Well, after mentioning it last post, I decided to reread a bunch of Eric Banyon’s adventures, starting with the first, Knight of Ghosts and Shadows. It’s the 80’s, it’s California, and there are elves. Lots of elves. And one has a purple mohawk because it’s the 80’s.
I always forget how fast this book goes. We spend a lot of time being introduced to the world, to the elves and to magic, and to Eric’s abilities as a Bard. He already knows how to play the flute, but using his music to do magic is a lot of what he learns in this book. It is, in every salient way, an origin story, the first in an ongoing series. In fact, Eric Banyon has a lot in common with comic book characters. It seems that he pops up in every decade in a different setting, sometimes with old friends, sometimes with new ones. We get to see him grow and change, not just taking charge of his life in Knight of Ghosts and Shadows, but as his power matures and he learns how to use it better.
Plus the villains get both weirder and more normal, depending on which book you’re talking about.
It’s that continuity yet separation between the different groups of books starring the same character which makes me think of comic books. You even have different coauthors at different points in time. The overall quality is still high, but the different eras do have different tones and textures. I have a friend who is much less fond of 2000s Eric Banyon than 80s Eric Banyon, and that’s okay.
As I mentioned, Eric is from the same world (universe?) as the SERRAted Edge. They even have a cameo in one of the later books that makes me grin like a fangirl. More importantly, that means that magic and elves and Underhill (the magical realm where elves and so much more live) work the same way in all of these books, and you can apply what you learn in one to another and not have any major holes in the system. You may have guessed, Mercedes Lackey likes elves. She also likes music and horses and hawks. Most of her books are going to involve at least one of the four and oftentimes when reading a new book I know little about, I smile and relax as soon as I spot one of the classic Lackey tropes.
The woman may describe herself as “a competent hack”, but that doesn’t change the fact that most of her books give me the same feeling as sitting down with a PB&J sandwich, a cup of hot chocolate, and a movie I’ve loved forever. So many Lackey books are relatively short, smooth reads (in my library, at least, I do read faster than most people) that are just comfortable, reassuring old friends.
I’ll probably continue with Bard Banyon for the time being. I do have some preorders that will be coming in over the next month and a half, which will certainly involve a lot of rereading, especially once I start prepping for the new Safehold novel. I’m fairly certain that I’ll be done with Banyon by Yom Kippur though. Unless if something unexpected happens.