The beginning of the book was a little hard to get into; the entirety of Elena's apprenticeship, while quite interesting, seemed to d...moreShort and simple:
The beginning of the book was a little hard to get into; the entirety of Elena's apprenticeship, while quite interesting, seemed to drag a lot if only because I feel like I'm reading a textbook version of "The Fae World of the Five Hundred Kingdoms" rather than experiencing this strange new world through the protagonist's eyes. Possibly, since Elena is such a book worm and logical thinker, everything that we see through her eyes are described just as technically as she perceives it. Unfortunately, while Elena is a witty and creative individual making use of her logic and knowledge, her technicalities end up causing the narration to be a little more boring that it could have been.
I've never read anything else by Mercedes Lackey, but I know she's a bit of a name in the fantasy genre, which shows in her prose and style. It just seems that nothing quite exciting really ends up happening in the story that makes it so that you "just can't wait" to pick the book back up and keep reading. (For instance: I fell asleep at least twice while reading certain parts near the beginning. I fell asleep once near the end, but that was more on my own exhaustion than due to the book's pacing since I direly wanted to finish those last two chapters just to see the conclusion of the last conflict and the entire Godmother Elena story.)
One thing I DID enjoy about this book was the world's set up as well as the magic system. Very rarely do we see any standard, unique magic systems in a lot of fantasy books anymore (although I really shouldn't make that assumption since I haven't even chipped the block of fantasy novels on my bookshelf, but whatever). I liked the entire deal with The Tradition, even if it really just feels like a fancy, more fairy tale fun way of talking about Fate with it's own twisted logic and predictable paths. I liked that Elena was a competent Godmother from day one as the apprentice, and I truly started becoming more interested in the book when Elena was finally named Godmother after her apprenticeship ended. If I had to pin point it, I'd say that that entire first half of the book detailing the Godmother apprenticeship was "just story board set up material" which would make it an extremely long way to set up the rest of the world and the story. Because for the most part, nothing really effected Elena much until after she finally became the Godmother following Madame Bella's "reign" (if that's what we can call it since Godmother's essentially are like "gods" lording over other people's lives, even IF their meddling helps to propel The Tradition that could lead to happy endings).
I will continue on with the next book in The Five Hundred Kingdoms series, if only because I've grown fond of the world that was established all too well in this first book. The fact that each book seems to begin a new story for a new protagonist is also something I look forward to experiencing. This book wasn't entirely the best, but I would point out that it isn't at all disappointing once you get into it.(less)