Dorian E. Gray israfel at
Mon Jun 24 15:03:17 EDT 2002

Kathryn said...

> I've read, if I recall correctly, a few of the urban elves stories, and
> also a story co-authored with Andre Norton, called Elvenblood, which
> treated the reader like an idiot, in the sense that I'd figured out that
> the heroine had Special Powers about three incidents before the heroine
> herself did. Maybe that just means that I was too intelligent for the
> book.

Well, I quite liked the ones with Andre Norton (there's a second one called
"Elvenbane"), but again, they're not ones I'd recommend to someone trying
the author for the first time!  And I have to admit, I very often figure out
the Secret Powers/Flaw/Maguffin rather before the characters do (in general,
I mean), so that aspect didn't terribly bother me.  More par for the course,
> Oddly enough, another book which she co-wrote, this time with Anne
> McCaffrey, I'm actually very fond of, and that's "The Ship Who
> Searched", which seems as if they managed to relieve each others'
> burnout, at least for that novel.

Oh yes, that is a really good one.  The best of that series, I think, though
"The City Who Fought" (AMC with S. M. Stirling) isn't bad.  The one done
with Margaret Ball, however, is terrible!
> > 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.
> I think I'd rather read a book where mundane things are treated as
> wondrous -- one reason why I'm so awfully fond of "The Napoleon of
> Notting Hill".

Haven't read that one - must look out for it!

> I think there's a bit of difference between having magic as an everyday
> part of life (mundane in that sense) as distinct from making magic,
> well, *boring*.  Mechanical.  Not creative.  I don't know if I can put
> my finger on it... but, say, even though, for example, magic is part of
> everyday life in Ingary, it's hardly mechanical or boring to go hopping
> about the marshes in seven-league boots chasing falling stars, is it?
> While, as a contrast, healing someone's wounds by squirting some
> internal Power through your hands with a pretty light show *ought* to be
> wonderous, but ends up not being so, not the way it was written in
> "Bedlam Boyz", at least.

Okay, yes, I see what you mean.  Even if magic is normal, it shouldn't be
boring.  I don't think the magic in Lackey's elf books is handled at all
well (though, as an aside, IIRC "Bedlam Boyz" is by Ellen Guon alone -
though connected to "Knight of Ghosts and Shadows" and "Summoned to
Tourney").  But again, I'm also less fond of those books because I don't
much like elves!

If you like urban fantasy, I do think "Children of the Night" is the best of
Lackey's efforts in that direction - for one thing, I like how she
translates the heroine's fear into some rather shiny magic!

> Thanks, I'll see if I can track down the Last Herald-Mage then.

Just be aware that it *is* heavy on the teen angst!  It helps to read it
with a degree of nostalgia for that period of one's life. :-)  (Though there
is a funny aside in the last volume where the hero realises he's whining and
makes a comment about how whenever he's tired, he reverts to being a bratty

> Ah well, I fell down then, because the modern-day elf stories are
> probably what I've read the most of her stuff, and kept on getting
> dissappointed.  Then again, I've yet to find something to top Emma
> Bull's "War For The Oaks", really.

I love that book!  And am still trying to track down my own copy of it.  (If
anyone has a spare, I can give it a very good home...)

Until the sky falls on our heads...


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