I always look forward to Mercedes Lackey’s new Tales of the 500 Kingdoms books. It’s a really fun series based on fairy-tales, and they work as stand-alone novels as well.
So, this is her newest – just came out this month. It’s kind of an unusual version of the “Beauty and the Beast” story, but very different. Bella (Ha, get it? Like Belle from the Disney movie.) is walking home from Granny’s one dark evening in her red hooded cape and is attacked by a huge wolf. Oddly, once the wolf bites her he runs away, but the next day Bella is taken captive by order of the King and brought to Duke Sebastian’s manor. Turns out there’s a chance that SHE might turn into a werewolf, and she’s going to be held there until the King is convinced she’s safe. Can she unravel the mystery surrounding her attack so that she can go home? If you’ve ever read these books before, you’d know that of course Belle’s being pushed down a fairy-tale path by The Tradition – that magical force that exists in the 500 Kingdoms that tries to make everyone fit into a fairy tale, even if it’s to the detriment of the person.
That red cape mention is pretty much the only reference to Little Red Riding Hood in the story – that fairy tale isn’t really present here. There’s also a bit of a Cinderella vibe to it too. The Beauty and the Beast story is most prominent and I have to say that the author re-interpretation of it IS really interesting. I was never quite sure where exactly she was going with it.
I was honestly a bit disappointed by this book. Bella was a hard character to get into a first, and it took almost 200 pages for the story to REALLY get under way. There was so much filler. Also there’s always a romance in the story, so I was expecting that, but it kind of happened really suddenly and didn’t fit the story very well. There was no real building to it. On the up side though, there are cool invisble servants and they were really interesting to read about.
Anyways, it kept my interest long enough for me to finish it, but it’s definitely not one of my favorites of this series. If you haven’t read any of this series before but want to (and I do highly recommend it), I recommend trying One Good Knight, Fortune’s Fool, or The Sleeping Beauty. Those are my favorites.
Sarah Says: 2 stars