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The Barnes & Noble Review New York Times–bestselling author Mercedes Lackey spins a variety of fairy tales -- think The Little Mermaid and old Russian folktales -- into a satisfying romantic fantasy in this third installment in her Five Hundred Kingdoms series. Katya, the youngest daughter of the Sea King, is sent by her father on a spying expedition. It's a perfect assignm The Barnes & Noble Review New York Times–bestselling author Mercedes Lackey spins a variety of fairy tales -- think The Little Mermaid and old Russian folktales -- into a satisfying romantic fantasy in this third installment in her Five Hundred Kingdoms series. Katya, the youngest daughter of the Sea King, is sent by her father on a spying expedition. It's a perfect assignment for one with the unique ability to transverse both land and water. Once on land, Katya encounters a spectacular battle between two mages, then meets Sasha. He is also of royal birth -- the seventh son -- destined to play the part of the Wise or Fortunate Fool and Songweaver. Their instant affinity and blooming romance is interrupted when Katya's father calls her back on business: Two magical maidens have gone missing from an island. Katya disguises herself and gets kidnapped by the Jinn who is keeping the others prisoner, but it will take all her cleverness and powers, as well as Sasha's magic, to get them out alive. Readers will admire Katya's spirit, and fans of the previous two books -- The Fairy Godmother and One Good Knight -- will welcome the return of the Little Humpback Horse. Ginger Curwen


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The Barnes & Noble Review New York Times–bestselling author Mercedes Lackey spins a variety of fairy tales -- think The Little Mermaid and old Russian folktales -- into a satisfying romantic fantasy in this third installment in her Five Hundred Kingdoms series. Katya, the youngest daughter of the Sea King, is sent by her father on a spying expedition. It's a perfect assignm The Barnes & Noble Review New York Times–bestselling author Mercedes Lackey spins a variety of fairy tales -- think The Little Mermaid and old Russian folktales -- into a satisfying romantic fantasy in this third installment in her Five Hundred Kingdoms series. Katya, the youngest daughter of the Sea King, is sent by her father on a spying expedition. It's a perfect assignment for one with the unique ability to transverse both land and water. Once on land, Katya encounters a spectacular battle between two mages, then meets Sasha. He is also of royal birth -- the seventh son -- destined to play the part of the Wise or Fortunate Fool and Songweaver. Their instant affinity and blooming romance is interrupted when Katya's father calls her back on business: Two magical maidens have gone missing from an island. Katya disguises herself and gets kidnapped by the Jinn who is keeping the others prisoner, but it will take all her cleverness and powers, as well as Sasha's magic, to get them out alive. Readers will admire Katya's spirit, and fans of the previous two books -- The Fairy Godmother and One Good Knight -- will welcome the return of the Little Humpback Horse. Ginger Curwen

30 review for Fortune's Fool

  1. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    I just finished this book today after... borrowing it from the library today. I'm rather depressed now that I'm finished with it. I enjoyed it so much! Mercedes Lackey writes so that you end up loving the characters as they go on with their stories. This book is part of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series, but you don't have to read it in order. They are all standalone novels bound together by a similar world and occasional visits from other characters. As a person who's followed the series from it I just finished this book today after... borrowing it from the library today. I'm rather depressed now that I'm finished with it. I enjoyed it so much! Mercedes Lackey writes so that you end up loving the characters as they go on with their stories. This book is part of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series, but you don't have to read it in order. They are all standalone novels bound together by a similar world and occasional visits from other characters. As a person who's followed the series from its inception (I admit, I love Mercedes Lackey's books), the cross-overs of characters is extremely nice. :D There are parts in this book that make me laugh out loud... or at least smile to myself. And that's what really matters. A book ought to have action, adventure, comedy, and a happy ending. :D I'm such a sap.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Mercedes Lackey does a good job mixing romance and fantasy in this latest installment of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series. The one thing I have been enjoying about the series, and this title is no exception, is that the heroines are strong and capable, without entering the dreaded "feisty" zone (veteran romance novel readers will know what I mean!). My only complaint is that there is never any real sense of danger/darkness - you just know nothing bad is really going to happen. Not necessarily a Mercedes Lackey does a good job mixing romance and fantasy in this latest installment of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series. The one thing I have been enjoying about the series, and this title is no exception, is that the heroines are strong and capable, without entering the dreaded "feisty" zone (veteran romance novel readers will know what I mean!). My only complaint is that there is never any real sense of danger/darkness - you just know nothing bad is really going to happen. Not necessarily a bad thing but makes the book a little fluffy and I know some people don't care for that (but me, I find it a refreshing change!)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    NOTE: Actual personal rating is 1.5 out of 5. I have nothing against beach-reading. Most of what I read could probably be classified as 'escapist, wish-fulfillment fluff.' And I'm OK with that. However, I prefer my books to possess some sort of internal logic and cohesive world-building. In Fortune's Fool, I felt as though Lackey threw out anything resembling conflict because that would be *bad* and scary and perhaps give this morass of a story some sort of palatability. (view spoiler)[Chapters on NOTE: Actual personal rating is 1.5 out of 5. I have nothing against beach-reading. Most of what I read could probably be classified as 'escapist, wish-fulfillment fluff.' And I'm OK with that. However, I prefer my books to possess some sort of internal logic and cohesive world-building. In Fortune's Fool, I felt as though Lackey threw out anything resembling conflict because that would be *bad* and scary and perhaps give this morass of a story some sort of palatability. (view spoiler)[Chapters one through five made this unbearable. Seriously? Did we just spend five chapters creating a freaking origami crane as our deus ex machina? The author decided to just establish a whole minor society and throw them away just so the protagonist could have the magical equivalent of e-mail. (hide spoiler)] I finished Fortune's Fool, so I feel bound to round up my rating to a 2/5. After all, I found it readable -- even if I did have to quell an urge to toss the book across the room every 20 minutes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jadis LeFeu

    One more, favourite genre. I very liked Katya. However, I have another list of naming gripes, this one even longer: Nippon is another name for Japan. Please be slightly less obvious that you're copying countries straight out of Earth, or else own it all the way. Belarus is a country. You make Japan a tiny distance away at Nippon, but you can't even come up with something that isn't currently a country for blatantly-russian-place? Adding Led to the front doesn't make it original. The Kitsune was One more, favourite genre. I very liked Katya. However, I have another list of naming gripes, this one even longer: Nippon is another name for Japan. Please be slightly less obvious that you're copying countries straight out of Earth, or else own it all the way. Belarus is a country. You make Japan a tiny distance away at Nippon, but you can't even come up with something that isn't currently a country for blatantly-russian-place? Adding Led to the front doesn't make it original. The Kitsune was surprising and I probably would have liked it if you weren't BLATANTLY RIPPING OFF JAPAN AND NOT BOTHERING TO HIDE IT. Again the romance wasn't very well-developed. They've known each other for a few days and are madly in love and will travel to the ends of the earth for each other symdrome. Ew. Oh, and I forgot to mention in the others, even though it doesn't come into play much in this one: The Tradition is HELLA heteronormative, and though this could be explained away by the fact that fairy tales are.... The author has characters break The Tradition for lots of things. But none of those things include being anything but straight and cis. She even makes a point several times about "The Tradition makes girls fall in love with their rescuer! Oh, but we tricked it and made the rescuer a GURL! They wouldn't fall in love with a GURL! Foiled again!" And I harp on this despite it not being in this book because it's a pattern in literature and it's a shit one. People who aren't straight do exist, Mercedes Lackey. It's nice that you made the merpeople casual about sex and all, but it doesn't make up for it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lark of The Bookwyrm's Hoard

    3.5 stars, bumped to 4 because I keep rereading it. An enjoyable fairytale retelling, which mixes higgledy-piggledy a wide assortment of elements from Russian, northern European, Japanese, and Middle Eastern folk and fairy tales: a wise/fortunate fool, the Clever Little Vixen, a sea-king's daughter, a kitsune, a bereginia, a willi, a Rusalka, a swan maiden, a snow maiden, several shapeshifters, Baba Yaga, a jinn, a queen under the mountain, the Little Humpback Horse... you get the picture. That 3.5 stars, bumped to 4 because I keep rereading it. An enjoyable fairytale retelling, which mixes higgledy-piggledy a wide assortment of elements from Russian, northern European, Japanese, and Middle Eastern folk and fairy tales: a wise/fortunate fool, the Clever Little Vixen, a sea-king's daughter, a kitsune, a bereginia, a willi, a Rusalka, a swan maiden, a snow maiden, several shapeshifters, Baba Yaga, a jinn, a queen under the mountain, the Little Humpback Horse... you get the picture. That it works at all is due to Lackey's storytelling skills and pair of sympathetic main characters—but it does work.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cait

    There's nothing quite like recent-vintage Mercedes Lackey to get me through feeling ill. When the flu knocked me down a week ago, I knew just where to turn: The seventh daughter of the Sea King, Ekaterina is more than a pampered princess--she's also the family spy. Really, how could that be a better companion to chicken noodle soup, ice cream, and extra-fluffy pillows? There's nothing quite like recent-vintage Mercedes Lackey to get me through feeling ill. When the flu knocked me down a week ago, I knew just where to turn: The seventh daughter of the Sea King, Ekaterina is more than a pampered princess--she's also the family spy. Really, how could that be a better companion to chicken noodle soup, ice cream, and extra-fluffy pillows?

  7. 4 out of 5

    LibraryCin

    3.25 stars Katya is a sea princess, daughter of the Sea King. Sasha is the 7th son of the leader of a land kingdom; he is a fool and a songweaver. After a little romance between them, Katya is called away to save some kidnapped girls, and Sasha later comes to find Katya. I mostly enjoyed this one, though I did lose interest at various intervals. I did like Katya – she is a strong character and a spy for her father. Parts of the book were from her point of view, while other parts were from Sasha’s 3.25 stars Katya is a sea princess, daughter of the Sea King. Sasha is the 7th son of the leader of a land kingdom; he is a fool and a songweaver. After a little romance between them, Katya is called away to save some kidnapped girls, and Sasha later comes to find Katya. I mostly enjoyed this one, though I did lose interest at various intervals. I did like Katya – she is a strong character and a spy for her father. Parts of the book were from her point of view, while other parts were from Sasha’s. At the start, I enjoyed Katya’s POV more, but I was enjoying Sasha’s more in the second half of the book, as well.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    True rating: 4.5 stars. Each book in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series is similar: Engaging characters are moved deftly through a simple, yet interesting plot filled with heartwarming (but never cloying) and smile-inducing moments. Each tackles an aspect of the fairy tale Tradition – or perhaps it is better to say that each approaches the Tradition from a different angle, thereby keeping fresh the conceptual thread that runs through these novels. Another similarity is that I always think Ms. Lacke True rating: 4.5 stars. Each book in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series is similar: Engaging characters are moved deftly through a simple, yet interesting plot filled with heartwarming (but never cloying) and smile-inducing moments. Each tackles an aspect of the fairy tale Tradition – or perhaps it is better to say that each approaches the Tradition from a different angle, thereby keeping fresh the conceptual thread that runs through these novels. Another similarity is that I always think Ms. Lackey's work could have benefited from one more pass through the manuscript. There are no glaring errors or textual problems, but her prose has a tendency to sameness – words and phrases are often overused. (For one example: In Fortune’s Fool, every time a character is surprised, he or she ‘blinks’ in reaction.) But the liveliness of the characters and the general fluidity of the writing more than offset this repetitiveness. If ever there was the fantasy equivalent of a ‘cozy’ mystery, this genial series is it. I never close a book without wishing for more, nor do I ever depart the Five Hundred Kingdoms with a less than merry spirit.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Fortunes' Fool is based off of some Russian fairytale that I had no idea even existed, so I wasn't really anticipating much when I cracked it open. Imagine my surprise when this turned out to be one of my favorites from her Five Hundred Kingdoms' series. Moral of the story: Don't judge a book based on the fairytale...or something. My reason for liking the book may be based on the fact that, unlike in some of Lackey's other books, the hero in this one isn't a total douchebag. I found it refreshing Fortunes' Fool is based off of some Russian fairytale that I had no idea even existed, so I wasn't really anticipating much when I cracked it open. Imagine my surprise when this turned out to be one of my favorites from her Five Hundred Kingdoms' series. Moral of the story: Don't judge a book based on the fairytale...or something. My reason for liking the book may be based on the fact that, unlike in some of Lackey's other books, the hero in this one isn't a total douchebag. I found it refreshing to root for someone that I actually liked for a change. I'm funny that way, I guess. The heroine was also quite likable. Being the capable young woman that she was, she didn't actually need him to come save the day...but it was a nice gesture on his part when he showed up to help her out. I'm slowly working my way through Lackey's stuff, and so far I'm like her writing style. Well, aside from her apparent need to make most of the men repugnant. If you're thinking about giving her stuff a try, Fortune's Fool is (my opinion) a good jumping off point.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Etola

    An interesting setting and concept, but overall the writing was subpar. I liked the idea of fairy-tale figures being self-aware and being able to take advantage of their roles. I especially liked the character of Sasha. But it seemed as if I were being told a great deal, instead of being shown things. This made me feel rather detached to the characters and the plot. And certain elements just seem to have been 'thrown in there' not necessarily because they fit, but because the author thought they An interesting setting and concept, but overall the writing was subpar. I liked the idea of fairy-tale figures being self-aware and being able to take advantage of their roles. I especially liked the character of Sasha. But it seemed as if I were being told a great deal, instead of being shown things. This made me feel rather detached to the characters and the plot. And certain elements just seem to have been 'thrown in there' not necessarily because they fit, but because the author thought they were neat ideas. This may be because this book is the third in a series, and some of these seemingly random things might be references to earlier books, but all the same, it was a little too much of "everything but the enchanted kitchen sink." Overall, I was a bit disappointed with this book. It was worth finishing, but I have no plans to re-read it. It read like a fairly good fanfiction, and not the work of someone with a great deal of publishing credits to her name. I remember being far more impressed with the Gryphon series.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    The heroine is the Sea King's daughter, who serves as his spy and assassin because she can breathe as well on land as in the sea. (The Sea King and his children are human shaped with legs, not mer-people with fins.) The hero is the Seventh Son of the king of a Russian-style kingdom, a Fortunate Fool. It takes Lackey a while to get the "real" story underway, because she first sends the heroine off on an adventure in a Japanese-ish kingdom. This adventure seems to have nothing to do with the main The heroine is the Sea King's daughter, who serves as his spy and assassin because she can breathe as well on land as in the sea. (The Sea King and his children are human shaped with legs, not mer-people with fins.) The hero is the Seventh Son of the king of a Russian-style kingdom, a Fortunate Fool. It takes Lackey a while to get the "real" story underway, because she first sends the heroine off on an adventure in a Japanese-ish kingdom. This adventure seems to have nothing to do with the main story, except that the heroine is given an origami bird which plays a small role later on. Then the heroine is sent to investigate why the Russian kingdom is so quiet, with no trouble for so long, and meets the hero and realizes he's the reason. They fall for each other, then she's sent off on a mission by her father, things go awry and the hero goes on a quest to rescue her. This is kind of a disjointed story, but it's still interesting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mikki Crisostomo

    Of the four Five Hundred Kingdoms books out, this is far and away my favorite one. It has wonderful characters, an exciting set of stories, and most notably, beautiful settings. I don't know if it was Mercedes Lackey's vivid descriptions or my own personal hangups from a childhood spent watching The Little Mermaid every week, but I was instantly enchanted by the underwater kingdom the heroine of this story is from. I loved the idea of it and of the way things were run there, as well as the execut Of the four Five Hundred Kingdoms books out, this is far and away my favorite one. It has wonderful characters, an exciting set of stories, and most notably, beautiful settings. I don't know if it was Mercedes Lackey's vivid descriptions or my own personal hangups from a childhood spent watching The Little Mermaid every week, but I was instantly enchanted by the underwater kingdom the heroine of this story is from. I loved the idea of it and of the way things were run there, as well as the execution. If that wasn't enough to draw me hook line and sinker, in came the Japanese legends, Russian fairy tales, and the Arabian myths. All of them were done so well and were written with very distinct atmosphere. I did think for a moment that Mercedes Lackey was reaching a bit for to cram as many fairy tales into one story to make it a success, but it all worked beautifully, and I declared myself utterly reeled in.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Ah, unadulterated chick-lit. Fantasy chick-lit even! Mercedes Lackey started a new "universe" series, all set in the Five Hundred Kingdoms. I think the first one, The Fairy Godmother, was the best. Basically all the novels tell the story of some mixed up fairy tale. This book dealt with more Russian folklore, which I don't know much about, so that was kinda fun. It also had a short bit where one of the characters travels to a distinctly Japanese island. Overall, the book was okay, but the plot d Ah, unadulterated chick-lit. Fantasy chick-lit even! Mercedes Lackey started a new "universe" series, all set in the Five Hundred Kingdoms. I think the first one, The Fairy Godmother, was the best. Basically all the novels tell the story of some mixed up fairy tale. This book dealt with more Russian folklore, which I don't know much about, so that was kinda fun. It also had a short bit where one of the characters travels to a distinctly Japanese island. Overall, the book was okay, but the plot dragged a bit. It also seemed like certain elements of the story were just repeated over, and over. Like the fact that the male lead is a Songweaver, or something, and it gets mentioned in, like, every chapter. The romance is cute, and it's nice to see mentions of characters from the previous books.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kate McMurry

    Fun fairy-tale retelling for older teens as well as adults Ekaterina, "Katya" for short, is the seventh daughter of the Sea King's fourteen children. Her father is a very wise man who has brought peace rather than endless war to his kingdom. He believes that all his children should have useful work to do based on their individual talents, rather than getting spoiled, lazy and causing trouble due to idleness. Katya can function equally well breathing air and walking on land and breathing water and Fun fairy-tale retelling for older teens as well as adults Ekaterina, "Katya" for short, is the seventh daughter of the Sea King's fourteen children. Her father is a very wise man who has brought peace rather than endless war to his kingdom. He believes that all his children should have useful work to do based on their individual talents, rather than getting spoiled, lazy and causing trouble due to idleness. Katya can function equally well breathing air and walking on land and breathing water and swimming under the sea. Her father also gave her and all her royal siblings dragon's blood, which imparts the ability to everyone who drinks it to understand the speech of all animals, and to a special few, including Katya, the ability to speak and understand all human languages. Because of these things, her father offered Katya the job of being his eyes and ears on land. The peace of his realm is not threatened only by events under the sea. Wars of aggression on the land can easily spread underwater, and he is determined to nip in the bud the destructive acts of magical villains before they get out of hand. Prince Sasha is the seventh son of the King of Belrus, a small kingdom very near the Sea King's domain. Sasha is known as a "Fortunate Fool." In public he plays the part of a grinning idiot whose gift of luck brings peace and plenty to his father's kingdom, but in private his family knows him for an intelligent, decent, caring young man. In between missions for her father, Katya encounters Sasha, and it is instantly clear that both of these intrepid virgins (neither of them has ever been attracted to anyone else romantically before) are made for each other. But before they can fully cement their romance, Katya is kidnapped by an evil Jinn, and Sasha is determined to find her and do everything he can to aid her in the brave escape he is confident she is inevitably planning. This is the third entry in the 500 Kingdoms series by Mercedes Lackey, originally published between 2004-2011 by Harlequin's LUNA fantasy line. I had not read any of her books before stumbling on this series. I wasn't expecting to enjoy these books as much as I have because I'd never before been a fan of traditional fantasy novels. For my own preferences, books in that genre tend to be over-long because of spending a great deal of time lovingly detailing the magical world at the expense of a central, character-based story. In contrast, LUNA books must inevitably be tightly written because that imprint has a standard word length of no more than 120,000 words. This requirement pushes participating authors to stick to the main storyline which, because this is Harlequin, is a paranormal romance, with a secondary action-adventure plot. As a long-time fan of paranormal romance, this series provides a type of fantasy story I could definitely get interested in for the romance alone. But Lackey has provided me with several other major attractions. First, the series employs fairytale-retelling, which I've always enjoyed, and which is brilliantly done here. The concept of a world driven by a magical "Tradition," which forces the people of the 500 Kingdoms to live out familiar myths and fairytales, is an enthralling choice for magical world-building because it is rooted in a universal truth of ordinary, human existence--all too often major, life choices are forced on us seemingly irresistibly by our upbringing, conventions of our local and national society, and by the options available to us in the era of history in which we live. I constantly marvel at Lackey's sheer creativity in the way that she mixes and matches elements from fairytales and folklore from around the world, resulting in comically incongruous fantasy mashups. In this book the emphasis is primarily on Russian fairytales, but we get a taste of other traditions, too, such as tales from Japan. Speaking of comic incongruity, the second major thing I adore about the 500 Kingdom books is that Lackey is truly brilliant at subtle, witty, often laugh-out-loud humor in every entry in this series, including this one. I love comedy, and the intermix of fantastical creatures with both adventure and romance creates endless possibilities for humor. Regardless of the genre of fiction I read, I always prefer character-driven stories, and Lackey's series is totally character driven. Since this book is written for the adult, romance genre, we get to experience the dual points of view of both Katya and Sasha throughout the book. But because this book is based on fairytales, Lackey also from time to time moves into omniscient, storytelling, narrator mode, which works really well since that is the standard voice in traditional fairytales and strongly summons for the reader the mood of fairytales. In addition to the protagonists, the many subcharacters, both human and nonhuman, are vividly drawn and contribute tremendously to the story, while never upstaging Katya or Sasha, who are always compelling, every time they appear on the page. Katya is a strong, sympathetic heroine whose missions for her father involve lots of flexibility, cleverness, and the ability to involve other people and magical beings in a team effort to defeat terrible villains. Sasha functions much the same as Katya, being assigned by his father, a king, to help protect his kingdom. Both have drunk dragon blood. Both are equally kind-hearted, valiant, and willing to risk their lives to defend the weak and those they care about against evil, magical villains. Both have been trained to understand and deal with the problems caused by the Tradition and are skilled at nudging it toward happy endings rather than tragic ones. Sasha is particularly gifted at maneuvering the Tradition in two ways. He frequently does favors for people and animals, and as part of Sasha's magical luck, the Tradition forces them to repay those favors, usually just when Sasha desperately needs help. Sasha also regularly engages in on-the-spot composition of songs that are easy for anyone to sing, which allows them to rapidly spread throughout his kingdom. The continual repetition of lyrics that communicate a desired outcome exerts a counter pressure on the Tradition, steering it into paths that keep Sasha's kingdom safe and prosperous. It is fascinating to see a romantic hero whose weapons against horrible villains are not alpha-male battle skills, but rather his wit, big heart, and his magical luck as a Fortunate Fool. For those who are reading the series in order, this is the third book, and it is fun to re-encounter two lovable, and quite amusing, talking dragons which are central characters in book 2, One Good Knight. We also meet again an extremely funny subcharacter from book 1, The Fairy Godmother, a flying "humpback" horse who is very clever but quite homely. In this story, as in every one I've read so far in this series, unicorns appear. Male ones are attracted to female virgins, and female ones are attracted to male virgins. They are utterly gorgeous, but completely dumb, and every time they appear, the results are hilarious, as in this book when--prior to meeting Katya--Sasha is constantly bombarded with their fawning attentions. As is typical in actual fairytales, all the main romantic protagonists in this series are quite young, ranging from 16 to, at most, 20--in this book both protagonists are 18. Because of that, if it weren't for several tasteful, loving, non-graphic sexual encounters between the romantic protagonists in this book--and similar scenes in most of the other books in this series--these books could easily qualify as Young Adult (YA) suitable for ages 12 and above. The author's voice and tone are ideal for that genre. As it is, these books are definitely appropriate for teens 16 and older. The books in this series as of today's date are: The Fairy Godmother One Good Knight Fortune's Fool The Snow Queen The Sleeping Beauty Beauty and the Werewolf A Tangled Web (a short story from a previous anthology) I read a Kindle re-issue of this book which is well formatted and well edited. I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Hero: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Fantasy World-Building: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Romance Plot: 5 stars Action-Adventure Plot: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tessa

    3.5 stars I enjoyed this book more than the second book in this series but not as much as the first. I'm sensing a theme with Mercedes Lackey. I really enjoy her world-building and the way she integrates folklore and fairytales into her books. Her characters and writing are okay. Decent enough. But yikes! Her romances are REALLY bad. This one is no exception. They go from being strangers to sleeping together and getting engaged in a single chapter. I like these characters separately, but that rom 3.5 stars I enjoyed this book more than the second book in this series but not as much as the first. I'm sensing a theme with Mercedes Lackey. I really enjoy her world-building and the way she integrates folklore and fairytales into her books. Her characters and writing are okay. Decent enough. But yikes! Her romances are REALLY bad. This one is no exception. They go from being strangers to sleeping together and getting engaged in a single chapter. I like these characters separately, but that romance was so insta-lovey.... Still, I enjoyed the world-building very much and I will continue with this series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Zigler

    This wasn't my favourite of this series so far, because I felt the tradition was too easily sent in the direction the characters wanted, taking away some of the potential conflict and tension. Besides that I really enjoyed it though, and I do think it's a nice addition to the series, hence the good rating. This wasn't my favourite of this series so far, because I felt the tradition was too easily sent in the direction the characters wanted, taking away some of the potential conflict and tension. Besides that I really enjoyed it though, and I do think it's a nice addition to the series, hence the good rating.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kit★

    Continuing with my reading of the 500 Kingdoms series. This one was very good I thought, there was a lot of action, and more of a focus on the romance in this one as compared with the first two. This book tells the story of Katya, youngest daughter of the Sea King, and her love, Sasha, seventh son of the King of Led Belarus. Katya works for her father, being his eyes and ears both in the sea and on land. Sasha is a Fortunate Fool, as well as a Songweaver, and his job is to ensure peace and prosp Continuing with my reading of the 500 Kingdoms series. This one was very good I thought, there was a lot of action, and more of a focus on the romance in this one as compared with the first two. This book tells the story of Katya, youngest daughter of the Sea King, and her love, Sasha, seventh son of the King of Led Belarus. Katya works for her father, being his eyes and ears both in the sea and on land. Sasha is a Fortunate Fool, as well as a Songweaver, and his job is to ensure peace and prosperity in his kingdom, using song to guide The Tradition. Well, during one of Sasha's trips around his kingdom, he meets Katya on the beach, and the two eventually fall in love. But the the Sea King needs Katya to go investigate the disappearance of a swan maiden, so the pair must part for now. However, in the course of her investigations, Katya herself is taken captive, and added to a menagerie of kidnapped girls in a big castle in the middle of a desert. The girls quickly become friends. Turns out their captor is a bad Jinn who was loosed, and his goal is to take over and turn everything into desert, using the girls as his source for building magic, because all the girls he's taken have abilities of their own. There's a swan maiden, a snow maiden, a Wolf-girl, a Bear-girl, a ghost, an apprentice magician, a Gypsy, and a few others. Well, The Tradition isn't familiar with Jinn in this part of the world, and has no path to force it into, making it harder than usual to defeat. Meanwhile, Sasha is on a quest to rescue his beloved. Along the way he meets a Baba Yaga who sets him to cleaning out her stables. If he fails, or displeases her in an way, he'll be killed, and his bones added to the fence of bones surrounding her crazy hut. In the stables are a Wise Wolf who is being held captive, as well as a magic Goat. Also, much to Sasha's surprise, Sergei the Little Humpback Horse is there, held under a spell. Sergei is familiar from The Fairy Godmother, so it was good seeing him again. Sasha, of course, being a Fortunate Fool, outsmarts Baba Yaga and makes his escape, freeing the other captives as well. Then he meets the Queen of the Copper Mountain, and his devotion to Katya moves her, because usually men are easily seduced by her wealth and beauty. So she frees him. At this point in the book, things are moving along pretty fast. Adamant and Gina from One Good Knight show up, and the plans begin on how to defeat the Jinn and rescue the girls. It's all very exciting, and I don't want to ruin it. Suffice to say everyone uses their smarts and individual talents, and of course the day is saved, happily ever after etc. This book was very, very good. I liked the characters, and Mercedes Lackey's world-building is excellent. I like the blends of different fairy-tales and legends from all over the world, it's fascinating, because some of the things I've never heard of before, so I learn something new. I'll be continuing this series as soon as I find a copy of The Snow Queen. They didn't have it when I went to Borders last time, so I need to find it!

  18. 4 out of 5

    TheCosyDragon

    This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule. In another tale of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, Sasha and Katya are both seventh born children. The difference between them is that one belongs on the land and the other in the sea. Both have important roles for their kingdoms, but both are equally alone as well. Sasha and Katya show very little character development. Sasha is the kind hearted soul This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule. In another tale of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, Sasha and Katya are both seventh born children. The difference between them is that one belongs on the land and the other in the sea. Both have important roles for their kingdoms, but both are equally alone as well. Sasha and Katya show very little character development. Sasha is the kind hearted soul he has always been, and Katya the strong willed woman who loves clothes! Their relationship also seems a little quick moving, but then again, the Tradition is behind it. I like how this book has two climax points. The first is with Katya, which introduces her nicely, and the second is with the Jinn. The various adventures Sasha had didn't hold as much weight with me because I knew that as a Fortunate Fool he would come out of them ok every time. Nippon. Anyone who has studied Japanese will see that Lackey has blatantly ripped off their language. I'm not sure I found it great - I wanted something new, not something I was familiar with. Granted, it was a bit like medieval Japan, but in a Fairytale book I felt there should be more. Three Baba Yagas! How scary. This is a fairytale that everyone should be familiar with, the strange house that walks on two chicken legs. This book really makes an effort to draw in a number of Fairytales, which is excellent. The ending is a little bit too clear cut for me. Or rather, not the ending itself, but the little epilogue that is at the end, in a years time. All too very convenient and unlikely, even with the Tradition. I was under the impression that the castle was further away from Sasha's kingdom that it appears, and it isn't near the water except by a stream. I'd recommend this book for adults only, simply because it has explicit sex scenes in it. They aren't really necessary for the book, and they do feel a little gratuitous, but I guess Lackey doesn't get to explore that much in her other books.

  19. 5 out of 5

    BK Blue

    It's cute, fantasy-romance fluff. I like the way the author combines folk and fairy tales together in her fantasy world, and how there's always a twist on the familiar stories. I noticed a few typos which always bothers me in non-indie printed format. There's no real excuse for that. I'm weird about my fantasy. I have some friends who absolutely love the heavy epic type of fantasy, and I just cannot do that. I am always weary of the author spending too much time on world-building and description It's cute, fantasy-romance fluff. I like the way the author combines folk and fairy tales together in her fantasy world, and how there's always a twist on the familiar stories. I noticed a few typos which always bothers me in non-indie printed format. There's no real excuse for that. I'm weird about my fantasy. I have some friends who absolutely love the heavy epic type of fantasy, and I just cannot do that. I am always weary of the author spending too much time on world-building and descriptions that he/she slacks on the character-building and plot. Another thing that will kill a book quickly for me is when the author has taken themselves too seriously and expects too much suspended disbelief out of the reader. For example: You keep having the old "deus ex machina" pop up and don't even acknowledge the cop out trope with a joke or something, and we're gone have a problem, specifically a book-tossing problem. I guess that's what I like about this series. She doesn't get too serious. For what it is, it's good.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Theodora Vanyar

    Overview: Blurb: This is the third book in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series; while it can be read as a stand-alone, it does make more sense if you have read The Fairy Godmother with certain characters that make an appearance. Katya, a daughter of the Sea King, is a spy for her father. She is sent ashore and meets a kitsune who she aids in defeating a demon. While on another mission, Katya meets the Seventh Son of the King of Led Belarus, another kingdom of the Five Hundred Kingdoms. However, thi Overview: Blurb: This is the third book in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series; while it can be read as a stand-alone, it does make more sense if you have read The Fairy Godmother with certain characters that make an appearance. Katya, a daughter of the Sea King, is a spy for her father. She is sent ashore and meets a kitsune who she aids in defeating a demon. While on another mission, Katya meets the Seventh Son of the King of Led Belarus, another kingdom of the Five Hundred Kingdoms. However, this kingdom has no Fairy Godmother, just the magic of Sasha, the Fortunate Fool and Seventh Son. Katya and Sasha fall in love, quite quickly, and end up separated when Katya is kidnapped by an evil Jinn. Katya and Sasha have separate adventures, including run-ins with Baba Yaga herself and the Queen of the Copper Mountain, as they strive to get back to one another. Katya isn't the only one that has been kidnapped. Because of The Tradition forcing his hand, the Jinn has been taking women of magical abilities away and keeping them to drain of their powers. One of the Swan Sisters has been stolen away by the Jinn, another captive is an actual ghost who is earth-bound. A snow maiden and shapeshifter have also been taken. As ever with a Five Hundred Kingdoms, they also help many others along the way. All in all, a nice, happily ever after sort of story, with magical beings and multiple folk tale characters abounding. Trigger Warnings: Bastardization of Mythology, Blood, Bullying, Death, Disabled Character (sort of), Food, Murder, Off Screen Sex, Poor Coping Mechanisms, Purple Prose, Sex, Toxic Masculinity (mentioned in passing), Unsafe Sex, Violence, Violent Imagery, War Body Count: 2, technically? Does it count if they're already dead? Overall review: • Thoughts: o What I liked: Katya and Sasha had their own arch separately even as their adventures and affections intertwined. Katya's adventure after being taken by the Jinn were interesting. I really liked the incorporation of Baba Yaga and the Queen of the Stone Mountain. o What I didn't like: I didn't like that Sasha pretended to be a deaf-mute, but no actual disabled characters were mentioned in the story. Also, the absolute "happily ever after" that everyone found in the end was a bit saccharine. There was major conflict, but everything got resolved so...neatly. I wish there was a little more depth to it. • Was it engaging? o Yes • Favorite Character: o Sergi, the Humpbacked Horse • Least Favorite Character: o the Jinn Rating out of five: 3.0 out of 5 To Read or Not To Read (Again): Not to Read: Happily Donated for Someone Else to Read The Technical Specs: • Series o Series Name: The Five Hundred Kingdoms o Book Number: 3 of 7 • Genre o Technical Genre: Gothic Romances, Mythology & Folk Tales, Fairy Tale Fantasy o Theo Genre: Faerie Tales, High Fantasy, Romance with Plot, Magical Realism • Page count: 400 pages • POV: Limited 3rd • Publication information: o Publisher: Harlequin o Language: English o ISBN-13: 9781459296664 o ASIN: B01BSEZN3U Representation, Morality, and Sexism in Media Tests: • Bechdel–Wallace Test: Pass o Do two female characters talk about something other than a male character? • Deggan's Rule Test: Pass o Are there at least two non-white human characters in the main cast in a story not primarily focused on race? • DuVernay Test: Pass o Are there fully actualized characters of color? • Ellen Willis Test: Pass o Would two related characters still work to carry the story if their genders were reversed? • Hays Code: Pass o Part One: outdated moral guidelines: Pass  Are there any outdated "moral content" rules gloriously kicked in the teeth by this story? Murder, happy queer characters, profanity, etc. o Part Two: queer representation: Pass  Are there queer characters that get a happy ending?  Do the queer characters die? o Part Three: age and agency: Pass  Is there an illegal or otherwise distasteful age gap between characters, queer or otherwise? • Mako Mori Test: Pass o Is there a female character that gets her own arc? • Mary Sue/Gary Stu Test: Pass o Is the main character completely flawless and persecuted by other characters needlessly? o Take a Mary Sue test here! • Sexy Lamp Test: Pass o Would the plot fall apart if the female character was replaced by a sexy looking lamp? o Post-It Note Caveat:  Would the character be able to be replaced by a Sexy Lamp with a sticky note on it for information conveyance? • Tauriel Test: Pass o Is there at least one woman in the story who is competent in her chosen occupation and not immediately shown up by a newcomer male character? o If she has or develops a love interest during the story, either implied or explicitly stated, does she suddenly abandon her job and/or chosen path to support or pursue said love interest? • Topside Test: Fail o Are there two or more trans characters in the story that know each other and do they talk about anything other than medical transition procedures?  I acknowledge that most common media lacks decent trans representation. • Vito Russo Test: Half Pass, as it is never stated the character is gay o Is there a character on the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum who is a character beyond their orientation and do they actually affect the plot and are something beyond a punchline?  What does that stand for? Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual/Biromantic/Bigender, Transgender, Queer/Genderqueer, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender, Pansexual/Panromantic You can read more about the various Media Tests I employ in my reviews at GeekFeminism.wikia.org or by clicking the header on the individual test. Why include all these? Because I can, because representation matters, and because I’m neurotic. Review format updated 14 April 2020

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maja - BibliophiliaDK ✨

    This one didn't live up to the previous. I find it a little incredible that suddenly everyone is an expert in The Tradition, when, in the first book, it seemed like The Tradition was only revealed to a select few. And the character's in this book were a big let down. They were absolutely flat and lifeless, not personality to them what so ever. Not good, no. This one didn't live up to the previous. I find it a little incredible that suddenly everyone is an expert in The Tradition, when, in the first book, it seemed like The Tradition was only revealed to a select few. And the character's in this book were a big let down. They were absolutely flat and lifeless, not personality to them what so ever. Not good, no.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lauren James (storied.adventures)

    Really cute fairytale love story! There is a sex scene that surprised me. Overall it was really cute!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emily *fake last name*

    Did I just up the rating from 2-stars because the ending was so well-done? Yes, yes I did. The Five Hundred Kingdoms books put Mercedes Lackey in a tricky position as an author. They're all technically standalones, but they interweave with each other, and characters from earlier books show up in later ones. That being said, I think it would be tricky to step into the middle of the series, and I wish they were treated more like a continuous series; because when they aren't, she's forced to re-exp Did I just up the rating from 2-stars because the ending was so well-done? Yes, yes I did. The Five Hundred Kingdoms books put Mercedes Lackey in a tricky position as an author. They're all technically standalones, but they interweave with each other, and characters from earlier books show up in later ones. That being said, I think it would be tricky to step into the middle of the series, and I wish they were treated more like a continuous series; because when they aren't, she's forced to re-explain all of the worldbuilding all over again. In The Fairy Godmother, our POV character, Elena, is a newcomer to the world of The Tradition, the magic system in this world, and so we learn about it as she does. It's not the most sophisticated storytelling technique, but it's charming and it works. In this book, both of our POVs are people not only steeped in The Tradition, they are experts at manipulating it; but because Mercedes Lackey can't trust that all of her readers have read the earlier books / fully remember and understand how the magic system works, then we're left with s o m u c h e x p o s i t i o n! It's legitimately tiring. And this aspect of the writing also never really lets us get into each character's head, because someone who understands their own world so well wouldn't have to explain it to themselves. There are many things to like about this book: Both Katya and Sasha are charming main characters, and it's fun to watch competent people be competent. It's even fun to watch competent magical people be competent at magic. And I like the fact that they fall in love early in the book. The line, "Sasha was not madly in love. He thought he was quite sanely in love." was legitimately refreshing to read. It's not instalove, it's just two people falling in love early in the story. (view spoiler)[ Though the sex scenes are kinda boring, ngl. (hide spoiler)] Secondly, despite enormous amount of exposition, Mercedes Lackey is very good at describing things, and reading about her version of the Sea Kingdom and the magical creatures in Led Belarus really whisks you away, and that's what I'm looking for in a fairy-tale romance to begin with. Now we need to get into the problems with storytelling here, and the more problematic aspects of her choices. 1. When both of your mcs are uber-competent, it's hard to get me to believe that the stakes are high. (view spoiler)[ Maybe if both Katya and Sasha failed at something BIG during the second half of the book, that would have changed the tone enough? It's a fairy tale, I know it's all gonna be okay, but give me SOMETHING to be excited or uncertain about! (hide spoiler)] 2. (view spoiler)[ Having one of your mcs stuck in a castle for half the book is boring. Perhaps we could have had more interesting scenes if we learned more about the Girl Gang she was with and really delved into their personalities, but the book... didn't. (hide spoiler)] 3. It's clear that Mercedes Lackey is uncomfortable with her source material here in a way that she's simply not in the first two books. She's doing stories that are outside of what I would think of as the Disney-certified fairy tale canon, so I think that's where a lot of the exposition comes from. 4. (view spoiler)[ Because of this, the story simply isn't subversive the way the first two novels in this series are. The Fairy Godmother and One Good Knight both playfully subvert audience expectations because the author knows the storytelling traditions she's borrowing from so well that she CAN DO THAT. Here, she really doesn't. (hide spoiler)] 5. Because this is more of a casual breeze through Russian, Japanese, and Middle-Eastern folktales, and because I myself am not familiar with any of those traditions, I can't say which aspects are used well and which are misused. Having your big villain be a Jinn who's "just bad" without any other characters from his world in the story gives me cringe, though. 6. There's a Romani character referred to with a word that's not Romani. This may be a sign of the times the book is written in, but I'm not inclined to give too much of a benefit of the doubt, because that character also has a written-in accent when none of the others do AND KATYA CAN UNDERSTAND ALL THE LANGUAGES OF THE WORLD. All in all, I had fun reading this, though was at times bogged down with exposition in the beginning and predictability later on, but the ending and epilogue were so fun, I bumped up the star rating.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chicken

    This qualifies as solidly "enjoyable." It's novella length (it doesn't make this terribly obvious if you don't go looking for it, but it is best suited as a novella) and it's a novella that doesn't need 110% of your attention, but is reasonably distracting. I'm being a little generous with four stars, but I feel I got four stars of enjoyment out of it. This novella sits in a weird gray area between too simple and just the right amount of simple. It's got depth, it's got fun and interesting charac This qualifies as solidly "enjoyable." It's novella length (it doesn't make this terribly obvious if you don't go looking for it, but it is best suited as a novella) and it's a novella that doesn't need 110% of your attention, but is reasonably distracting. I'm being a little generous with four stars, but I feel I got four stars of enjoyment out of it. This novella sits in a weird gray area between too simple and just the right amount of simple. It's got depth, it's got fun and interesting characters, but it's a little shallow, mostly because it's only really intended to be shallow. It's not a book to immerse you in this universe. It's a little bit of a teaser, with some really good characters from other books in the series featuring prominently, but it's not just a hook-book. It stands on its own, and makes you consider reading more of the series for both the mentioned characters and the fact that this universe is genuinely a very fun one. In our currently (wonderfully) retold-fairytales dense market, it's not the most original, but it's certainly not the least, and it's a much lighter universe than, say, Valdemar. It's a romantic series in which the author seems to have a good time, which makes me like it. That's Fortune's Fool in a nutshell I think. It feels like something that was fun to write, it's reasonably unique, it's got two good leads, it's fun. I like it. It's not breaking any walls or records, it's not a book I'm going to scream at anyone to read, but I might reread it on a rainy day, and I'm content to have picked it up, though I wish I'd gotten it in a collection instead, assuming it comes in one. My main complaint is I wish it had more diversity and feminism, because it's got a perfect set-up for it. The female lead would make sense as literally anything other than Caucasian, she's a pretty awesome character who is in fact pretty bad ass, it's got a lot of women and it literally has Japan in it. Yeah it's set in fairy tale Russia, so what? But like I said. It's not breaking anything. It's just an enjoyable novella you can pick up and enjoy, consider reading more of the series, and be happy either way. It's fun.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Spencer

    Fortune's Fool PLOT: In this fairy tale a young man known as "The Fortune" Fool lives in a kingdom (Led Belarus) with his older brothers and father. The downside is he's reduced to playing the role of the fool in public. Acting up, playing pranks, and such. Basically being comic relief. But behind closed doors, he's treated with the utmost respect and love by his Father and brothers. The upside is this Fool has the luck of the Tradition on his side. Meaning he's a living, singing, 4 leaf clover. Fortune's Fool PLOT: In this fairy tale a young man known as "The Fortune" Fool lives in a kingdom (Led Belarus) with his older brothers and father. The downside is he's reduced to playing the role of the fool in public. Acting up, playing pranks, and such. Basically being comic relief. But behind closed doors, he's treated with the utmost respect and love by his Father and brothers. The upside is this Fool has the luck of the Tradition on his side. Meaning he's a living, singing, 4 leaf clover. But again the downside is the luck he makes isn't his own (particularly in love because who could ever love a beast? That is a fool.) But his luck is about to change because a pretty, little, thing catches his eye that just so happens to be the Sea King's daughter. (I'm just gonna call her Kat for short). Kat is a mermaid, but in a twist of story (without Ursula's magic) a part of her sea magic is that she can conveniently trade her fins for legs. Which comes in handy because she's a spy for her father. Soon after the two discover each other and fall in love Kat is called away on a mission by her Dad. Something not right has been happing. One of the Swan Princesses has disappeared. Finding herself in the midst of a whirlwind when everything settles Kat finds herself in the courtyard of a stolen palace. Now the captured servant of a Jinn (Genie) who takes magic given females and siphoned off their magic to feed his own (weakened magic). In order to defeat the Jinn Kat and the rest of the servant (magical) girls will have to find the one thing that can stop him for good (the bottle which held him). Sasha goes on his own journey in order to find the woman he loves and finds himself facing not only Baba Yaga, but a treacherous sea assault, and a Queen of a Copper Mountain that would love nothing better than to "service him" MY THOUGHTS: I will say that the action in this story was beautifully written! It had one of the most impressive magical battles I think I've ever read! And I've read many a magical story in my day. But this was done so vividly it jumped off the page! And I could see each assault as if I were watching it instead of reading it. The back and forth as each combated the spell thrown at them with the quick rebuttal of an equally more powerful spell was spellbinding and inspired. I tried to think back in my head if there was anything better or equally as good that I could compare this with and came up with none (in a book). The end battle wasn't as spectacular but cleverly used all the elements to defeat the Jinn. The romance between Sasha and Kat was lacking for me. Even though it's supposed to be a fairy tale (and thus fluff) it just didn't give time to warm to this romance. Only after one meeting, they've slept together and the feelings are so intense that they're engaged. I guess this only works out *in* fairy tales. Thus Sasha and Kat feel rushed and forced. It didn't even cause a spark when I read their sex scenes. Although the characters themselves were likable, yet I just didn't develop any strong feelings for either. Of all the lady warriors I've read about named Kat (Katniss, Katsa, Eskatya) this one impressed me the least. I felt like she was underdeveloped. Her magical water skill was decent (as we got to see in both battles), but as a spy, she left a lot to be desired. Spy's stories usually center around danger and excitement. Other than the fact that she put herself in the position to get drowned by a water spirit, there wasn't much of that. I guess you could say that the potential hint of what the Jinn could do might be a danger, but most of the spying was done by the other magicals when she was in captivity. As for Sasha, I liked him a tad bit better. I liked his "gift" of bringing luck to the land and the people. Wish he'd come to my city! I liked his character because he sounds a bit like my uncle (the fool part), but then I like also that he's loyal. When faced when temptation from another woman he's charming and plays to the Queen without compromising what he has. And I liked that when faced with the threat of danger to his fiancee he'd go great lengths. Another character that stood out to me was the Sea King and the way he not only helped all his kids find jobs in life that were suited to their gifts he CREATED them. Now that's going above and beyond! There was a slew of brothers and sisters. Each painstakingly and thoroughly described (as well as their positions), but because they weren't used felt like fillers or page wasters. What was the point of telling us about what skilled magicians and warriors and fighters they were? Then there were the animals. There was the humpback horse (Sergi). Don't know why I kept picturing his character as Donkey from Shrek. Maybe because he was the side-kick. He was nicely used as a character. There was the wolf (Again used adequately in his assist) and then there were the Dragons. Which one of them disturbed me slightly. I skipped over the story "The Good Knight" and I have a feeling it's where they came from. The lady one used to be a human and she falls in love with a dragon while she's human? WHAT THE HELL? I'm praying it's something in that story that makes that better than it sounds. Then there were the magical servant girls. I'll say that as a whole collective unit I liked how it showed each of their strengths being put into play bringing down the Jinn. Neither of them was wasted or filler. It also stood out to me (for some reason) and I liked how the Gypsy's magic was different and didn't just draw from her but from all her tribe. Thus the Jinn could never take it all. He could just use what was on her while he was around her. It was like her source of magic couldn't be depleted. Which is interesting. If you're born into magic should it *ever* get used up? Shouldn't magicals always have magic? Magic shouldn't be something that just drains out of you by other magic creatures. Meaning no one should be able to steal your magic. But that's just my thought. Books tend to vary and think differently on this. The ending of the book went on a bit too long after the Jinn was defeated. I expected a short summary of where the characters were not another whole novel in itself. RATING: 6 It was an interesting twist of slightly altered elements from the Little Mermaid but it didn't quite capture the heart of the whimsy and growing romance and the adventure of the original, classic, tale we've grown to love.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kati

    The Five Hundred Kingdoms world is rich with fantastical elements and tradition that cannot help but suck the reader into this gorgeous world. Full of mythical creatures, princes and princesses this is a world you will not want to leave. Fortune’s Fool takes a little escape from the previous novels in the series featuring the princess of an underwater kingdom, Katya. Katya is a princess with her head screwed on and a sense of right and wrong. She is bright and adventurous and acts as a spy for he The Five Hundred Kingdoms world is rich with fantastical elements and tradition that cannot help but suck the reader into this gorgeous world. Full of mythical creatures, princes and princesses this is a world you will not want to leave. Fortune’s Fool takes a little escape from the previous novels in the series featuring the princess of an underwater kingdom, Katya. Katya is a princess with her head screwed on and a sense of right and wrong. She is bright and adventurous and acts as a spy for her father. Her character is a breath of fresh air and while still maintaining true Mercedes Lackey fashion she brings a uniqueness to the story and a slow burning development. During one of her missions for her father she meets Sasha who is the seventh son. Sasha is destined to play the fool. However, he is more intelligent than anyone gives him credit for. His development is a more pronounced one than Katya and one I particularly enjoyed. The lyrical story telling style of Mercedes Lackey was not lost in Fortunes Fool and the adventure and action elements of previous stories were also present in this book (as well as some cameos from previous characters). The lush and vibrant storytelling is a pleasure to behold.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Katya is the Sea-King's daughter. She has no fishtail, can breathe air at will, has the power of Illusion to disguise herself, and can understand any language, whether of humans or animals. Sasha is the Seventh Son of the King of Led Belarus. By the Tradition, he is the Wise Fool possessing the Luck of his father's kingdom. He is also a Songweaver, using his verses and melodies to nudge the Tradition in the direction the Land needs it to go. Separately, they are each agents of their respective fat Katya is the Sea-King's daughter. She has no fishtail, can breathe air at will, has the power of Illusion to disguise herself, and can understand any language, whether of humans or animals. Sasha is the Seventh Son of the King of Led Belarus. By the Tradition, he is the Wise Fool possessing the Luck of his father's kingdom. He is also a Songweaver, using his verses and melodies to nudge the Tradition in the direction the Land needs it to go. Separately, they are each agents of their respective fathers. Together, they are a formidable pair. When Katya is captured by an evil Jinn who is abducting magical maidens to siphon their power into himself, Sasha, Katya, and their friends must work together to defeat him ... I'm liking this series more with every installment. I particularly enjoy the way Ms. Lackey uses characters from previous books to establish a sense of continuity.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kes

    This is an okay book. It's set in the world of 500 Kingdoms, and is a romantic fantasy featuring self-aware people trying to navigate the impact of fairy-tales on their lives. It's a fun and light story that's primarily based on Russian folklore- basically, Ekaterina is the Seventh Princess of the Sea Kingdom. Sasha is the Seventh Prince of the Led Belrus. They meet each other and fall in love. Ekaterina gets called home to her father (view spoiler)[and sent on a spy mission; during this mission, This is an okay book. It's set in the world of 500 Kingdoms, and is a romantic fantasy featuring self-aware people trying to navigate the impact of fairy-tales on their lives. It's a fun and light story that's primarily based on Russian folklore- basically, Ekaterina is the Seventh Princess of the Sea Kingdom. Sasha is the Seventh Prince of the Led Belrus. They meet each other and fall in love. Ekaterina gets called home to her father (view spoiler)[and sent on a spy mission; during this mission, she gets kidnapped by a jinn (hide spoiler)] . The good: both are highly capable people and self-aware of the various story lines that could shape their actions (and therefore navigate through these story lines). The world is cool; the writing is good. The not-for-me: I don't tend to like romance. Which is why I subjectively felt it was only "okay".

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kimber

    I think this - thus far - is my favorite of the first three Five Hundred Kingdoms books. It was steeped in fairy tale flavor and I especially liked that the tales weren't all ones I was familiar with, or at least not as familiar with. The characters were, as usual, delightful. Apparently Mercedes Lackey's Muse totally has my number in this genre. It had a slightly more adult flavor to the romance, but not enough to qualify as erotica or anything, just closer to the 'romance novel' side of things I think this - thus far - is my favorite of the first three Five Hundred Kingdoms books. It was steeped in fairy tale flavor and I especially liked that the tales weren't all ones I was familiar with, or at least not as familiar with. The characters were, as usual, delightful. Apparently Mercedes Lackey's Muse totally has my number in this genre. It had a slightly more adult flavor to the romance, but not enough to qualify as erotica or anything, just closer to the 'romance novel' side of things without actually hopping the fence. A few of the scenes gave me chills, from touching redemptions to powerful forces for good fighting against evil. Lots and lots of great moments, too many to even attempt to pick a favorite. Overall, I highly recommend it for those who like remastered/revisited fairy tale adventures, romance, and humor.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jack Vasen

    This third book in the series tells a complete story and could stand alone. It uses two characters from book two as supporting characters for the last part of the book. Katya is a clever, brave, intelligent heroine. Sasha is much the same as a hero. Their romance is sweet. There are a lot of secondary characters and takes concentration to keep them all straight. The villains are one dimensional. "Oh, I'm so angry! You will be so sorry!" Once again, this book borrows several fantasy tales from diff This third book in the series tells a complete story and could stand alone. It uses two characters from book two as supporting characters for the last part of the book. Katya is a clever, brave, intelligent heroine. Sasha is much the same as a hero. Their romance is sweet. There are a lot of secondary characters and takes concentration to keep them all straight. The villains are one dimensional. "Oh, I'm so angry! You will be so sorry!" Once again, this book borrows several fantasy tales from different cultures, but heavily Russian. As in previous books, there are many funny parts, especially dialogue. There is an anti-climatic epilogue which is lengthy in tying up loose ends for just about every character involved in the last half of the book. Mature themes: there is a mildly explicit sex scene. There are some violent fantasy deaths.

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