One Good Knight
by Mercedes Lackey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
One Good Knight / 978-0-373-80260-9
I rather enjoy the Five Hundred Kingdoms books - starting with "The Fairy Godmother" and continuing to the recent fifth book "The Sleeping Beauty". The tales are something of a mixed-up fairy tale due to the unique backstory: a powerful and impersonal force called The Tradition constantly tries to impose "fairy tale" logic on people whose lives loosely fit the structure of commonly told fairy tales, and Godmothers and Champions devote their lives trying to facilitate the happy endings and thwart the bad ones that The Tradition tries to impose.
This is the second book in the loosely connected series, and I have to admit that I enjoyed it a bit more than its predecessor, "The Fairy Godmother" - probably for the same reasons that others *didn't*. The major differences here is that "One Good Knight" is slightly shorter (an approximate 400 pages to TFG's 500), and their is significantly less emphasis on romance and much more emphasis on the given fractured fairy tale (a mash-up of the Greek Andromeda myth and the English 'George and the Dragon' tale). Judge your own tastes accordingly - if what you most enjoyed about TFG was the romance and world-building, you may want to give this a pass; if you prefer the fractured fairy tale concept, then I can almost guarantee you will enjoy this novel.
Like all the Lackey novels I've read so far, the plot is quite gripping, the characterizations are superb, and the dialogue has a tendency to make me laugh out loud regularly. Lackey specializes in well-rounded and strong female characters, and "One Good Knight" does not disappoint - it's nice to have a "plain" and bookish princess for once (even if the cover artist didn't get the memo, an ongoing gripe I have with this series, see also "The Sleeping Beauty"). If I had one criticism about this book, it would be that some of the ending feels a little rushed and confusing; the pacing at the middle should have been tightened, I think, to allow the ending to flow more naturally. I'm not usually a fan of end-game exposition dumps, but I think a tiny one could have been employed here.
I enjoyed this novel immensely, though, and definitely recommend it for fans of the series.
~ Ana Mardoll
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