Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey

The 6th entry in the 500 Kingdoms series, Beauty and the Werewolf came out in October 2011. (And I eventually got around to reading it.) Can I just say, before I say anything about the book itself, blech, what is with the cover art? I know these series has a penchant for fuzzy pictures of beautiful women and, normally, pastels, and while I do think you have to have a red cloak for a book so significantly featuring a Red Riding Hood motif, gah, this one just doesn't sit well with me. I think it's the way the model looks like she's uncomfortably holding her breath, waiting for the moment to end so she can relax....

Anyway. That aside, this is probably my favorite of the 500 Kingdoms books. It sneaks in the usual references to the Tradition and how We All Know More Than We Should -- except the main character doesn't, and other characters cut themselves off from revealing too much. So we, the faithful readers, know what they were about to say, but the character isn't wandering around trying to figure out how to manipulate people and events to her liking through most of the book. (Maybe just a little by the end.)

I also really like the blend of Beauty and Little Red. I've thought the two stories would combine well, and Lackey has done a solid job of putting the two stories together. And while the ending is not entirely unpredictable, Lackey has in this case done a good job of making the characters (at least the two main male characters) not entirely predictable. And Bella (of course she's named Bella, this IS a Beauty and the Beast story, after all) herself shows some moxie while not falling into the "I've got moxie because I'm STUBBORN" category.

If you liked the previous books in the series, I definitely recommend this one. It's not particularly deep but it is an enjoyable read.

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