Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Lark And The Wren - Mercedes Lackey

The Lark And The Wren (Bardic Voices One)
Mercedes Lackey
Baen Books
Copyright: 1991
978-0671720995

The Amazon.com product description:
Possessing the potential to be the greatest bard her world has ever seen, young Rune rashly brags about her abilities and must prove herself by meeting the Ghost of Skull Hill, who forces her to fiddle an entire night. 
 This first book in the Bardic Voices trilogy is a neat one. It introduces a world where magic is real and races other than human share the lands, although most of them are outsiders. There are two major ruling forces to the world as well: the Church and the King. Not much is said to explain the actual beliefs of the Church, but for the most part it seems to be hinted that it's very similar to the medieval church of Europe (including a lot of the worst factors of that church and period).

Rune wants to become a Bard, a member of the Bardic Guild, not just a mere player. That's what this book is about, her journey from tavern-maid to her goals. Of course, there are a lot of obstacles and roadblocks in her way, and in the process she ends up getting involved in the politics of a neighboring kingdom.

One thing I did like about this book a whole lot, and this is also true of the other books in this series is the way the characters sometimes end up discussing issues like governments, taxation and the church. It's interesting the insights they came up with, and I think they're just as true for our own world as they are for the fantasy world Mercedes Lackey has created.

On the downside, the world of the Bardic Voices is a fairly standard fantasy world with all the elements that entails. I have seen more original worlds, but overall this is a good series, and I've read the book (and sequels) several times each.

Reading it on the Kobo (my new e-reader) was a comfortable experience, even though I have all three of the main Bardic Voices books in one volume: The Free Bards.
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