Mercedes Lackey,
The River's Gift
(Roc, 1999)

The River's Gift is a rather predictable short fairy tale (Mistified, of course) by Mercedes Lackey. The characters all seem exceptionally two-dimensional, however, and Ariella is particularly annoying. She just HAD to be smart, brave, altruistic, talented, lucky and beautiful. A little originality in a character is surely not too much to ask!

If possible, the men are developed even worse, and Merod, while interesting, needs much more exposure. The plot is also predictable, though charming in a slight sort of way. Fluffy, even by Lackey standards.

Oh well. If you can stave off the cynicism and are in a mood for unrealistic fairy tales, you might try this one. However, I much preferred her longer retellings, such as The Fire Rose and The Firebird.

by Jennifer Mo
16 June 2007

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