Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Serpent's Shadow - Mercedes Lackey

The Serpent's Shadow
Mercedes Lackey
Daw Books
Copyright: 2001

The description:
Living most of her 25 years in her native India, Maya Witherspoon is the daughter of a prominent British physician and a Brahmin woman of the highest caste--and a doctor herself. Maya''s mother was a former priestess of the magic fueled by the powerful pantheon of Indian gods. When her parents are murdered, Maya flees to Edwardian London where she must master her own magic.
The Serpent's Shadow is the first book in the Elemental Masters series. I'm not actually sure I'd call this set of books a series however, but rather a world. Each of the books more or less stands alone, only making occasional references to the characters of previous books. Many of the books are also either retellings of fairy tales, or at least based on them. I'd also call this a 'world' because The Fire Rose, one of Mercedes Lackey's earlier novels follows the same 'rules' in it's magic. It's not part of the series, and was even put out by Baen Books rather than Daw. For some of the stories, the fairytale is obvious, but in the case of The Serpents Shadow, it's rather open to questioning. There are some elements of the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but is that the story being told here in its entirety?

Mercedes Lackey has managed her usual great job of descriptions and characters, with scene after scene that feels right and sticks in the mind. There's quite a few lines that left me smiling too. As with most of her books, The Serpent's Shadow is just as suitable for a teen audience as it is for adults.

Perhaps not great literature (in fact, I'm sure it's not), but The Serpent's Shadow is a good and fun read. One that I've enjoyed before, and I'm sure I'll enjoy reading it again.

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