Shelf Control #253: Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: Black Swan
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Published: 1999
Length: 416 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

As the only child of a powerful sorcerer, Odile Von Rothbart has studied the magical arts under her father’s stern tutelage all her life. Yet she feels only fear toward him. For considering his wife’s untimely death the ultimate betrayal, Baron Von Rothbart scours the land in the shape of a great bird of prey. His personal mission is to capture woman who arouse his wrath and inspire his rage for vengeance against all womankind. These poor souls he turns into swans—forcing them to spend their lives as beautiful but powerless animals who only regain their human forms briefly each night by the transitory light of the moon.

Yet though Odile is terrified of him, she has learned far more than her father, the baron, intended to teach her—both of the magical arts and of Von Rothbart’s idiosyncratic nature. And both as a woman and the guardian of his swan flock, her heart goes out to each and every young maiden ensorcelled by her vindictive father.

And then the noblest of Von Rothbart’s enchanted flock, the Princess Odette, finds the courage to confront her captor, wresting from him a pact which could lead to freedom for herself and all the swan-maidens. Knowing Von Rothbart will use all of his magical cunning to avoid honoring this pact, will Odile have the strength to face him in a final magical confrontation which, if she fails, will lead to her death and the murder of all in her flock? 

How and when I got it:

Found at a library sale, of course! I’ve had Black Swan on my shelf for at least 3 or 4 years now.

Why I want to read it:

This is my second time featuring a Mercedes Lackey book as a Shelf Control pick — even though I still haven’t gotten around to reading the previous one yet. Her books just sound so good!

I’ve seen this book referred to as a fairy tale retelling, but it’s actually unclear (as far as I can tell) whether there was a specific fairy tale that inspired Swan Lake, or simply that the ballet includes elements that were common in folklore of the time.

In any case, I’ve always loved Swan Lake, and Black Swan is definitely a reinterpretation of the story told in the ballet. I think it sounds amazing, closely following the ballet’s plot, but focusing on Odile and giving her magical gifts and a feminist agenda.

Have you read this book? Does it sound like something you’d want to read? And do you have any other Mercedes Lackey books to recommend?

Please share your thoughts!


Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

9 thoughts on “Shelf Control #253: Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey

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