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The Lark And The Wren (1993)

The Lark and the Wren (1993)
3.99 of 5 Votes: 4
1555940005 (ISBN13: 9781555940003)
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The Lark And The Wren (1993)
The Lark And The Wren (1993)

About book: I read a section from this book years ago, and have been looking to read it since. I have enjoyed everything else by Ms. Lackey that I have read, so when I found this at the local used book store I bought it.The story could have easily been a trite washed over coming of age female empowerment story, but it wasn't. Rune doesn't get into the guild despite out playing all the other applicants, and she doesn't get retribution for her treatment after they find out she's a girl. She moves on, becomes a free bard, kicks some butt, and she does it with out becoming either overly dependent on other characters or becoming a Sue. Talaysen is used as an example of a good guild bard, but he isn't a saint. A master musician and an ambitious person as well, he gets to be the cool older guy in the group.There were spots that I had trouble with, every body seeming to be out to get Rune for example. Up until joining the free bards she just seems always have a minor bad guy hanging around. Talaysen's worries about his age as compared to Rune's and the sudden about face related to that. Magic suddenly appearing, and the main characters all just happening to be able to use it. Kestrel just happening to be a long lost prince and the problems that come with that being resolved in the last few chapters bothered me quite a bit, more could have been done with that somewhere else. The guild and church both being almost completely corrupt was another thing that bothered me a bit. Yes, such things did happen in the middle ages, but given that the only good guild bards mentioned either left the guild or died is worrying.Over all though, the story was solid. The minor characters were fun to read and mostly likable. The lack of song lyrics within the text was nice, as in other books they tend to bog down the story. After finishing this, I plan on reading the rest of the series.

I read most of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series when I was younger. When I saw this book on a shelf at the used bookstore I thought I'd give it a chance. I can definitely feel a lot of the same style (not surprising) that is in Valdemar, and the worlds are set in similar king/magic/feudal fantasy land. Unfortunately, this book is more optimistic than I can really find believable, even for a fantasy novel. Nothing particularly bad ever happens, and the obstacles that are put in the way of the main characters are very quickly resolved. Everyone who is good is really extra good and smart. Everyone who is bad is pretty darn evil and enough less smart than the good guys that it's not even really a question of whether or not the good guys will triumph.I guess I like it more when things are grey. If the characters don't have a single tough choice to make, I simply cannot find them interesting enough to sustain me through the book. I got particularly fatigued when they pick up a boy trying the steal from them in a marketplace and he can already play harp and was apprenticed to a Guild Bard and eventually turns out to be EVEN MORE important than they could have guessed.On the other hand, it's a quick candy coated romp through fantasy lands that at least as well written sentences despite a too upbeat plot.
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I can't remember what the other book is that I read by Mercedes Lackey when I was in high school, but I had fond memories of it and associated them with her writing. I think my expectations going into this book were too high. It was cute, and the story was there enough for me to make it through to the end. That said, there were some really out there solutions to problems and a little more than halfway through the book, the main story line's focus changed enough that I wondered what the first half were really for. Maybe it made sense in the light of the entire series arc, but I won't be reading the next one.
This book didn't know what it wanted to be. The first half was good. Rune carves out a niche for herself while always striving for more. There are corrupt institutions and Rune gets beaten up for being an ambitious female bard, but there are also kind strangers who become friends. The second half is not nearly as cool. It's basically about people wandering around with some all too obvious romance thrown in. The last few chapters are about suddenly finding a long lost prince and saving his life from his uncle (who wants to kill his nephew, yet is still somehow a good guy)and have absolutely nothing to do with the story except to confirm that the evil institutions are indeed evil.If all of these various plots had been intertwined throughout the story, instead of coming one after another with no connections to each other, it could have been awesome. As it is, it's an okay book.
If I had rated this when I first read it, back when I was 18, I would have given it five stars. No question. Now I just don't care that much about the tax laws of a country that doesn't exist. The first 2/3 I still think is basically fluffy fun, a few random rants about The Lot of the Women and The Evil Machinations of The Church aside. I'm not such a huge ML fan that I've read her work extensively, but in the context of what I have read, I find those rants to be characteristic and think "blah blah, standard ML rant, blah, blah" and flip past it.
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