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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Thursday, November 3, 2011

...what is it about Red and the Wolf?

Locked as I have been into the Valdemar universe, Mercedes Lackey’s Five Hundred Kingdom’s series is far more enjoyable than I originally anticipated. I guess as writers develop and explore new avenues their fans must join them—or leave. I chose to stay.
It seems that every time I turn around there’s a new movie, book or television show that’s centered on Grimm’s story of Little Red Riding Hood where surprise the wolf is no mere wolf but a Were. Yes and the cover seemed to set that up. So, I wondered!
After reading Beauty and the Werewolf I wondered no more. Lackey’s insightful development of the Little Red Riding Hood--and Cinderella (Bella) and Beauty (of the Beast variety), archetype or rather archetypes, is an excellent read. The characters are strong and believable yet the story retains its fairytale/fantasy essence.
Isabella Beauchamp is cast in the role of Beauty/Little Red Riding Hood—. She is also the eldest daughter of a wealthy merchant, with a stepmother and two stepsisters. Of course no archetypal fairy story would be complete without a duke who’s a wizard, an bastard son, a Granny and the ever present Godmother (plus magic mirrors and commanding Kings).  Let’s not forget the Beast and the Wolf., or rather the Beastly Wolf. With all this raw material ‘TheTradition’ has plenty of ‘grist for the mill’ to intervene in if allowed.
Isabella becomes aware of ‘The Tradition’ at the same time as her own powers awaken, and the readers explores with her the influence and possible ramifications of ‘The Tradition’ upon her life. As the various facets of hero and villain become interwoven, Lackey produces a startling and fresh take on this age old fairy story. Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, not forgetting the Granny (albeit a minor role), are revealed in a new and lively dimension.
Further, the exploration of ‘The Tradition’ woven into the story via Isabella strengthened my understanding of the genesis of the series as a whole. A first rate read!
a Netgalley ARC

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