I've gone off on a bit of a fairy tale jaunt during the past few days. I pulled out The Tale of the Firebird and posted a glimpse of my gorgeously illustrated copy of that Russian folktale by Gennady Spirin the other day. Apparently I hadn't satiated my desire for a bit of the faerie, so I picked up The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey. What a pleasant surprise it turned out to be!
The Fairy Godmother is the first in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series. This book appears, at first glance, to be a re-telling of the Cinderella fairy tale but after reading just a few short pages I realized that this is no traditional re-telling. In fact, Lackey breaks with tradition and, well, writes about breaking with tradition.
Bits and bobs of many different fairy tales appear throughout The Fairy Godmother, but Lackey weaves a new tale and those who like to buck tradition will enjoy it. Traditionalists should also enjoy this book for the many familiar elements included. Princesses in need of rescue. Champions on quest. Dragons, fairies, elves, and evil sorcerers. And, of course, fairy godmothers. Just don't expect these characters to toe the line.
Ah. There is also a happy ending, and, as one of the characters says:
"To happy endings, however they come about!"
"Fantasy for me has always gone far beyond the magic rings and castles of the classical fairy tale, although heaven knows I love the classical fairy tales! To write or enjoy fantasy requires an open mind and heart, and the ability to believe that things are not always what they seem."
-- Mercedes Lackey