Top Ten Tuesday – Wildcard!

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This week, the folks at The Broke and the Bookish have given us free rein to choose our own Top Ten Tuesday Topic.  (That’s a lot of T’s.)  Since I am about to read the newest book in the Collegium Chronicles, and because so many of her female characters made it on my top ten heroines, I’m doing my Top Ten Mercedes Lackey Characters!

1. Talia (Arrows trilogy)- The main character from the very first trilogy written about the Heralds of Valdemar, and the series that introduced me to Mercedes Lackey’s wonderful world of Velgarth: Arrows of the Queen, Arrow’s Flight, and Arrow’s Fall.  I have loved Talia since I first read this trilogy many years ago, and of all the Mercedes Lackey characters I’ve met, I have the biggest soft spot for her for that reason.

2. Vanyel Ashkevron (The Last Herald-Mage trilogy) – I love Vanyel.  I want to slap him silly at times, but I love him.  I am not an emotional person, and I’m not much of a crier, but the first time I read Vanyel’s trilogy, especially Magic’s Price, I have to admit I squeezed out a tear or two.  It’s so beautifully tragic.

3. Kethry (Vows & Honor series) – She’s a sorceress.  She’s kinda snarky.  And she’s carrying around a magical sword named Need.  She’s got a sword-sworn Shin’a’in sister (Tarma) and a familiar, who’s a neuter kyree (wolf-like creature) named Warrl (though Warrl seems to prefer Tarma’s company to Keth’s.)  It’s been too long since I read these books, but I always liked Kethry.

4. Need (she shows up everywhere!) – Yes, I am aware that I said in #3 that Need is a sword.  She’s still a character.  Everyone thinks Need is a geas-blade, she can only be carried by women, and if she chooses you, she compels you to save every damsel in distress in a 100-mile radius.  She does help, though – if you’re a fighter, she protects you from magic, and if you’re a magic-user, she gives you fighting skills. The truth of what Need actually is isn’t revealed until the Mage Winds/Mage Storms series, when she begins to wake up and can actually talk.  And let me tell you, she’s got some definite opinions.

5. Skif (By the Sword, Take a Thief,others) – Skif is around in the Arrows books, I’m pretty sure he shows up in By the Sword, and I know he’s in Take a Thief because it’s all about him!  I wouldn’t quite put Skif in the category of the characters I’ve fallen madly in love with, but he’s close.

6. Alberich (Exile’s Honor, Exile’s Valor, others) – Alberich is about as unlikely a herald as you can get.  He’s from Karse, where they believe that the Heralds are evil and Companions are demons.  And he gets Chosen.  It’s quite a struggle for him to come to terms with it, but he does.  He’s a very well-done character.

7. Any and all of the Companions! – For those who don’t know, Companions are horses.  But they’re not just horses – they’re very special horses.  (Actually, they’re not really horses at all, but you’ll just have to read the books to find out what they are :P)  They’re all brilliantly white, with silver hooves and sapphire-blue eyes.  It’s the job of the Companions to choose the Heralds.  I can’t remember the names of every one I’ve met (there are a lot!) but some of the ones that stand out are Yfandes, Sayvil, Tantris, Rolan, Dallen – there’s so many more.  But they’re all fantastic.

8. Firesong (Mage Winds, Mage Storms, others) – Firesong k’Treva is just… fabulous.  He’s brilliant, flamboyant, dramatic, and one of the most powerful mages the Tale’edras have ever had.  He also happens to be attracted to men.  He’s not the only homosexual character Mercedes Lackey has written – Vanyel was too, and there may be others I can’t recall.  She’s actually won awards for her portrayal of homosexual characters, and I can see why.  She does a wonderful job.

9. Elena (The 500 Kingdoms series) – Yes!  Someone who isn’t part of the Heralds’ universe.  Elena is first introduced in The Fairy Godmother, which takes the story of Cinderella and sets it on its ear.  In this story world, there’s a magic called Tradition which tries to force people to take certain traditional paths.  Elena was a Cinderella, a girl destined to have an evil stepmother, two ugly stepsisters, meet a prince, fall in love, etc. – except it doesn’t happen for her.  The threads of the Tradition are swirling around her so strongly, that she is discovered by a Fairy Godmother who takes her and trains her to be the next Fairy Godmother for that part of the world.  It’s a wonderful story.  The rest of the series takes other different fairy tales and twists them too – and though Elena is no longer the focus of the story, she usually makes an appearance.  It’s actually a really clever way to tie together a series of unrelated stories.

10. Kerowyn (By the Sword, others) – I raved about Kerowyn last week, so I won’t say as much here, but she is one tough cookie.  She inherits Need from her grandmother Kethry, and manages to gain a little control over Need’s demands to rescue every damsel in distress around by threatening several times to drop Need down a well. She also sets out to rescue her brother’s fiancee after her family is attacked, her brother is killed, and her father is injured.  She said someone had to do it, and it had to be her.

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Stacking the Shelves

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Joining Tynga’s Reviews for Stacking the Shelves this week – even though I’m a bit late.

This week, I did actually buy one book – City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare made its way into my possession.  I’ve already read it – I got it from my local library not long after it came out, but these books are something I can see myself rereading a lot, so I want to own them all.

Most of my haul is actually from the library – though not technically this week.  Seeing as how this is my first Stacking the Shelves post, though, I’m gonna go ahead and include them.

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness – I love love LOVED A Discovery of Witches, so naturally I was stoked when Shadow of Night was released.  My library didn’t have it for the longest – but being awesome and stuff, when I suggested that they get it, they did.  Unfortunately, it spent two months being checked out and I kept missing it when I was there, so I only recently got it.  It was great – not hardly as good as the first book, but great nonetheless.

Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton – I read the first book, Angelfire, and Denise and I  discussed it in an episode of our podcast.  I like to finish series when I start them – usually – so I decided to go for book 2.

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima – We did a discussion of another of her books, The Demon King, on the podcast, and when I checked my library for the rest, they didn’t have them, but they had this, which is the first book in another series.  Thought I’d give it a go, since I enjoyed The Demon King.

Frozen Heat by Richard Castle – Last but not least, the tie-in novel for the TV show Castle.  I love the show, and the books are pretty good.  They’re not exactly literary masterpieces, but they’re fun, especially for fans of the show.