Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Luna (November 1, 2004)
Publisher: Luna (November 1, 2004)
In the land of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, if you can't carry out your legendary role, life is no fairy tale. . .
Elena Klovis was supposedto be her kingdom's Cinderella--until fate left her with a completely inappropriate prince! So she set out to make a new life for herself. But breaking with "The Tradition" was no easy matter--until she got a little help from her own fairy godmother. Who promptly offered Elena a most unexpected job. . .
Now, instead of sleeping in the chimney. She has to deal with arrogant, stuffed-shirt princes who keep trying to rise above their place in the tale. And there's one in particular who needs to be dealt with. . .
Sometimes a fairy godmother's work is never done. . . .
Once upon a time there was…
Well there was Elena Klovis, the girl who was supposed to be the Cinderella in her kingdom only there was one problem, the prince was still a child. So now in her early twenties she was still slaving away for her stepmother and stepsisters, cooking, cleaning, and mending the clothes. There was a time where she dreamed of love, marriage a happily ever after, now she just wanted to get away from her step family. As her stepmother has many outstanding debts they leave Elena in charge of the house as she and her daughters take off to greener pastures.
Elena watches them take off and stays on that very same spot for quite awhile, scared that her stepmother was coming back for she had plans of her own. The next day there would be a fair, one that was known for the opportunity to find a new job and that was where Elena was going to. If she needed to cook and clean and mend to the clothes it was going to be a paid job. With high hopes she rises early the next morning and walks to the fair, but as the day passes by and everyone seems to find a new job Elena has yet to be picked out of the line.
When the evening is almost over a woman appears and asks Elena if she would work for her, Elena doesn’t think twice and hops on board of the carriage. The woman introduces herself as the Fairy Godmother of Elena, in fact of the whole Kingdom and if Elena would like to become her apprentice.
That opens up the door to a whole new adventure….and a whole new tale!
I didn’t know what to expect from this novel but what I found was an author whom took the whole Fairy Tale genre a step further. With the first few pages I immediately felt an echo from my childhood as the story starts with an evil stepmother, the self absorbed stepsisters and the girl who works from dawn till dusk to get every chore done. But after a chapter or two Mercedes Lackey takes the tale in to another direction all together presenting me with an astounding well thought out Fantasy novel.
It is with Elena’s new path that you get to learn about The Tradition, an unseen force to be reckoned with as it will use its power to alter certain lives to fit a tale and how it should go. Trials and Redemption, all important issues in the Five Hundred Kingdoms and it is with the Failed Quester that the story of Elena takes a turn for the differ. Alexander is the middle son of a King and fails the test Elena provides, not only does he fail, he turns out to be a complete ass and that is what Elena turns him into.
When Elena and Alexander meet they hit it off in a very bad way but languidly the emotions start to shift and this is the beginning of an unprecedented situation. Though Elena is the center of this tale and a heroine after my own heart with hope and a boldness to seek a life of her own, there are a few well developed and enchanting secondary characters that in the end became very dear to me. It is mostly the house elves: Lily, Rose, Robin and Hob that give the household its everyday routine but with an attitude. It is the Mirror Slave Randolf (remember: mirror, mirror, on the wall…that kind of mirror) a few unicorns and an evil sorceress that complete this story.
Alexander is the hero…but before he becomes the hero he has a very long way to go. To see his path unravel; and in combination with a lively interaction between him and Elena lures you to keep flipping the pages. The passion between them is tasteful and in service of the awakening romance but with the imaginative world the author has fabricated it is not something I overly missed.
Every separate thread, every rule and each character contributes to a compelling Fantasy novel that keeps it all easy enough to follow yet imaginative to keep you wandering in the Five Hundred Kingdom. It gradually took me in its grip and from that moment kept me spellbound as to how it all would end! Mercedes Lackey wraps you up in a lush tale of fairy magic and finding love in an unexpected place.
The Fairy Godmother asks you to step up and come explore a new Kingdom!