Friday, November 5, 2010

Mercedes Lackey's 500 Kingdoms Week: The Sleeping Beauty

The fifth book in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series, The Sleeping Beauty is new as of this July. Touching on both our major "Beauty Asleep" stories, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, the Godmother Lily is keeping a sharp eye on the Kingdom, trying to figure out which way the Tradition will push things--but it seems to like Princess Rosamund for either version, and before she can figure it out, the Princess is whisked out of her sight.

To further complicate things, Prince Siegfried wanders into the kingdom with his own sleeping beauty problems--this one being his aunt, with whom he's supposed to fall in love with, ick. As you might imagine, he's doing all he can to avoid his Traditional fate. This throws another wrench in the works for Godmother Lily, who must do all in her power to persuade the Tradition to work for her before the kingdom's enemies, on all borders, come crashing in.

With a clever plan, and a bit of luck, they all might find a happy ending. Okay, okay, this is a Lackey book... of course they'll find a happy ending, and it won't be entirely outside the realm of predictability, but we're just here to enjoy the ride, right?

Once more, I wish Lackey would stop having her characters explain things to each other, after she's had them think about things to explain them to us. BUT having said that, this is a clever weaving of stories. I especially like the third sleeping beauty aspect, from Norse/German tradition. In her introduction, Lackey recommends checking out Anna Russell's routine, "Ring of the Nebulungs (An Analysis)".

So when I was a couple chapters into the book, I got distracted by the internet (more a reflection on my personal habits than on the book), and decided to look it up. Personally, I recommend watching it before you read the books, if you aren't familiar with Siegfried's story. (If you are familiar, it could go either way.) I'll include it here (three 9ish minute youtube videos) for ease of reference:

(The routine is hilarious. I add my recommendation to Ms. Lackey's, for what it's worth!)

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