New Treasures: Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

New Treasures: Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

crown-of-vengeance-smallHere’s an uncomfortable admission: I’ve never read anything by Mercedes Lackey. I know that seems improbable, just statistically speaking — she’s written, by my count, somewhere around 100 fantasy novels. If you’re a fantasy fan, you’re bound to read one sooner or later.

I have no excuse. If it helps, I’m a Canadian, and the traditions and culture of your America are strange to me. But I’m coming up to speed.

There’s no better way to try a new author than when she launches a new series, and that’s exactly what Lackey has done this month with Crown of Vengeance, the first novel in The Dragon Prophecy, co-authored with James Mallory.

Mallory isn’t as well known as Mercedes Lackey, but he’s no slouch. He’s the author of the Merlin trilogy, based on the Sam Neill mini-series, and in collaboration with Lackey he’s written both the Eternal Flame trilogy — including the New York Times bestseller, The Phoenix Transformed — and the Obsidian trilogy. If you like trilogies, Mallory’s your guy.

Although the flap copy is a little coy about it, anybody who pays attention to Amazon reviews will learn that Crown is a prequel to both the Eternal Flame and Obsidian trilogies. Okay by me, I’m still trying to come up to speed here. Besides, the marketing copy included with the book tells me “No previous knowledge of Lackey and Mallory’s collaborations is necessary to enjoy this fast-paced, action packed novel.”

Between the Mercedes Lackey connection, marketing copy that includes the words “action packed,” and the late-stage melee on the cover, I’m pretty much sold. And I don’t even know what the book is about yet. I read the front jacket, and it said something about elves, demons, legends, astonishing magics, forces of Light, and the Endarkened. Got it. Bring on the archers and the leaping horses.

Crown of Vengeance was published by Tor Books on November 13. It is 605 pages in hardcover priced at $27.99, or $13.49 for the digital edition.

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I’ve bought a few but never read them. It’s worth looking at them just for the awesome Lockwood covers

Sarah Avery

I last read a Lackey novel about twenty years ago, so she’s probably a better writer now than she was then, but…

Okay, I will say she has formidable story chops, because every fifty pages or so, I would find a sentence so infelicitous, I would be moved to throw the book across the room. I’d sulk for a minute or two, then walk over, pick the book up, and go back to reading. She somehow kept me hooked enough to read an entire trilogy this way.

Now that I have children to whom I must say things like, “We do not throw books in this family,” I do throw books less often. When I was in grad school and had to read a lot of deconstructionist literary theory, my husband used to refer to my study as the Avery Research Center for Bad Book Ballistics. Lackey is the only author whose books have been subjected to more ballistic research in my lab than Derrida’s have.

Surely she must have improved in twenty years of writing. Surely she has chosen her collaborators with an eye to making the strongest possible final manuscript. Surely.

Tell me if it’s safe to go back in the water.

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