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    Review of ONE GOOD KNIGHT by Mercedes Lackey (see her website)


    Luna Books, March 2006

    Princess Andromeda just wants to be useful. She isn't as beautiful as her mother, but she can't believe she's completely useless. When she comes up with the idea of writing up what she's learned from her studies into actionable reports for her mother's chief advisor, she finally gets the acceptance she so craves. Her mother and the advisor call on her assistance in identifying problems, researching difficult points of law, and even give her a new staff with instructions to make her look better . When a dragon invades the little Kingdom of Acadia (one of the 500 Kingdoms), Andromeda (Andie) is given the job of researching a cure to the dragon. This research job, though, definitely does not make her feel better. Until a champion can be summoned, an evil dragon can only be placated by a weekly sacrifice of a virgin. As a virgin herself, Andie is on the candidate list.

    Andie's research also indicates that there's something wrong in the kingdom. Too many storms are causing too many shipwrecks--possibly disrupting trade in a trade-dependent nation. As the nation has been without a Godmother for generations, magical cures to their problems are slow in coming--and even when the Champions try to send a representative, they find that they're blocked by some magical barrier.

    The power of magic and tradition will create a solution--but as Andie discovers, tradition likes tragedy as much as happily ever after. And falling in love with the first hero who comes along, while certainly fitting the tradition, is not anything that either Andie, or George, the hero, has any interest in. Somehow Andie has to find a way to make tradition work in her favor, rather than letting tradition take unbridled control.

    In the second of her 500 Kingdoms novels, author Mercedes Lackey (see more reviews of novels by Lackey) continues to play with the fairy tale genre, laughing with (certainly not at) the traditions of these stories--princesses may be beautiful or smart, but not both; foxes are clever and offer unexpected help; maidens must fall in love with their rescuers; unicorns have an uncurable addiction to virgin human females; and a ragged army has more chances of success than a professionally clad army. Andie is a likable character, not quite on the wrong side of too perfect, and not quite on the wrong side of too innocent (but close in both cases). Her ultimate romantic conflict adds to the fairy tale feel and will increase the satisfaction of Luna's strong romance readership while amusing Lackey's fantasy fans as well.

    I found the first chapter a little narrative-heavy as Lackey went into information dump mode. By the second chapter, though, she had picked up the pace of the story. Once she did this, ONE GOOD KNIGHT was one good book.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 5/24/06

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