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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Beauty and the Werewolf - Mercedes Lackey

Bella is the eldest daughter in her house, with two younger step-sisters.     If you’re familiar with fairy tales, you can see where this story could go.    But Bella’s step-mother, while a flighty hypochondriac, is kind, and her two step-sisters adore her.   She’s also on good terms with her father, who has indulged her desire to learn the healing arts by allowing her to visit Granny in the woods outside their city whenever she wishes.

It’s on her way back from Granny’s  (red cloak intact) that she’s attacked by a wolf.    Strangely enough, the attack stops when she desperately cries out to wolf to stop.    He actually seems to understand her, and runs away.   But, she’s been bitten in the ankle, and the next morning, after seeing the doctor, the city guard arrives and escorts her away to a castle deep in the woods.

It turns out she’s at Redbuck manor, the home of Duke Sebastian, who despite being young, somewhat handsome, and definitely eligible, disappeared from court a couple of years ago, and now Bella knows why.    Sebastian’s been cursed, and is now a werewolf.     Which means Bella may be one too, and she’s confined to Redbuck Manor for three months, until they can tell for sure whether or not she’ll turn.

Bella’s initially very angry, but Sebastian is kind, and offers her any help he can give her.    He has invisible servants that he’s conjured up (did I mention he’s a wizard?), who have been doing their best with Sebastian’s rather absent minded instructions, and Bella is able to organize them into a much more efficient work force.    The Godmother Elena also takes pity on her, and allows her to communicate with her father.

This is a fun little send up of both Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast.    Bella is a very likable heroine, and Sebastian is a fun, absent-minded Beast.    This series continues to be a great read – and it continues to be one of the only series I’m willing to actually buy new.

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