Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Unnatural Issue, by Mercedes Lackey

Unnatural Issue

Written by Mercedes Lackey,  Narrated by Kate Reading

Reason for Reading: This was meant to be included in a fairy tale challenge in February, but that didn't work out for me too well. But I'm still going to finish up my Donkeyskin books, regardless! 

When Earth Master Richard Whitestone's wife dies in childbirth, he discards their newborn  daughter Suzanne in a fit of rage. Suzanne is raised as a servant of the household, while her father wastes away in his chambers. After many years, Whitestone develops a new passion - necromancy. When he sees his daughter wandering his lands, he realizes she is the perfect vessel in which to trap his dead wife's spirit. Suzanne must flee her father, and hide in the guise of a servant in another household. But her skill in Earth magic is difficult to hide...

This is a non-canonical retelling of the fairy tale Donkeyskin, and is part of Lakey's Elemental Master series. Although it certainly has charm and originality, it is not my favorite of the Donkeyskin retellings, nor of the Elemental Master series. I felt the premise of the book - a necromantic father, Elemental Masters fighting in WWI, with a touch of romance - had promise. Unfortunately, it just wasn't delivered as well as it could have been. The romance seemed forced, and the war sections uninteresting. Not that it was a terrible book, but it could have been so much better. Lackey is better than this. 

But, if you're looking for a fluffy-quick read, or an original fairy tale retelling, this book will certainly deliver that. :) The narration by Kate Reading was quite good. She did the voices well, and had good timing. 


  1. I must say that the plot sounds interesting. Too bad that it was such a disappointment. I certainly can see how mixing WW settings in a book like this might not work.

    1. Well, it wasn't awful, it's just that I expected better from this author/series. That's life though! :)

  2. I've been noticing that Lackey's work recently has been... spotty, and too often lackluster. It's disappointing; you're right, she's better than that. I also don't think she's getting the tough editing she should be getting. She can spin a great story, and her characters are usually interesting and compelling (when she's on her game), but there were some significant continuity issues in The Snow Queen, and several less-than-stellar books in the last few years. (Home From the Sea wasn't bad, but it, like Unnatural Issue, could have been so much more.

    1. Well, hopefully it's just a phase, and she'll have her second glory days soon. :)


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