One of my favorite kind of book to read is a retelling. Whether it’s a retelling of a classic or of a fairytale, I’m there for it. So I thought I’d share my favorite twisted tales of all time, the Five Hundred Kingdom series by Mercedes Lackey!
Five Hundred Kingdoms is a fantasy series, definitely written for adults. It has all the tropes of a fairytale, used in an entirely new way In this world, destiny is ruled by The Tradition, a magic-based force. As in every good fairytale, there are witches, princess, and knights who must fulfill their destined roles, and The Tradition ensures they do that. Fairy Godmothers, wizards, and champtions make sure that The Tradition is upheld with a minimal amount of upheaval. The characters from each novel are in all the other novels as well.
This book sets the stage for the rest of the series, and tells the story of Elena Klovis. She was destined by The Tradition to be the kingdom’s next Cinderalla. But fate got in the way, taking that away from her. But as happens in the Five Hundred Kingdoms, a new fate is found for her, one that keeps The Tradition fulfilled.
The second book weaves together the story of Cassopeia and Andromeda and that of Sir George and the dragon. When a dragon begins to terrorize the kingdom, there is only one solution. Andromeda. But she is desperate to change her fate, so she searches for another way, one that will satisy The Tradition.
This book focuses on Ekaterina, the daughter of the Sea King. She’s the seventh daughter, and she is far more than the spoiled princess one might think. She’s also her father’s spy. A job that becomes dangerous when she’s kidnapped. Elements from Japanese mythology are blended with the Baba Yaga, sea mythology, Middle Eastern mythology, and the Slavic stories of the Copper Mountain.
The Hans Christian Anderson tale of the same name forms the foundation of this story, woven together with bits and pieces of Russian mythology! Aleksia is the Queen of the Northern Lights, and everyone things that she has a heart of ice. That makes it easy to blame her when evil begins to fall upon the villages nearby. But is she really to blame?
An attempt to thwart The Tradition, and to save a little girl from a less than pleasant fate, results in tangled paths. Snow White is woven with Sleeping Beauty in this one, as is Snow White and Rose Red, a tale that is very different from the Snow White most of us known!
The last book in the series is a mash-up of Beauty and the Beast and Red Riding Hood. The usual tropes from both stories are twisted into something very different. Bella, as the eldest daughter, is doomed, thanks to The Tradition. But she refuses to accept that and does everything she can to avoid that fate. However, The Tradition is not easily deceived, and she finds her story becoming something she never expected.