skygiants: Koizumi Kyoko from Twentieth Century Boys making her signature SHOCKED AND HORRIFIED face (wtf is this)
I have a vague mission to clean out some of the drawers in my room at my parents' house. I didn't get much time to poke through things this time around, but during a cursory drawer investigation I discovered in my 9th-grade Latin notebook a horrifying treasure trove.

Doodles, circa 2000 )

As a sidenote, I found this gallery of wonders in a drawer that also contained a.) a very argumentative draft of a co-written melodrama about WWII, circa 2002, and b.) four handwritten pages of a fantasy story about four quarreling siblings who gain magical rings, at a guess written approximately circa 1998, which ends abruptly and is followed by an also handwritten poster reading 'END THE DEATH PENALTY' above a drawing of a bloody axe. I forgot to take a photo of that particular masterpiece.
skygiants: the Phantom of the Opera, reaching out (creeper of the opera)
Twice recently [personal profile] rymenhild has brought joy into my life. The first time was when I found out that there was a Valdemar ficathon scheduled and emailed her about it. She explained to me that the Valdemar fandom had experienced a small explosion, and the ficathon was in fact the celebration of a victory won by an anonymous fail_fandomanon person, known only as Vanyel's Campaign Manager, who after much successful lobbying and quoting of Mercedes Lackey's loving depictions of Vanyel's tragedy at last saw Vanyel Ashkevron crowned the Woobiest Character Ever.

This is so appropriate that I don't really have words to express it. The nineties have returned -- the once and future nineties -- and Vanyel reigns enthroned, as always was destined, from the beginning to the end of time, below a banner that says "Saddest of all the medium-length* tales ever told."

*you know, the ones appropriate for a three-volume novel in mass-market paperback form

The second time was today when she told me that Frank Wildhorn -- my favorite-least-favorite composer of musical theater, author of such enduring works as The Scarlet Pimpernel: The Musical, Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical, and Death Note: The Musical -- just got married to takarazuka actress Yoka Wao, known for playing such roles as the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, and Dracula in Wildhorn's own Dracula: The Musical. That last one isn't even a takarazuka show! They just cast her as Dracula anyway, I guess because she's just that good at incarnating seductive evil in a tuxedo.

When Andrew Lloyd Webber cast his girlfriend as Christine, that was creepy. This? This is AMAZING. Frank Wildhorn is a man who is living his dream, and I have never liked him better.
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (fakir you freak)
I spent the new year rereading that classic work of modern literature, Mercedes Lackey's Arrows of the Queen series. I would like to blame this on [personal profile] genarti, whose Valdemar fic I betaed for Yuletide, but in fact I think I ended up rereading more Valdemar than she did, so...uh. ANYWAY.

These books are notable for basically being the platonic ideal of sparkly wish fulfillment, heavily tempered with over-the-top angst. Our Heroine Talia is raised in a sexist, abusive family within a sexist, abusive subculture; then a sparkly magical horse comes to find her and soulbond with her and tell her that not only is she one of the magically special destined heroes known as Heralds, she is in fact the most magically special Herald there is.

But not just that! The plot of the whole first book is pretty much just this conversation repeated over and over again:

TALIA: Wow, I feel so alone and so isolated and so much like a failure and I don't talk to anybody about my real feelings because I'm so afraid of rejection. D:
OTHER CHARACTER: Talia, you know, it's so weird, but you're so kind and understanding and patient and empathic and wise beyond your years, I just feel like we're SOUL-FRIENDS, like HEART-SIBLINGS, like you understand me better than EVERYONE ELSE I KNOW. I realize we met last month. AND YET.
TALIA: ...I'm not one hundred percent sure how this happened, given that I spend pretty much all my time not opening up to people, but cool, sure!

In her free time Talia is almost murdered and is rescued by all the people who now love her, and embarks on some politically significant babysitting. And I will say, now that I am older, I appreciate a lot more how all of Talia's very domestic skills -- babysitting! sewing! doing chores! earnestly listening to people's problems! -- are given the same heroic narrative weight as dramatic battle scenes and so on.

...that said, who can forget the heroic and emotional climax of Arrows of the Queen?

KEREN, TALIA'S LESBIAN BEST FRIEND: The love of my life has been killed and now I'm emotionally unstable and suicidally depressed!
THE HERALDS: Talia! What do we do?
TALIA: With my magic emotional powers, I sense that ... we must ... QUICK, THROW ANOTHER LESBIAN AT HER!

So Talia finds the only other lesbian in the books and basically chucks her at Keren and saves the day, thus proving that any problem can be solved if you throw enough lesbians at it.

(But, I mean, that is always sort of how trauma works in the books -- it lasts for exactly long enough to milk the maximum level of angst out of it, but as soon as it's no longer narratively convenient, it's GONE LIKE THE WIND. See also: Talia's magically disappearing PTSD at the end of the third book.)

Then comes the second book, which is basically the story of Talia's extended magical depressive spiral on tour around Valdemar with her mentor, Super Sexy Kris. At the end of the book Talia has a SOUL-FRIENDS-with-benefits relationship with Super Sexy Kris and better self-esteem, which is good, because hoo boy, if you thought Arrow's Flight was an angst vortex, wait until Arrow's Fall!

Arrow's Fall is half about Talia's relationship drama with Kris' best friend, Less Sexy Outside But More Than Angsty Enough To Be Sexy Anyways Dirk. Talia and Dirk have spoken about three times total, but they can't stop thinking about each other and everybody knows they'll be in magical lifebonded love if they ever actually manage to have another conversation.

ALAS, then this happens:

KRIS: Dirk and Talia, sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G!
DIRK: So hey buddy, did you and Talia ever ...
KRIS: Sure we did! We're good friends, it was no big! But anyway, about the fact that you and Talia should TOTALLY get married --
DIRK: omg Talia loves Kris omg Kris loves Talia omg Kris is so much hotter than me too omg how can I stand in his way I want him to be happy but I also want Talia to love me I'M BEING TORN APAAAAAAAART

And so Dirk spends most of the first half of the book angsting, pining, boozing, and running away from Talia or Kris when they try talk to him like a normal human being. Neither Kris, who is Dirk's best friend and knows his issues better than anybody else, nor MAGICALLY EMPATHIC TALIA can figure out why this should be so, because if they did it would end the big misunderstanding and where would the plot be?

And then the second half of the book happens and Talia is being held captive in a really gratuitous torture dungeon, which, on the one hand, is annoying because I always feel like you should avoid having your protagonists gruesomely broken in gratuitous torture dungeons whenever possible, and on the other hand is annoying because the villains' evil plans as monologued to Talia make literally zero sense, but on the third hand, it's annoying because the sudden arrival of an EVEN BIGGER BOATLOAD OF ANGST works to resolve things without ANYBODY EVER SPEAKING TO EACH OTHER LIKE AN ADULT.

. . . oh, how I ate these books up. And let's be real: my inner twelve-year-old still does. HELL YEAH, Dirk and Talia have the sparkliest wedding!

The worst bit comes at the end, though, though, when all of a sudden you are ambushed by a twenty-page compilation of Mercedes Lackey's filk about everybody's feelings, which, amazingly, manages to be even more over-the-top than the novels themselves. Even as an eleven-year-old, I did pick up one important lesson from Mercedes Lackey: DON'T INCLUDE YOUR OWN POETRY OR FILK IN YOUR NOVEL. It will never work out well in the long run.
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (fakir you freak)
So when I got my Kindle, [personal profile] genarti bought me a digital version of The Black Gryphon as an inaugural bit of nostalgia to put on it. The most important thing about The Black Gryphon obviously is that it is the only Mercedes Lackey book to feature NOT ENOUGH DUDE.

-- okay, there are a couple new people around here now, so I feel justified in copy/pasting this joke again for people who were not around last year when [personal profile] jothra and I went on one of our regularly scheduled nostalgic Mercedes Lackey reminiscences:

"Remember how she had all those animal people as love interests? Part-animal people? But somehow it was never a problem for sexytimes, because they were only part animal, and -"
"JUST ENOUGH DUDE!"
"YES! JUST ENOUGH DUDE in the place where it counted!"


But alas! In The Black Gryphon, a hot lady gryphon, due to a misunderstanding, tackles a human dude for sexytimes and he has to spend several embarrassing moments explaining to this poor insecure lady gryphon that NO, REALLY, IT'S NOT HER, IT'S HIM, HE WOULD TOTALLY HIT THAT IF HE COULD BUT HE HAS JUST NOT GOT THE RIGHT BITS AND PERHAPS THEY WOULD BE BETTER OFF WITH THEIR OWN SPECIES, and it was deeply awkward for all concerned, including the reader.

This is basically notable for being a speciesist distinction that Mercedes Lackey will never make again. (Well, I guess the Herald who is in love with his horse never actually gets it on with the horse. I think. BUT MAYBE I'M WRONG.)

I mean, I guess there was also a plot in this book, sort of. Basically there's some kind of giant terrible magic war going on, and Our Heroes are Skandranon, who is a saucy gryphon, and his bff Amberdrake, who is a sexy masseuse-psychologist-courtesan with magical healing skills and an angsty and exoticised past -- basically the tragic dude equivalent of Inara from Firefly.

Then they meet Zhaneel, hot lady gryphon with low self-esteem, but she gets magically better as soon as she has a talk with magical psychologist Amberdrake (once they have gotten the unfortunate Not Enough Dude incident out of the way). And then Amberdrake meets Winterhart, another lady with low self-esteem that starts getting magically better as soon as he starts hanging out with her, because that's what sexy masseuse-psychologist-courtesans do. And it turns out Amberdrake and Winterhart are magical soulmates, and Amberdrake gives Zhaneel some terrible advice about pretending she doesn't like Skandranon to get him interested in her and then they're grypn soulmates and that's all good. Oh, and the leader of the war/creator of the gryphons has been creepily controlling them by not giving them the secret to have baby gryphons, but it turns out he was just doing it for their own good, and when they steal it back he's all "lol you wacky gryphon scamps!" and everything's still fine.

But in case you were worried everything was going too well, Winterhart's Evil Ex-Boyfriend That Everyone Hated and Zhaneel's Evil Former General That Everyone Hated get together and DRAMATIC PLOT TWISTS OF BETRAYAL THAT SURPRISED NO ONE, because the only evil people in the world are the people our protagonists disliked from the beginning for their convenient lack of any redeeming traits. At least that's how it works in proto-Valdemar!

. . . so I guess that only sort of counts as a plot. Oh well!
skygiants: Yankumi from Gosuken going "..." (dot dot dot)
The thing about Mercedes Lackey's Four and Twenty Blackbirds is that it commits the cardinal sin for a Mercedes Lackey book: it's boring.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds is technically the fourth-fifth-last-whatever in Lackey's magic bards series, but the only thing any bards do in it is get brutally murdered, so I'm not sure if it counts.

Yes, this is a murder mystery! About a MAGICAL SERIAL KILLER! Lackey has clearly read a bunch of pop-psychology books about serial killers and she is very eager to have one-half the Protagonist Team, Tal Rufen the Good Cop, explain all about his serial-killer-related learnings at every opportunity. When a lady is stabbed by a THRUST from a LONG OBJECT, it could be symbolic of something! Who knew, right?

Anyway, Tal Rufen treks to the city of Kingsford and starts working for Lady Judge Priest Ardis -- who is the token Good Priest of the whole series -- to solve the crime! Meanwhile, Mercedes Lackey, in her infinite wisdom, has decided to give us lengthy viewpoint segments from the killer's Evil Accomplice, which means that about 60% of the book reads like this:

THE MURDERERS: Hello, reader! Let me tell you our names and how we commit the crimes!
THE GOOD GUYS: Gosh, I wonder if the murderer could be [murderer] -- no, that's unpossible. Oh, dear, is that two more dead bodies?
THE MURDERERS: la la la murder murder murder la la
THE GOOD GUYS: A clue? No, wait, a dead end. Well, we're still pretty sure it couldn't be [murderer], so at this point we're just plain stumped.

This makes for THRILLING AND SUSPENSEFUL READING, let me tell you. In case you are wondering what exactly our heroes are doing all this time besides scratching their heads and going "gosh, this is a toughie," they're having . . . a romance! Sort of.

And here also is the frustrating thing, because, man, the unspoken romance between an awesome lady priest and her competent and loyal subordinate that can never be acknowledged because of their respective mutual positions and responsibilities and the fact that their life missions are more important to them? Oh, come on, guys, that hits like ten of my narrative kinks! In a good book I would be ALL OVER that.

But this is not a good book, so about ten minutes after they meet, the protagonists each start wondering to themselves if maybe they should throw away everything they've both accomplished in their lives and run away to start up, like, a sexytimes-allowing detective agency or something . . . AND THEN. THE DENOUEMENT.

Okay technically this is spoilery, if anybody cares )

The other important thing to note is that Ardis has a secretary called Kayne, and every time she appeared I misread her name as Kanye, and those mental images were probably the most entertaining thing about the book.
skygiants: Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing holding up a finger and looking comically sage (explaining the logics)
A Cast of Corbies was always my favorite of the Mercedes Lackey bard books as a kid. Why? Because FAKE SHAKESPEARE is why.

Our cast looks like this:

RAVEN: a ~sexy one-eyed mysterious gypsy musician~ with ~wanderlust~
MAGPIE: a feisty but also sensible but also naive musician who just wants to settle down and have some peace and stability
DUKE ARDEN: a good duke! who is also a good man! Just in case you were wondering!
REGINA SHEVRON: the duke's brilliant actress mistress but they are REALLY IN LOVE!
SOME FREE-SPIRITED MUSICIANS: some free-spirited musicians
SOME WACKY THEATER PEOPLE: some wacky theater people
SOME EVIL PREJUDICED RELIGIOUS PEOPLE: some evil prejudiced religious people

Raven and Magpie are our designated protagonists and therefore designated to have bickery sexual tension, although unless without Mercedes Lackey pointing out that it's sexual tension it pretty much just looks like bickering from people who don't like each other very much.

Anyway, our designated protagonists and some free-spirited musicians meet up with some wacky theater people and promptly get recruited to play music for the local Duke's production of Fake Shakespeare, which is titled something along the lines of As Cymbeline Likes His Twelfth Night.

There they meet Regina! They are initially wary of her until

REGINA: Hey Raven, I guess you probably think I'm pretty high and mighty, what with being a duke's mistress and all.
RAVEN: I mean, I don't know, you seem pretty nice?
REGINA: Well, guess what! I had a rough childhood on the streets!
RAVEN: omg congratulations on surviving your rough childhood let's be besties!
REGINA: :D

This is extra hilarious because this is what Regina does in every first conversation. Witness:

REGINA: Hey Magpie, my empathy sense are tingling. Did you, by any chance, have a rough childhood?
MAGPIE: omg I did I was raised by an alcoholic
REGINA: Guess what! I had a rough childhood too! I was a street urchin!
MAGPIE: omg we have so much in common let's be besties!
REGINA: :D
MAGPIE: You know, I've never had a female friend before
REGINA: Man, you should have told them about your rough childhood! Trust me, it works every time.

(Magpie and Regina don't actually talk onscreen about much besides dudes for the rest of the novel, but hey, that's a Bechdel pass!)

And then everyone spends the next two hundred pages wandering around the theater going "Gosh, wouldn't it suck if this place caught ON FIRE?" and "man, I wonder if the evil prejudiced religious people have the power to set things on FIRE!" with occasional breaks for "Regina looks super hot in breeches, guys. And by that I mean, hot like FIRE."

I'm not going to directly spoil what happens at the end, but . . . three guesses, and the first two don't count.

I will leave you with this piece of excellent relationship advice, direct from Mercedes Lackey!

MERCEDES LACKEY: Incompatible life goals, class differences, solemn vows that you'll never ever get married -- as long as you've been set ON FIRE together, none of these things matter. Recommended for everyone! It's better than couples therapy!

(BECCA: Mercedes Lackey, do you just really, really enjoy ending your books with dramatic cities on fire?
MERCEDES LACKEY: Look, I couldn't get the one thousand elephants, okay?)
skygiants: Hohenheim from Fullmetal Alchemist with tears streaming down his cheeks; text 'I'm a monsteeeer' (man of constant sorrow)
Well, you guys got the teaser trailer last week -- and everyone who guessed what book that line came from gets a prize! The prize of knowing your inner thirteen-year-old is way stronger than you want it to be -- so I guess today it is time to talk about Mercedes Lackey's The Fire Rose! (Copy courtesy of the fiendish [personal profile] silveraspen.)

At its heart, The Fire Rose is a Beauty and the Beast story. Beauty, or Rose, is a PLUCKY FEMINIST TURN-OF-THE-NINETEENTH-CENTURY GRAD STUDENT fallen on hard times.

ROSE: Oh no! My father is dead and I can no longer afford to finish my dissertation on medieval literature! Clearly the only option is SUICIDE.
A MYSTERIOUS ADVERTISEMENT: Hello! I am a rich, sexy rail baron looking for a tutor for my two fake children. It is very important that my fake children learn ancient Latin, classical Greek, medieval French, German and Latin, and ancient Egyptian and ancient Celtic languages for sinister magic purposes. Bonus points for sexy impoverished ladies with no family who will miss them if they disappear.
ROSE: . . . well, at least I'll be making some money. I can buy an opera ticket and a fancy dress and commit suicide in the middle of the second act, in style!

So Rose jaunts out to San Francisco, where she gets to her new rooms and hears a mysterious voice coming at her through a speaking tube! The voice belongs to THE BEAST, aka JASON CAMERON, a sexy firebending rail baron who has accidentally turned himself into a wolf FROM THE NIPPLES UP and THE KNEES DOWN. The rest of him is totally normal. Well, besides the tail.

A tale as old as time . . . I guess . . . )
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (fakir you freak)
Before I reread The Eagle and the Nightingale I went back and found my copy of The Lark and the Wren, because I wanted to remember how Wacky Bardic Fantasyland worked without being distracted by JUST ENOUGH DUDE.

And I might not have gotten a chance to make this properly clear in the last review, but I feel like it's important to note that Wacky Bardic Fantasyland is the most comfortably low-rent fantasy universe imaginable. It is full of every possible cliche. It is also called Alanda, because Mercedes Lackey could not be bothered to come up with a country name that was literally not just "A LAND."

The Lark and the Wren doesn't really have a plot, per se. The first part is about our plucky musical teenaged heroine Rune running away from home and trying to become a Bard, in the course of which quest she learns that:

- the pseudo-Catholic Church is evil and oppressive and spies on everyone
- prostitution is terrible, except when you're hanging out with the special CLASSY FEMINIST PROSTITUTES who are totally happy with what they do and only entertain sweet-hearted guys who sometimes just come to play board games with them, and then it's totally okay
- because she's a good person, all the other good and righteous people in A LAND will like her on sight, and all the bad and/or annoying people in A LAND will dislike her on sight, and vice versa!

The second half of the book comes after she has tried out for the Bardic Guild and learned that they are all terrible people and then joined up with the Free Bards, who are composed mostly of free-spirited magical mysterious musical Gypsies, although their leader is a middle-aged white dude called Talaysen who is the best of the best of the musicians ever.

The second part of the book is pretty much a hundred pages of this:

TALAYSEN: Oh no, I am lusting after Rune! But she is a teenager! And my student! I'M A MONSTEEEEEEER.
RUNE: Hey sexy, what is it going to take to get your pants off? I will strip naked and get in your bed if I have to.
TALAYSEN: . . . Rune clearly does not understand that her simple country friendliness has the potential for misinterpretation. :( :( :(

True story: I remembered Talaysen as being at least forty. [personal profile] varadia remembered him as being over fifty. [personal profile] jothra informed us that he was only thirty-five.

"THERE IS NO WAY," I said. "He was like a million years old!"

But it turns out that Talaysen was actually only thirty-five, it's just that it was hard not to remember him as like a million years old because he KEPT GOING ON ABOUT IT. Cheer up, Talaysen! Yes, the age difference is problematic, but at least you're not a giant bird.

Anyway then there is a whole slew of helpful cliches involving a STORM and EVIL ELVES and NEAR HYPOTHERMIA and I MUST GET NAKED TO SAVE HER LIFE, and then after all this is sorted out they kind of stumble into the third part of the book, which involves a lost prince and magical assassins and an anti-coup and all this other suddenly very dramatic after the first four hundred pages of Rune tooling around with her fiddle. However I don't mind the sudden DRAMA, because it is also actually kind of weirdly adorable, and Mercedes Lackey is trying really hard to subvert cliches. Given that A LAND is made up 100% of cliches, this is sort of difficult, but it's nice to see the effort!

Now I am trying to decide if I want to reread the rest of the Wacky Bardic Fantasyland books now that I've begun. DON'T YOU JUDGE ME. TASTE IS FOR THE WEAK.
skygiants: Mae West (model lady)
So a few weeks back, [personal profile] jothra had come down to visit and we were hanging out in my living room, and the conversation turned to Mercedes Lackey and other books that we read when we were thirteen, as it so often does.

The relevant dialogue went something like this:

"Remember how she had all those animal people as love interests? Part-animal people? But somehow it was never a problem for sexytimes, because they were only part animal, and -"
"JUST ENOUGH DUDE!"
"YES! JUST ENOUGH DUDE in the place where it counted!"

And then we proceeded to shriek "JUST ENOUGH DUDE!" at each other all the rest of the week, because we are twelve.

The best example of this phenomenon was definitely The Fire Rose, in which the hero gets cursed with a terrible hairy wolfy appearance . . . from the nipples up and the knees down. In between, he's totally normal!

I have sadly lost my copy of The Fire Rose, but, as it happens, I do have my copy of The Eagle and the Nightingale, the one where the hero is basically a man-sized raptor who happens to have a penis. Not only that, but some strange impulse had prompted me to bring it up from me when I came back from Philadelphia the day before Jo actually arrived in New York. Jo also had her copy at home, so the path before us had clearly been prepared.

I am now going to present a book review via VERY SERIOUS text message. )
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (Default)
So [livejournal.com profile] genarti and I were talking about the AMAZING TASTE we had as thirteen-year-olds last night, and one thing led to another, and, to make a long story short, Gen has just given me A PRESENT that I generously feel the need to share with you all!


[livejournal.com profile] genarti:
"I am beautiful," Firesong said, admiring a mirror while he adjusted the silver crest of his glorious hair. On his shoulder, Aya preened his own wing.
"I am more beautiful," sighed Edward to an exquisitely crafted pool of water. "But my heart is a monster's. This is the gorgeous chiseled face of a killer, Firesong."
"Now, now, boys, you're both pretty," snapped Elspeth, and she stormed off to soak in a hot spring.
"She's got a point," said Firesong.
And then they made out.

THERE YOU GO.

(Gen says, to save what little reputation she has left, I should add that I requested it, but actually what I requested was Edward Cullen/Vanyel. I am okay with her edits though.)

ANYWAY, in honor of this gem, I am declaring OPEN SEASON on hilarious crossover pairings of overwrought YA heroes and heroines. EMBRACE YOUR INNER THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLDS, MY FRIENDS. (Gen has also promised to try her hand at Edward Cullen/Neko-sensei! >:D)

*

Jul. 14th, 2009 11:11 am
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (et je te suis)
A couple weeks back, [livejournal.com profile] genarti, [livejournal.com profile] rushin_doll and I went to go see Swan Lake at the Metropolitan Opera.

First of all, it was 100% amazing and I am now totally bitten by the ballet bug - which I can already tell is going to be a tragically expensive passion, but I DON'T CARE. The swan chorus: beautiful! Odette dancing her transformation into a swan: insanely beautiful! Villainous Von Rothbart being a total pimp with all of Siegfried's ladies and Siegfried's mom and then literally SMOKEBOMBING his way out of the scene: insanely HILARIOUS! (And, uh, that is not even factoring in how I was clutching Gen's arm every ten minutes hissing "that's the music from the bit that Kraehe dances to with Mytho! And that's from the bit that Tutu does her solo to, and HEY LOOK that's the exact choreography oh man!" I am not proud of being that ridiculously obsessed, but Princess Tutu remains my One True Fictional Love at this point in time and I can't help it.)

Anyway, after seeing the show, I had an overwhelming urge to reread Mercedes Lackey's retelling, The Black Swan, which I first read during my Lackey-devouring phase as a thirteen-year-old. Basically, the story of The Black Swan is "It's Swan Lake . . . IF ODILE WAS AN AWESOME YA-STYLE HEROINE AND SAVED THE DAY. Also I guess Siegfried has a story of personal redemption somewhere in there too."

To be honest I didn't care much about Siegfried's story of personal redemption or his evil mother or his and Odette's true love, which is kind of shoehorned into the last hundred pages anyways. I wanted the whole book to be about Odile bonding with Odette! And learning about the ~*~power of friendship!~*~ And, you know, enough of it was that I was happy.

It was also super fun reading it right after seeing the show - Lackey spends a lot of time describing set pieces that are taken straight from the traditional ballet's stage settings. The lake itself is the big one ("and there is this GIANT DRAMATIC CLIFF right next to the lake! Funny how that is!") but the party scene with all of the visiting princesses doing their national dances is also pretty notable.

(It did not, however, give me many Princess Tutu associations - the two stories are both working off Swan Lake, obviously, but taking it in completely different directions. Um, unsurprisingly.)

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