Friday, June 22, 2012

Featured Book: The Elvenbane

This week, I'm going to talk about one of my all time favorite books. The Elvenbane is a book by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey that captured my attention back in high school. It was my first big exposure to Elves, talking dragons, etc. (no, I still haven't got through The Lord Of The Rings... in fact, after this series, singing elves just flat out did me in).
The Elvenbane (Halfblood Chronicles, Bk. 1)
This series starts with a pregnant dragon (a shaman of her people) coming across a concubine in active labor, dying of exposure in the dessert. A free thinker amongst her people, she is also deeply compassionate and can't just leave the baby to die after helping her into the world, so she brings her back to her people and passes her off as a pet for her older child, her son.

This fantasy story bounces between characters in the third person, revealing, bit by bit, a world that began as an Earth parallel (with the exception that ESP is real there--telepathy, telekenesis, etc. are all quite possible), but was invaded by extradimensional travelers. Not a lot is revealed of the past in the first book (this is actually a trilogy--I warned you that I'm not big on stories that end in one book), but the present is populated by superior and typically cruel Elven Lords and their human slaves. Laws are strict, but none stricter than one: Humans and Elves may not breed together. The resulting 'wizards' have magic much stronger than their parents (which is contrary to Elven succession, leaving the child no stronger than the most powerful parent).

The dragons, too, are alien to the world they share and have kept their presence hidden, doing nothing to stop the subjugation of the native inhabitants (although they have no problem meddling in the two-legged affairs where it amuses them). The baby that the dragon shaman rescued just happens to be a halfblood (possibly why she was spared).

The Halfblood Chronicles features a strong female lead (and reluctant revolutionary leader), interesting, diverse characters and a fascinating take on all three races. There are politics, historical fun, magic, romance and adventure galore. It was my first adult fantasy series, but wasn't so thick of the genre as to be hard to read at all. I highly recommend these books.

Have you read them? What was your feelings on the books?

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