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    Review of FORTUNE'S FOOL by Mercedes Lackey (see her website)

    500 KINGDOMS #3

    Luna, March 2007

    Ekaterina (Katya) is not just the youngest daughter of the Sea King, she's also his chief spy. With her talent to be able to survive in both water and air, and her dragon blood-enhanced understanding of languages, she can spot signs of trouble before they explode into problems so severe that tradition takes care of them itself. And she's never happier than when she's on dry land. She loves fashion, loves it when her hair stays in place, and loves food that doesn't taste of salt.

    Sasha, seventh son of the King of Led Belarus, is a fool. He's a fool by birth and by choice. Playing the fool lets him bring luck upon the whole kingdom. Still, it's a bit of a rough job because, although his family loves him, nobody really respects a fool and nobody wants to send their daughter off to marry a fool. When he meets a beautiful woman on the sea-shore, Sasha instantly recognizes that she's magic, that she might be the kind of woman who could see through appearances and be happy with him. What he doesn't know is that tradition won't let it be that easy.

    When Katya is kidnapped by an evil Jinn, who's snuck into the Led Belarus area because the neighboring kingdom lost its king and Godmother, both Katya and Sasha know they've got to do something. A Jinn is not part of their tradition. Which means either he'll grow like an imported species without natural enemies, or tradition will slam him hard--without worrying about who else gets hurt. But what can a fortunate fool and a pretty girl do against a powerful Jinn?

    Author Mercedes Lackey (see more reviews of novels by Lackey) continues her amusing 500 Kingdom tales with FORTUNE'S FOOL. In the 500 Kingdoms, Fairy Tales form the basis for natural laws. If you meet an elderly begger-woman, you can bet she's either a witch or a Godmother. If things are too perfect, tradition will send you a disaster, and if you make a promise, tradition will find a way to make you break it--and then punish you for it. It's a fun concept with a lot of potential.

    In FORTUNE'S FOOL, Lackey leans heavily on Russian fairy tales--with a Baba Yaga and her wonderful house, the hunchback horse, and plenty of Rusalkas (the ghosts of girls who committed suicide because they were abandoned by their lovers--don't Russians have happy legends?). Moving beyond the Brothers Grimm is an excellent idea and Lackey delivers an enjoyable reading experience. Lackey's writing adds to the pleasure--this is a book that's easy to sit down with and read in a single sitting.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 9/08/07

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