Mercedes Lackey,
The Firebird
(Tor, 1997)

The Firebird was the first book I read by Mercedes Lackey, and it proved to be a wonderful introduction to her unique attention to detail and readability.

The original fairy tale is full of cliches -- the beautiful but bland princess, the heroic young prince, talking animals and unlikely happenings. Lackey transforms these into a full-bodied and enchanting (though not very realistic) fairy tale set in a Russia filled with perilous magical beasts and sorcerers.

One of Lackey's greatest talents is embellishing, and the many descriptions in The Firebird add to the charm and semi-believable fairy tale background. Oh, and I loved the surprise twist of the ending -- a just-right departure from the standard Grimm version.

If you like the Russian mythology and ambiance in The Firebird, Josepha Sherman's The Shining Falcon is definitely worth the time to read.

by Jennifer Mo
8 July 2006

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