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Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Elvenbane - Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey

In a presumably future Earth, the powerful Elven lords arrived through a portal from their home world, and subjugated the humans they found in this new land. Their domination is so complete that the humans no longer remember their past civilization, or that they themselves have magic different than that of the Elven lords. The Elven lords have not forgotten the human magic, as they’ve found that when they breed with humans, the resulting half bloods are more powerful than the Elves. It’s now death to any human woman found carrying a half-Elf child, but some still manage to be born.

What the Elves don’t know is that there is another race that found this world through a portal. The Dragons have the ability to shape shift, and have walked disguised among the Elves and humans for many years. It was the Dragons that first started the prophecy of the Elvenbane, the half blood who would be powerful enough to bring down the Elven lords. They considered it a joke, a way to annoy the Elves.

And so we find the dragon shaman Alara traveling through the desert, where she happens upon a dying human woman. This human was the favorite concubine of one of the most powerful Elven lords, but became pregnant, and was barely able to escape with her life. The concubine dies in the desert, and Alara takes her newborn daughter, Shana, and raises her with her own son, Keman. From here, things get complicated, and the story develops.

I read this book when it first came out, which was when I was a teenager, and a little newer to the adult fantasy genre. I remember loving it, and when I recently saw a used copy, snapped it up. I didn’t love it so much this time. It wasn’t bad, but the pacing isn’t great, and I found myself wanting to push the story along through much of the middle of the book. It gets much better at the end, which I’m thankful for, as I also picked up the sequel used, and am happy I can still look forward to reading it. I don’t remember reading either of the other two books to this series, so I’m hoping the pacing will redeem itself later.

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