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Perfect as it is
on 18 February 2005
I would say that this novel is built along rather classic lines of fantasy. There is a quest involved and the hero is someone who thinks himself of being pretty average and even lacks self-confidence. We later find that it is not the case of course. However, what makes this one special then? I think it is the alienation between the majority of humans and the other races that makes it so unpredictable. I am writing as one who read both this and To Light a Candle, so if the reader wants to fully 'get' my review, one would have to read both.
Even in the first book, I chill at the appearance of the Enemy- the Endarkened. This is not the first fantasy I've read with Demons in it but Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory certainly created them to be some of the worst lot of Demons I have read about. A magical lot that lives on pain and torture of the very worst sort. The more I read about the Enemy in this trilogy, the more I find it to be unsettling and unpredictable. The Enemy are subtle and cunning, not to mention extremely patient. This combination is scary when it is the Enemy who has it in abundance. However, to be more precise would be giving details of the plot and I do not like doing that.
Where there is evil, there is also good and this trilogy has it in abundance as well. One of the most endearing races in the novel are the unicorns. Contrary to the stupid creatures from another of Mercedes Lackey's novels, these ones are extremely intelligent and even more beautiful. They are not fragile creatures but capable of defending themselves and those with them. There is absolutely no possibility of them being corrupt and this purity is so comforting when one reads about the absolute evil of the Enemy. Another amusing character is the hero, Kellen. He is basically a teenager and not one who is plagued by his hormones obviously because his constant companion in the novel is a unicorn and we all know that is one thing about unicorns that never varies. He is sensible and willing to question and best of all, accept what is different. Moreover, he is most amusing when he is among the Elves and trying, but not really succeeding, to be eloquent and courteous.
My title is Perfect as it is and I believe it is exactly that. I say it because the novel is not without its flaws, however, despite its flaws or maybe because of them, it is still a wonderful novel. It is a harmonious blend of a classical storyline with a modern, dry wit that endears. The characters are interesting and much too likeable because the trilogy is not without death and danger. I am now sorry that I read it when there are only two books out and not the whole three!