters themselves. The love relationships seem a little token and the characters themselves, flat, but I still really liked the book and would recommend it to anyone who's looking for an easy, enjoyable read.
As the first of the Bardic Voices, it was a bit confusing as to what was going on (world set up and all that). Still, the characters are true to Mercedes Lackey (full of passion, life, goals and good-will) and the plot moves forward pretty well, although at some points I had to really wonder if the whole "mystical" aspect (ghosts, for instance) really fit. At the end, though, everything made one complete circle and it was just awesome.

Also, the romantic love-story wasn't all that much in the fo...more
Chase your dreams, Lady Lark. You will catch them.
Cody Maxie
This book was interesting, I'm a musician myself so that probably helped me along, but I think this books suffers from a lot if different things.

a lot of part in this book needed more detail, like for instance when Rune tried to get into the guild, or Gyna getting caged. another thing is that the pacing seemed a little off. One thing that really got on my nerve is how Rune is trying to not end up like her mom, and she starts working in a whore house and gets lusty later in the book (at the big f...more
I always get the feeling that some high fantasy authors crank out books without much of a quality check. Just mix a few mythical creatures, magic, a quest or conspiracy, and a powerful person or two traveling incognito, and you basically have a fantasy novel. It can be done well, I guess, but The Lark and The Wren reminded me somewhat of an average story: entertaining if skimmed, containing a few frustrating cliches, and not quite meeting my standard.
May 11, 2010 Nan rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mercedes Lackey fans
I can't believe I read the whole thing.

This is another one of those books that I might have liked as a teen but really don't like as an adult. My main problem is that this book does not have a coherent plot. The characters were only mildly annoying, but the big problem is the lack of plot. This is the life story of Rune, and in that sense it could be called a Bildungsroman, but even a classic Bildungsroman like David Copperfield has a plot.
It's always nice to revisit an old favorite.

Review from 7/1/04: A reread. I absolutely adore this book--the entire series, actually, with the exception of Four and Twenty Blackbirds. I dearly wish that she would write some more in this universe. It was a very fun trip with some of my favorite characters in the world. Too bad I can't get any of the other books at the moment, them being on the other side of the ocean from me.
Surprisingly incohesive and amateurish for Mercedes Lackey. I loved the bardic aspect, but the characters were largely two-dimensional and parts of the plot (which was thin anyway) seemed out of place. I really enjoyed the short story upon which this was based, but apparently there was not enough plot to successfully flesh it out to 400 and some pages. I probably would have gone with two stars if not for the music theme.
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Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts &...more
More about Mercedes Lackey...
Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar, #1) Magic's Pawn (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #1) By the Sword (Valdemar: Kerowyn's Tale, #1) Magic's Price (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #3) Magic's Promise (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #2)

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