I mentioned a couple posts ago about how Mercedes Lackey’s work has introduced me to so many other authors, series, concepts…etc. She’s described herself as “a competent hack” but her books are much more to me. They’re written in a way that I find very natural to read, they’re interesting even when the structures are ancient and cliché, and they make me feel happy when I finish reading them. Not every story has a happy ending, but it’s a complete and solid ending that satisifies.
Between mentioning her and then reading OSC, I figured it was time and past to reread one of Lackey’s numerous books. If you don’t know who Mercedes Lackey is, well, I’m very sorry but you must be blind. The woman is quite prolific and has worked with some of the most notable authors in science fiction and fantasy, including both Andre Norton and Anne McCaffrey. I am an avid reader of most of her books, and I may have more by her than any other single author. I’d have to do a count on that, but she certainly takes up more space than anyone else in my collection.
Above is my Mercedes Lackey bookshelf, the one with all the mass market paperbacks. There are, admittedly, a few books that are not by her…but they are part of a series she created, and so do belong with their fellows, in order. There’s also a number of anthologies, most notably the Valdemar anthologies, that are not solely her work. But, again, my interest is in keeping series together, and putting them in chronological order, except for anthologies, which get stuck at the end. And yes, wise readers who are familiar with Lackey, some books are missing from this picture, and this cannot be called a complete collection.
So here’s (most) of the rest of it, the hardcovers and the oversized paperbacks. As well as reasons why this blog is “mouse” reads books. You may recall that when I was reading the Symphony of Ages by Elizabeth Haydon, I discussed my preference for paperbacks, and when I will and won’t buy hardcovers. You can clearly see here that the newer Valdemar Books ended up on this shelf, among other series, because at some point I had books bought for me, or got impatient, or whatever. Some of the oldest hardcovers here – The White Gryphon and Elvenblood most notably – were originally acquired by my dad before I knew who Lackey was. Then you’ve got Tyger Burning Bright which I found at a used bookstore and have never actually seen in paperback.
If you’re familiar with Lackey’s oeuvre, you’ll notice that there are books missing. I never claimed to have a complete collection, and she, like so many other authors, follows my unwritten rule: I never like everything they produce. In this case, it’s the Elemental Masters series, which I tried and just…didn’t find it to my taste. Couldn’t tell you why, years later, but it just didn’t work for me. There’s also several additional volumes with her name on them scattered throughout, such as The Ship Who Searched being shelved with the rest of Brainships on Anne McCaffrey’s shelf, Wing Commander: Freedom Flight sitting in The Pile next to me, and others.
But enough about Mercedes Lackey in general and my collection as a whole. Today I finished Sacred Ground, a book from the mid-nineties, set in Lackey’s home state of Oklahoma and telling the tale of Jennifer Talldeer, a private investigator and Osage Medicine Woman. I am pretty sure that Lackey is not Native American and, as I am not either, I can’t really speak for how well or accurately she’s portrayed her characters. From what I’ve seen and read of this book as well as those by actual Native Americans (mostly Sherman Alexie and Leslie Marmon Silko), I think the portrayals are done respectfully. Certainly I’ve always enjoyed this book and found it to be lgoical and engaging, but that’s mostly as a reader who hopes to be openminded.
The story itself is simple enough, though the plot takes a number of twists and turns along the way. Sacred Ground, like many of Lackey’s books, is a nice, familiar rollercoaster for me. One I’ve ridden for years and yet still enjoy every time I go.