Mercedes Lackey
& Ellen Guon,
Knight of Ghosts & Shadows
(Baen, 1990)

Merdeces Lackey's work is often fun to read, despite the general lack of logic and realism apparent throughout. However, I found Knight of Ghosts & Shadows to be irritatingly implausible beyond the norm.

Urban fantasy is not my favorite genre, but I've seen it done much better. This novel is insubstantial and unappealing.

To start off with, it seemed to me like the plot with the elves in California is extremely perfunctory and unlikely, even within the realms of fantasy. We've heard it all before -- the dying elves are forced to rely on one human for salvation. The elves are so incredibly stereotypical -- gorgeous, slender, cat-eyed, etc. Personalities would have been nice.

All the city dwellers, according to this book, lead dissipated lives. The main character Eric, for whom we are supposed to feel compassion, is an apathetic wretch who prefers to solve his problems by drinking and drugs, and is still managed by his Extraordinary Powers to Save Everyone with a minimal effort. While the effort to make the villainess likable is apparent, it noticeably failed. On top of that, all the characters just ooze with gooey emotions. The system of magic used is intriguing -- combining magic and music -- but is never developed at all.

On the other hand, it is readable and goes by fairly quickly. If you need to feed an urban fantasy fix, this might do it. I would, however, recommend the much more intelligent Son of Darkness by Josepha Sherman or The Sword of Maiden's Tears by Rosemary Edghill. Both are immeasurably more enjoyable.

by Jennifer Mo
26 August 2006

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