Mercedes Lackey,
The Black Swan
(DAW, 1999)

The Black Swan is an enjoyable retelling of the original ballet. The story, from Odile's perspective, loses some of its original extremities, though little is done to make Von Rothbart a sympathetic villain.

Mercedes Lackey is adept at ornamentation, and there is quite a lot here -- fabulous dresses, balls, etc. Unfortunately, the characters are very unevenly fleshed out. Lackey chose to focus on Odile and Siegfried almost exclusively, and characters like Odette and Benno really needed more individuality. Odile was the only character that seemed complete. Siegfried wasn't terribly likable, and his reform seemed rather implausible.

As usual in Lackey's work, there are a few gaps of logic here and there -- not too egregious, but noticeable. The Black Swan seemed to be altogether lighter in weight than Lackey's previous retellings, such as The Fire Rose and The Firebird, both of which I recommend above this one.

by Jennifer Mo
23 December 2006

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