Our contributor this week is one Mieneke, a newer but very welcome presence in the blogosphere. Her blog is A Fantastical Librarian, and she posts on Twitter as @Pallekenl. She has chosen to talk about Mercedes Lackey.
Choosing Mercedes Lackey as the subject for this feature wasn’t difficult. No other author takes up as much shelf space in my bookcases as she does. Her books are my comfort reads; when I feel down, when I just want to read something I know I’ll enjoy, her stories always are exactly what the doctor prescribed. Consequently I’ve read most of her books several times.
Lackey is a prolific writer, who writes across many sub-genres. Her work is easily accessible and her writing styling distinctive. This is illustrated by the many co-authored works she’s written; no matter who she’s writing with you always know you’re reading a Lackey novel. Her style is eminently readable and the tone light. You won’t find a lot of dark and gritty here! This is not to say that they have a happy ending by default though. However many times I’ve read the books, there are still scenes that make me well up every time I read them.
She is probably best known for her VALDEMAR novels, which focus on the Heralds of Valdemar and their Companions. Often featuring adolescents who bond these magical, telepathic more-than-just-horses, the themes of these books tend to be about finding yourself, accepting who you are and growing up. Though these are oft-written about themes, Lackey never bores me with them and is very good at adding a twist. These themes are not just found in the VALDEMAR novels, but pervade most of Lackey’s work, which is why they are often well suited to the young adult reader. Other (though by no means all) multi-volume series are the books set in the ELVES ON THE ROAD universe, the ELEMENTAL MASTERS series and the tales of the FIVE HUNDRED KINGDOMS.
With so many different sub-genres to choose from, there are many places to start in on Ms Lackey’s books. If you’re interested in the VALDEMAR novels, I’d say start with the first book published in that setting, Arrows of the Queen. If you’d rather start with something non-horsey and YA, I’d recommend Joust. This is the story of a young slave boy and his dream of becoming a dragon jouster. If you’re more into urban fantasy, I’d recommend Burning Water, the first of the DIANA TREGARDE books. If you like re-workings of fairytales I’d suggest starting with The Serpent’s Shadow or for a more humorous approach with The Fairy Godmother. I would recommend not starting with any of the VALDEMAR anthologies though, if you’re unfamiliar with Ms. Lackey’s work, since some background knowledge of Valdemar helps in appreciating them.
If you are in need of some literary chocolate when you’re having a bad day, look no further than the works of Mercedes Lackey. Try at least one of her books and I’ll bet you, like with any good chocolate, you’ll want more!
If you’d like to contribute a post to this series, please get in touch.