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The Black Swan (Fairy Tales #2)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  6,522 ratings  ·  182 reviews
Baron Eric von Rothbart - Considering his wife's untimely death the ultimate betrayal, this powerful sorcerer dedicates his life to seeking revenge against all womankind. Scouring his lands in the shape of a great bird of prey, it is his personal mission to capture women who enflame his wrath and inspire his rage for vengeance. These poor souls he turns into swans - forcin ...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Penguin Group US (first published May 1st 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Anne
Ahhh, Swan Lake...
From what I've heard it's a beautiful ballet. And maybe someday when I don't hate watching ballets so much, I'll go see it.

So, from reading the blurb on this thing, you'd think this is a story about Odette (the head swan from aforementioned ballet). Well, it's not. Yeah, she's in the story, but it's mainly told from the point of view of Odile.
Odile? Yes, Odile. And, frankly, she seemed much more interesting than the swan chick, so I'm thinking Lackey made the right choice. Sh
...more
Lauren Marrero
Can I have a little less rape in my novels? The so-called "hero" rapes a bathing gypsy girl and then tries to justify it with the rationale that she ran away rather than hide her nudity. He thought she was being coy. REALLY??? Ok, he had bad dreams after. He tried to be a nicer guy, but I will never endorse a book where the hero is a rapist.

The book was well-written and would have been a much better novel without that scene. It made the hero lose credibility, regardless of his later attempt at r
...more
Irene
Aug 06, 2008 Irene rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one I know.
I am a Swan Lake purist. I have been listening to the music since i was a wee one. I know what the story is, who the clear hero and heroine are, the villains too. This book, although ballsy to reinterpret the love story of Odette and Siegfried, makes me want to gauge out my eyes with grapefruit spoons. How can Tchaikovsky's masterpiece be turned into this drek?

If you want to see a beautiful interpretation of the story, check out instead, the wnderful Japanese anime film from the early 80's call
...more
Sarah Terese *Kili!*
So....this book surprised me.

A little bit.



Yeah...Um. Erm. So, let's just say you read the rather innocent sounding synopsis. If you're like me, you already know the basic story of Swan Lake, so you FO SHO know what you're getting yourself in to.

And, if you're ESPECIALLY like me, you also remember from your previous other encounters with remakes that the only remake you've ever liked in a million years was The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, so you have some hopes for this, though not particularly
...more
Maddie Senator
It was really nice to see a retelling of the Swan Lake story, and with Odile being more of a main character than Odette, no less! The fear Odile had for her father, Rothbart, was tangible and realistically portrayed, as well as her strong desire to please him. The background information about the kindgom was wonderful and well-described, and there were many supporting characters who played pertinent roles. My big complaint about it is Prince Siegfried. He has got to be the most lecherous, nasty ...more
Cabell Gathman
The usual Lackey fluff, but somehow less energetic than most of her efforts. Like the books from the Elemental Masters series, it's a fairytale (or fairytale-like story) retelling, but the magical system is extremely flat and never really explored much. The characters, while still tending towards melodrama in the usual Lackey style, are similarly underdeveloped, and it's hard to care too much about them. Frankly, the part of the book I enjoyed most was the loving description of the protagonist's ...more
Rhapsody
Apr 09, 2007 Rhapsody rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lackey fans
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
I was a big fan of Lackey when she was doing her early Valdemar books, but I haven't liked much of her non-Valdemar stuff and this one's no exception. Even though the setting was meant to be magical and fantastic, the whole book felt flat and mundane. The various love stories were boring. I was frustrated having a relatively powerful main character who was just a drudge for her father, and then a matchmaker for a pair of dull individuals. Even the ending was disappointing and dissatisfying.
Crystal
I really enjoyed this version of Swan Lake. Odile is one of my favorite characters and Odette and her relationship with Prince Siegfried was interesting rather than cliche and annoying. Baron Eric von Rothbart was a great villain with the most character I have seen from him in other versions. There was a more adult scene with the Prince, but I believe this actually furthers his character in a monumental way. I loved the character development in this book.
Elgalla
"Swan Lake" is my favourite ballet and I'm always pleased to watch new adaptations of it. What I found most surprising in Mercedes Lackey's version, though, was that not even for a second did I think this was an adaptation. Obviously, it follows the "Swan Lake" story very closely, but it is so beautifully written, with such convincing, wonderfully crafted characters, that it felt to me as if this was the original story and the ballet the adaptation. I loved Odile from the beginning and, even if ...more
Christine
Nov 02, 2007 Christine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 14+
Although others have called this book boring, I really liked it. In the beginning, most of the characters disgusted me, but as the book went on, it made their improvement only so much better. It was a nice book about finding oneself.
A. King
This was obviously written before the Darren Aronofsky film of 2010. A lot of people will (unsurprisingly) mistake this for the story about the ballet soloist that lost her mind.

This is a fairy tale, but a very dark one.

This story is told from the PoV of Lady Odile von Rothbart, though it tends to go from Odile to Prince Siegfried. While the ballet is not to be confused as being bright and happy (there is nothing bright and happy about it) the events in the book are an example of 'It Got Worse
...more
Sara
Enjoyable, but not anything special, I don't think. A good story, and an interesting take on Swan Lake. However, I felt like Lackey was trying to do too much - there were too many characters that she was trying to develop, and as a result, they all ended up feeling a little bit shallow. There wasn't anybody who really felt "real" to me.

I so much miss Lackey's earlier works - The Last Herald Mage trilogy, for example, or the Arrows of the Queen trilogy. I think her strengths really lie in working
...more
Aubrey
Nov 17, 2007 Aubrey rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers, maybe ballet people
Shelves: fantasy, mythology
This book is a re-telling of Swan Lake, where we actually get a little closer to the characters than say the ballet would allow. Sigfried is a bad boy, Odette isn't as perfect as she may seem, Sigfried's mother is a monster, Odile is more a victim that a malicious daughter, and Baron von Roth Bart is justified (in his mind) to act as he does. Mercedes Lackey certainly knows how to bring idealized and unanimously criticized characters to Earth so they can all be on a level playing field, and some ...more
Chris
I find this to be one of Lackey’s better novels. There is wonderful development of the members of the love triangle. It is believable that the prince and Odette fall in love. The same is true of Odile, one can see the slow burn, in particular in regards to her father’s hypocrisy. The book is feminist, but it doesn’t demonize the male characters. Additionally, the reverse is also shown – the Queen herself is just as bad as the magician. The novel is in some ways about freedom and the true nature ...more
Scott
Okay, so I'd seen Lackey bouncing around the shelves in various places I've been (how could she not be, with her army of little book minions spilling over the walls of whatever bibliography list you see of her?), but never really taken the time to look into her.

I've been on somewhat of a fairy tale binge recently, looking for more modern re-tellings that might be a little more fun in the reading. I randomly decided on Swan Lake, and a quick search brought up this one. I have to admit that I wasn
...more
Wealhtheow
A retelling of the fairy tale/ballet/whatever it is. This and the non-Disney animated movie are actually the only exposure I've had to Swan Lake, so I probably have a fairly skewed view of the story. Regardless, I always welcome classics told from the perspective of the whore/villain character.
Mary Fan
First of all, let me start by saying I entered this story totally and completely biased. I've been in love with Swan Lake since I was a toddler watching the 1981 anime version over and over again. I've also seen the ballet multiple times and plan to see it many times more.

So basically, I was going to enjoy this book no matter what because, well, SWAN LAKE. And Lackey's retelling was easy to enjoy, with its references to the ballet's nuances (pas de quatre les petites cignes!) and its lush descri
...more
Susan
Possibly the best thing about this book, which tells a lovely tale, is the gorgeous cover art by Jody A Lee.

In the UK Jon Sullivan did an equally lovely cover, so ...
Willow
Pretty good but not fantastic. Her interpretation was kind of 80's in its atmosphere and a little over-dramatic.
Katherine
I wanted to like this more than I did in the end. There's some good stuff in here! This could've been the The Mists of Avalon of Swan Lake, but just didn't quite hit the mark. The two things I would've wanted changed are:

1. The subplots being told from Siegfried's point of view. I guess they were kind of necessary to counter the subplots that are told from his mother's viewpoint? Which is one that I enjoyed and wouldn't have cut for sure, but otherwise Siegfried's story and "growth" were mostly
...more
Megan
Oct 12, 2014 Megan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fairy Tale Lovers, fans of Mercedes Lackey
Really, I press backspace on my computer keys to change the last sentence of my review and it pages backwards instead and I lose everything that I typed? That is quite annoying.

Anyway, my opinion goes like this:

1. There wasn't very much sex in the book or at least not as much as some of the other reviews make it seem like. It isn't like there is a sex scene every other page and by the time you reach the end of the book the characters are positively chaste. There is an instance of rape, but it pl
...more
Claire Smith
I love this book, and that love hasn't lessened in the ten or so years since I first read it. It's constructed very well; enough description to set a scene, well-rounded characters, a well-paced plot, and the prose is concise but evocative. It's a quick read, but Lackey packs a lot in, and doesn't skip either the plot or character development in favour of moving things along too fast.

The moralising runs the risk of being being patronising or going too far one way - that is, too heavy handedly fe
...more
Anna Walls
I really enjoyed this story. I've always believed that women can be highly unpredictable, and that a man would be the height of a fool if he tried. Even a woman predicting what another woman would do, is really very risky. People, men and women, are mostly self-motivated and self-serving. All decisions being based on what will further their goals or enhance their plans. Even long-term plans are manipulated along the way by self-serving decisions. I know, I sound so very selfish, but look deep wi ...more
Alyssa (Books Take You Places)
Originally reviewed here

The Black Swan is part of Mercedes Lackey’s Fairy Tales series and it is a loose retelling of the story of Swan Lake. Like the original story, the princess Odette is turned into a swan by a sorcerer who vows that she will be turned back into her original form if her lover, Prince Siegfriend remains faithful to her. The sorcerer, Baron Von Rothbart, uses his daughter to trick the prince into betraying Odette so that she will be forced to remain in her swan form.

I am not e
...more
Kaion
My first Mercedes Lackey novel, and I can't say I'm impressed. I'm only cursorily familiar with the story of Swan Lake, but this version didn't seem to add much of anything to the base fairy-tale-ish structure. At the beginning, the author appears to be trying to explore the power gap between the genders and the double standards to which they are held (and some of the abuse of power practiced by nobility).

However, the true plot and the drama of the ballet take forever to start (halfway through t
...more
Rachel Swords
Fans of the ballet "Swan Lake" or fairy tales, rejoice! "The Black Swan" is a wonderful adaptation of the classic story. The book is divided into two points of view: that of the prince, Siegfried, and the title character, Odile. Those familiar with the original story will note that, while there is general knowledge of the former character in the original, not much is told about the latter beyond her being the daughter of von Rothbart and her role in deceiving the prince. In "The Black Swan," how ...more
Rosa Aquafire
Finished this one, too! I listened to this in audiobook, a lot of which was done while I was laying around in misery after my wisdom teeth came out, so my memory of the middle bits are a bit fuzzy. This was also a reread, with this having been one of the books I've read and rated on goodreads before. I'm going to leave my rating the same even though if I were being totally fair I might take it down to 3 stars.

Mercedes Lackey is the one person who's influenced my life more than any other, and I c
...more
Kendra
I was in the mood for a little light reading when I ordered "Black Swan" through Inter-Library Loan (ILL). Sometimes I order ILLs simply because my college workstudy job was processing and sorting them, and I get nostalgic.

That's my problem. I'm nostalgic. And let me tell you, you should never read a book simply because you're feeling nostalgic. There has to be something else about the book--something captivating, something complex, something amusing, something puzzling, or something profound--t
...more
Bryce
At nearly 30, I think I've finally outgrown Mercedes Lackey. I've been reading her since early adolesence; along with Anne McCaffrey, she was my introduction to fantasy.

But I've reached a point -- either as a reader in general or just as a reader of her books -- that I need a lot more. Not ever story needs a happy ending. Not every feisty and headstrong (and magical) young woman ends up with a man that can truly appreciate her. Not every villian is a paper-thin caricature.

The Black Swan is anot
...more
K
I don't remember much of the fairy tale of The Black Swan and/or the ballet Swan Lake, which is suppossedly based on the tale. So I didn't know what to expect w/ this story/book. The only things that caught my interest were the author and the fact that it was a fairy tale (I know, I know, I will always be a sucker for fairy tales) :) Anywho, I must admit that I liked the story overall and found it an enjoyable read. As I stated above, although I don't remember much of the original tale, I really ...more
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Black Swan the Ballet 2 9 Sep 05, 2012 01:55AM  
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8685
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 &a ...more
More about Mercedes Lackey...

Other Books in the Series

Fairy Tales (2 books)
  • Firebird (Fairy Tales #1)
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) Arrow's Fall (Heralds of Valdemar, #3)

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