Happy Labor Day Weekend to all my friends in the U.S.! In just a few minutes, I will be out shoe shopping with my two of my favorite people (my daughter and my mom), but before that, a quick book review.
This is #34 on my quest to read 60 books this year – The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey. I haven’t read very many of Ms. Lackey’s books for some reason. I have several friends who absolutely love her, but she was never that strongly on my radar. Part of it might be because her Valdemar series is huge and I was never entirely sure where to start. (And I no longer have that reason anymore, due to a friend of mine who made up a list of her suggested reading order.) The Fairy Godmother was suggested as a Book Club read over at the Mallorean Tavern, and since it was the start of a whole new series, I jumped at the chance to pick it up.
In case the title doesn’t tell you, this is a retelling of the Cinderella story (believe it or not, I completely missed that and was surprised – does that tell you how tired I’ve been lately?). The main character is Elena, this story’s version of Cinderella. I really enjoyed reading Elena. She is a Cinderella with spunk. When her stepmother and stepsisters leave town to avoid debt collectors, Elena tries to go behind their backs to secure a position in another house. She doesn’t just sit there and accept her fate, she goes out there and tries to improve her situation. It doesn’t work, because all the people in the town are terrified of the stepmother and don’t want to do anything that will anger her, but none of that matters. Elena is found by a Fairy Godmother, who instead of dressing her up to impress a prince, takes her away to her cottage to teach Elena about how to become a Fairy Godmother herself.
Here’s the part I liked best about this book – the Tradition. Yes, with a capital “T.” The Tradition is a kind of magical force that pushes people into specific storylines or archetypes. Like pushing Elena to become a Cinderella character by giving her the stepmother and stepsisters and having her father conveniently die. The problem was that the prince that Cinderella would normally marry was only a baby at the time, so Elena’s path could not be completed. This led to a surplus of magic weaving it’s way around Elena, trying to figure out what to do with her.
Eventually, Elena becomes the Fairy Godmother and has to go out into the kingdoms in her care to make sure that the Tradition comes out in everyone’s favor, to bend it where it needs to be bent in order to protect the people. But you can’t bend it too much. The Tradition doesn’t like being messed around with and the results can be disastrous.
I love when fairy tales are turned on their heads, and this one was done very well. The book was a lot of fun to read and the next books in the series seem to tackle other fairy tales as well. Can’t wait to see what she does with them!