Dorian E. Gray israfel at
Sun Jun 23 18:38:29 EDT 2002

Kathryn asked...
> You mean to say that Lackey actually *did* used to be able to write?

Personally, I'd put it more as she *can*, but currently she *isn't*. :-)

> None her books that I read in an attempt to figure out why so many
> people loved her books... none of them enabled me to figure it out.  My
> (possibly unjustified) generalization about Lackey was that she managed
> to take *out* the sense of wonder from her books, and make magic
> mundane.

Which ones did you read?  I discovered her work when I was in college, and
became a major fan, buying everything I could find by her.  But even in that
first wild enthusiasm, I saw that some books were noticeably less good than

Now, I do like books that treat magic mundanely (just as I like books where
mundane things are treated as wondrous); I'm fond of that contradiction.
But I'm not sure that (a) that's what Lackey necessarily does or (b) that's
quite what you're talking about anyway!

> If she's suffering from burnout, that could possibly explain
> it.  She wouldn't be the only one; not just the abovementioned Anne
> McCaffrey, but I'd definitely say that Andre Norton suffered from it
> too.

Well, given that writing doesn't pay that well, and you have to be pretty
prolific to make a half-decent living from it, you can see why such burn-out
happens.  (Not, of course, to say that it's always inevitable, or anything
but a Bad Thing!)
> So, if by some faint chance my local library has some older Mercedes
> Lackey, what would you reccommend as the pinnacle of her work?
> So I can give her one more try?

I'm fond of the "Last Herald-Mage" trilogy ("Magic's Pawn", "Magic's
Promise" and "Magic's Price").  They do very much appeal to the teen-angst
area - I loved them first because they reflected my own angst; I reread them
now for comfort-fodder.  I also like the later Valdemar trilogies, "Mage
Winds" and "Storm Winds" (though both have irritating flaws; I skip all of
Darkwind's chapters in the first "Mage Winds" book because he annoys me, and
the ending of "Storm Winds" is a bit anticlimactic).

For non-Valdemar stuff, I really like "Children of the Night" (urban fantasy
set in early 70s New York).  "The Fire Rose" (retelling of Beauty & the
Beast, set in early 1900s San Francisco) is also fun - but you should
probably skip "The Serpent's Shadow", which has its moments but falls down
very heavily on the ending.

If you're not already a fan, I'd also avoid the "Bardic Voices" stuff and
the modern-day elf stories; they have their moments, but they probably
wouldn't attract you.  I find myself reading a lot of her stuff almost more
for the setting than anything else, now.  She does do setting well (and as a
writer, it's something I'm bad at, so I'm trying to figure out how to do

Hope some of this helps...

Until the sky falls on our heads...


To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list