A vast, vast improvement on earlier books in the series, though that is faint praise, indeed. (And yet, and yet I still read them all.) The pacing isA vast, vast improvement on earlier books in the series, though that is faint praise, indeed. (And yet, and yet I still read them all.) The pacing is still weird, but Lackey went with the bold choice of actually having things happen at multiple points during the story. In fact, I somewhat wonder if this is the start of another sub-arc in the overall Elemental Masters series, as otherwise there are large swathes of the book that seem disconnected from each other. The training montage/lavish house party/wallowy descriptions of luxury and food at the heroine's new home base works much, much better if it's the origin story for this heroine. One of the other strengths of this book over previous - the jettisoning of the strict adherence to romance novel relationship pacing - also makes me suspect future books about Rosa, who is also one of the least irritating heroines in this series in quite some time. Rosa will get her tied-with-a-bow happy ending at some point, just not yet. Which is good. Lackey doesn't compromise Rosa's established character traits to force a romance happy ending, which makes for an overall better book.
So, hey. Hope for the future! Because of course I will still be reading. ...more
If TV Tropes and the [Color] Fairy books had a romance novel for a baby and dressed it in nothing but Lisa Frank-designed onesies, it would be this boIf TV Tropes and the [Color] Fairy books had a romance novel for a baby and dressed it in nothing but Lisa Frank-designed onesies, it would be this book. It is not entirely un-Xanth-like, albeit thankfully free of Xanth's whiff of pedophilia.
The driving force behind this universe is the idea that the fairy tale equivalent of TV Tropes must be fulfilled and what all the implications of that spin out to be. Blah blah romance blah blah fantasy world building blah blah. But, seriously, once I twigged to the inescapability of tvtropes.com no matter the universe, everything else was irrelevant and hysterical. It's bog-standard Mercedes Lackey characters with definite romance novel bones underneath the entertainingly fantasy/meta world built atop of it, and the hero's an egregious dick with explicit rape on his mind at one point who doesn't grovel near enough for my taste, and I'd be hard-pressed to call it good, but it certainly entertained me for an evening. ...more
In the Grand Scheme of Dragon-y Books, this one is, like, the polar opposite of the Pern novels. Yes, the dragons are awesome, but don't read this oneIn the Grand Scheme of Dragon-y Books, this one is, like, the polar opposite of the Pern novels. Yes, the dragons are awesome, but don't read this one for the dragons. Read this one for the alternate history disguised as a second world fantasy and the feminism, and you will be well-rewarded....more
Intriguing set up, and I'm even down with the extensive, loving food and beverage descriptions, but I could. not. deal. with a stereotypical Alpha MalIntriguing set up, and I'm even down with the extensive, loving food and beverage descriptions, but I could. not. deal. with a stereotypical Alpha Male Romance Hero (also pronounced "raging dickweed") in my otherwise enjoyable fantasy. I mean, it was to the point of almost making me wonder if it was a parody, or poking fun at Twilight and the vampire sleep-stalking and controlling and isolating, but thanks to a quick skim of other goodreads' reviews, I'm confident enough in it not being a "see what was wrong there" situation or taking the piss or in some other way showing that Matthew's violent mood swings and stalking and otherwise bad, bad behavior are not good, romantic things or otherwise narratively justified, even though he's the hottest vampire with the coldest body temperature ever omg. Just - ew....more
Yep, still reading these terrible, terrible books. Still enjoying them enough to keep on, though. What is remarkable about this one is how it seizes oYep, still reading these terrible, terrible books. Still enjoying them enough to keep on, though. What is remarkable about this one is how it seizes on the trend from several of the previous, in which nothing really happens. Or, well, stuff happens, even on a regular basis, but the rise and fall of action is negligible; plot points are tossed about carelessly, and the drama! and tension! that you can see coming from the second chapter really only coalesce in the last twenty pages and are neatly resolved as always.
That being said, I did enjoy much of the non-narratively-important happening of stuff. It reminded me a bit of The Fire Rose, or at least the bits I enjoyed most about that one (which, come to think of it, was really the first in this series), in that it was a very comfortable book, in and around the drama! and plot! and just reading about people having a Christmas and New Years celebration which is atmospheric but entirely irrelevant to pretty much everything else in the book is kind of soothing. Lingering, loving detail is spent on a train journey, the narrative importance of which was pretty much, "They got from A to B. It took a long time. They met a guy." Which takes, like, almost as many pages as multiple final confrontations/battles.
Oh, Mercedes Lackey. That pretty much could be the entire review, just, "Oh, Mercedes Lackey." And, well, you'd know what I mean, wouldn't you?...more