Mercedes Lackey

5 Comments
Literature

I was listening to Fear the Boot (Episode 13 if you care) and the show’s hosts were talking about novels written in a game universe. Dawn, a guest co-host, mentioned she had some Mercedes Lackey books…

I’d forgotten entirely about Mercedes Lackey, but once I heard that name I immediately, no exaggeration, paused the podcast and opened up a new browser window just to write this rant in.

I picked up three Mercedes Lackey books about five or so years ago. Two of my good friends had gotten into Mercedes Lackey and had been raving about some of her novels — I don’t know if I’m remembering correctly, but I believe the novels that were getting ravers were Brightly Burning and the Magic’s Pawn/Promise/Price series. I went to a local bookstore with the intention of picking up some of these books, but they didn’t have any of the specific ones I was looking for. I bought the bullet and picked up another series of her books that was there, the Vows and Honor series.

This has got to be one of the worst series of books I’ve ever read. My strongest memory of the books has been thinking that this is the kind of book someone might take to the beach because you wouldn’t care if you ruined the pages with lotion. Considering how much of a perfectionist I am about all of my books, trying to keep them all in pristine condition, I consider that extremely damning. Probably the highest praise I’d be willing to give to Mercedes Lackey is to say that she can put enough words down on a page to fill up a book.

The series I read, Vows and Honor, is about two female characters Tarma and Kethry. [I’m refreshing my memory from the back of the books right now, as the only thing that wasn’t forgettable about them was how horrible they were.] One of them is some Native American style swordswoman, the other is an ex-noblewoman turned Mage. Both are servants of “the Goddess,” which should be a pretty big indicator of where this series begins and ends. Another indicator comes in browsing the preface of one of these books, Mercedes Lackey begins talking about the state of the genre of fantasy fiction and talks about Conan by saying “C*n*n.” Who does that?

The big question in my mind is how someone like Mercedes Lackey, who’s, from all the signs I’ve seen, a no-talent hack, able to become a name of sorts in the fantasy genre. It really boggles my mind, I didn’t think the genre was that barren. Guess I was wrong

5 Responses

  1. I understand that there was a time when she was over-committed, and the quality of her work dropped as she had to pump several out quickly. I don’t know if this applies to that series.

  2. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were from that period of time — It’s really surprising to me that an author more than one of my friends enjoyed would turn out to be so bad. But I’m loathe to give an author who made such a bad impression on me a fourth chance when there are so many other things out there to read.

  3. Completely understandable. I managed a book and a half before giving up – she was expected at a local con, and it seemed polite to borrow a series for a try.
    I’m currently enjoying Karen Traviss’s Wess’har, have you read it? Other recent reads have been Jo Walton and Charlie Stross.

  4. Haven’t heard of either Karen Traviss or Jo Walton, although I’ve heard good things about Charles Stross lately, so he’s on my list of authors to be on the look out for. I’ll keep them all in mind, though I’ll admit I’m a bit turned off by the fact that Traviss seems to have published a number of Star Wars novels (I remember reading a few of them years back, which is where I learned of Kevin J. Anderson and his Amazing Autowriting Machine. Fortunately, this tipped me off to the travesty the new Dune novels would be in advance.). I also try to avoid jumping into new book series, at least until they’re finished, so I know what I’m getting myself into.

  5. I (literally) picked up KT’s City of Pearl while browsing at my friendly SF-and-romance bookseller, and my girlfriend said ‘Hey, she wrote two of the four Star Wars novels that are any good’. The book-pusher (also a friend) recommended it to me (and she has a 80% success rate on such advice), so I bought it. I then got the next four in the series on my next visit.
    Charlie has a number of books/series in different styles, my girlfriend likes Merchant Princes, disliked Singularity Sky, I love the first, liked the second. Some of his thoughts on the future were on the BBC recently. Links at
    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/

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