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The Fairy Godmother: A Tale of the Five Hundred [Mass Market Paperback]

Mercedes Lackey
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 1 2004 Five Hundred Kingdoms
From the bestselling author of the Heralds of Valdemar series comes an enchanting novel.

In the land of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, if you can't carry out your legendary role, life is no fairy tale. . .

Elena Klovis was supposedto be her kingdom's Cinderella--until fate left her with a completely inappropriate prince! So she set out to make a new life for herself. But breaking with "The Tradition" was no easy matter--until she got a little help from her own fairy godmother. Who promptly offered Elena a most unexpected job. . .

Now, instead of sleeping in the chimney. She has to deal with arrogant, stuffed-shirt princes who keep trying to rise above their place in the tale. And there's one in particular who needs to be dealt with. . .

Sometimes a fairy godmother's work is never done. . . .

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The prolific Lackey (the Valdemar series) draws on the darker, Brothers Grimm side of fairy lore for her enchanting tale, the first title under a new Harlequin imprint to spotlight romantic fantasy. In the land of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, the Tradition, that ineffable magic, holds the promise of happily-ever-after for all deserving young maidens and courteous princes charming. But the Tradition also leads some in its thrall to pain, suffering and gruesome death. Feisty 19-year-old Elena Klovis seems destined to be an Ella of the Cinders (Cinderella), at the mercy of her wicked stepmother and greedy stepsisters. To escape their clutches, Elena tries to get work as a maidservant, but her fairy godmother, Madame Bella, has other plans for her. Elena becomes Madame Bella's apprentice, doing her best, among other challenges, to ensure that evil does not subvert Tradition. The only problem is that fairy godmothers are not themselves allowed to fall in love. It's up to Elena, who has vowed to reform a wayward prince, to tease out the threads of a new Tradition. Lackey has created an intelligent, self-possessed heroine with whom many readers will identify.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The prolific Lackey will enchant readers with this delightful twist on traditional fairy tales. In the land of Five Hundred Kingdoms, "Tradition" rules, and everyone is expected to fit into established fairy tales. Enslaved by her wickedly avaricious stepmother and stepsisters, Elena should have had a Cinderella-like life, but when things didn't work out, she flees and seeks work. Her fairy godmother, in fact, the fairy godmother of several kingdoms, makes her apprentice fairy godmother, and it's her duty to prevent the bad things that come with Tradition. Her life takes yet another curious turn when, disguised as a crone to test three questing princes, she loses her temper with Prince Alexander. He acts like an ass, so she turns him into one. Unwilling to let a defenseless donkey wander the woods alone, she takes him home and puts him to work transforming his life. Lackey's satisfying fairy tale will captivate fantasy readers with its well-imagined world and romance fans, who will relish the growing relationship and sexy scenes. Diana Tixier Herald
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but this is more romance than fantasy July 19 2004
I am a fan of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series and have not been disappointed with the other books of hers I have read, so when I bought this book after reading an interesting first chapter, I didn't expect to have any problems. While the book was interesting and I did enjoy the first third a lot, then the hero rolled around and kind of ruined it for me. Alexander was a bit cliche, but I could have lived with him if it wasn't for the new element he introduced to the book: an opportunity to write very graphic love scenes. Since this book and the LUNA line was billed as fantasy with light romance, I was not only dismayed but confused. Especially after reading the next two books in the LUNA line (which also have rather overdetailed love scenes), I think the publishers have mistargeted the science fiction/fantasy audience when they should be shooting for the romance audience, since that's where most of the emphasis is. I have no problem with some and more tastefully portrayed romance, but I just think LUNA should include more fantasy if that's what they're billing it as.
Despite the obvious genre mix-up, I gave this book three stars because I did enjoy the novel and will reread it, but definitely skipping over the love scenes.
If you've never read any Mercedes Lackey books, I personally recommend "The Arrows of the Queen" to start with, a wonderful series with adventure, heroes and heroines, and real light romance
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Lighthearted Romp July 9 2004
By Jeffrih
I picked Fairy Godmother up at the library not quite sure what to expect. I've read all of Lackey's Valdemar books, but very little of her other work. Once I started it, however, it was hard to put down.
Lackey takes the fairy tale and turns it on its ear. Yes, some of the conceits may be trite, some of the plot turns a bit forced, and some of the characters drawn with broad strokes, but isn't that the nature of the fairy tale genre to begin with? I found the concept of "the Tradition" intriguing, and the unicorns had me giggling. On the other hand, the Brownies tended to be annoyingly smug--protective, but smug.
What kept me from giving this book five stars was that in a handful of places Lackey did not provide enough detail--even in keeping with the "broad strokes" of the genre. Sometimes those details are necessary for consistency in the storytelling.
All in all, Fairy Godmother is a lighthearted romp through the fairy tales that makes for a good summer or vacation read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Light Summer Read - Good, but could be stronger. June 9 2004
While I enjoyed the Fairy Godmother as a light summer read, there were times when the story seemed unbalanced or hurried. The author seems to enjoy descriptive language, and she uses it well. I found it easy to picture the cottage in my mind, as well as Arachnia and the Elven royalty. The imagery employed is quite effective for me.
However, sometimes I feel that the story was hurried. For instance, there seems to be quite the jump from Elena's training to Madame Bella leaving. Sometimes it's a bit disconcerting between chapters to see such a gap in time. It can take you out of the story, and make you go back to make sure you didn't miss anything.
The author also occassionally leaves out a detail I was hoping would be explained later, which also contributes to the hurriedness and gives a sense of wanting more out of the book's ending. I particularly had hoped that there would be a better explanation of the Elven king's mark on Elena and Alexander. Just what did it do other than make his approval seen?
I did enjoy reading this fantasy and would recommend it to those looking for a cheerful read. I've always enjoyed fairy tales, and I'm glad that as an adult I don't have to give them up. To warn you, there are some sexual situations, which seem somewhat incongruous with the style of the rest of the book, though I've decided the situations are important for the story as a whole. At any rate, if you're an adult who isn't ready to give up fairy tales, then you may enjoy this book. It's fun to see the 'Godmothering' behind the scenes of the tales you remember as a child.
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By Sophia
This book is a very nice read. It has an amusing premise, that "The Tradition" that creates and guides fairy tales has a life of its own, and that sometimes, fairy tales need to be modified! The characters were sympathetic and the plot was interesting enough to keep me reading. Lackey obviously enjoys world-building; she has the details of her world worked out very nicely.
That being said, most of the book is derivative, of her own works, if not from others (i.e. the Elven Court motif). How many times are we going to read about the deserving person (such as Talia or Vetch or Vanyel or Lavan or Rose) who emerges from an oppressive destiny to settle into a new life? Following that is a period of apprenticeship, a major test of some kind, and then True Love (well, Vetch found his with a dragon and Laven with a Companion), but True Love nonetheless. Then - either a happy ending or Final Challenge that result's in the protagonist's death.
I enjoy Ms. Lackey a lot, but I wish she would spend a little more time challenging her characters and fleshing them out a bit before she starts writing. I hesitated between three and four stars, but four won, as I did enjoy this book very much.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars rewritten fairytales
I have read a lot of Mercedes Lackey's books. I read as many of her Valdemar books as I could get and enjoyed them as lighthearted reading. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Debra
4.0 out of 5 stars and there's a sequel...
This is a fun, light book for those who want to escape reality for a spell. We have a spunky heroine, a prince who initially makes a donkey of himself, a house that expands, and... Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2007 by yvette
4.0 out of 5 stars I don't like Alexander
It started off strongly and at first I was enjoying the book with the same sort of enthusiasm I had enjoyed Arrows of the Queen some ten years ago. Read more
Published on July 16 2004 by Sarah Sammis
3.0 out of 5 stars A light, enjoyable read, but....
Admittedly this is the first book I've read by Mercedes Lackey, so I do not have any prior experience with her work to compare it to. Read more
Published on July 4 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Happily ever after or is it?
That's the premise that the author starts with and carries it to a new conclusion. Mercedes Lackey takes us behind the scenes of fairy tales and gives a brand new slant to them. Read more
Published on June 9 2004 by dreamer1013
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairytails in the hands of Lackey
Mercedes Lackey has a wonderful grasp of the traditional fairy tails we all loved as children and the unique abilty to twist and weave them themes into new and exciting tails. Read more
Published on May 19 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
I have been reading Norton's work for years and have been happy with it so when I got this book I thought it would be great. Instead I found it to be very boring. Read more
Published on May 16 2004 by zoey
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new world
I loved this book. I bought it mostly because I loved her valdemar series but after I started reading it I realized that it pretty much stood on it's only two feet. Read more
Published on April 12 2004 by Lunimar
5.0 out of 5 stars So glad to see new work by a favorite
When I think about it, I have always liked Mercedes's approach to romance better than the more recent swash buckler co-authorships. I am glad she is going in this direction. Read more
Published on April 9 2004 by Kindle Customer
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