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.

Top Ten Tuesday

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Joining in the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday – Kick-ass Heroine edition.  These are in no particular order, and definitely heavy on Mercedes Lackey characters.  What can I say, Misty writes a lot of bad ass heroines!

1. Elspeth (Mercedes Lackey’s Mage Winds/Mage Storms) – Princess Elspeth starts out as a total brat when she’s first introduced, but by the time she becomes a teenager, she’s outgrown that, and becomes a strong-willed young woman with a strong sense of responsibility for her country and her people.

2. Kerowyn (Mercedes Lackey’s By the Sword and others) – Kerowyn is introduced after most of her family is brutally slaughtered and her brother’s bride-to-be is kidnapped.  With her father dead and her brother wounded, Kerowyn decides it’s her responsibility to rescue her soon-to-be sister-in-law.  With the aid of her grandmother Kethry and a magical sword called Need, she kicks ass big time.  Which brings me to…

3. Tarma and Kethry (Mercedes Lackey’s Vows and Honor series) – A Shin’a’in and a sorceress, sword-sworn to each other, running about the countryside in a mercenary company and on their own – I’ve always loved Tarma and Kethry, particularly Kethry – enough that I used “Kethry” or “Kethryveris” as an online handle for a long time.

4. Diana Bishop (Deborah Harkness’ All Souls trilogy) – Diana is one tough chick – though she starts out as your typical reluctant hero.  She discovers that she’s a witch, descended from Bridget Bishop, the first woman executed for witchcraft in the Salem Witch Trials.  Then she falls in love with a Vampire, which is highly forbidden, not to mention all the witches, daemons, and vampires that want to kill her because of a mysterious manuscript known as Ashmole 782.  She finds out that she’s stronger – and more powerful – than she thought possible.

5. Joanna Archer (Vicki Pettersson’s Zodiac series) – I’ve only read the first one, but just from that I know that Joanna is one tough chick.  She’s superhuman – and supernatural – and gets sucked into a world of Light vs. Shadow.  She loses her family, joins the Zodiac Troop as the sign of the Archer, where hardly anyone trusts her, but manages to ferret out the traitor in their midst.

6.Eve Dallas (JD Robb’s in Death series) – Eve overcomes a very traumatic childhood of being beaten and raped by her father, killing him when she was 6, and growing up in foster care, to become a Lieutenant Detective in the NYPD.  She’s targeted by several psycho killers, not to mention has to go back to Dallas, TX and face her past which has haunted her all her life.  It doesn’t get much tougher than Eve.

7. Yelena Zaltana (Maria V. Snyder’s Study series/Glass series) – Yelena is another character that overcomes torture and abuse and goes on to do amazing things.  Kidnapped when she was very young and taken to Ixia, she’s imprisoned for murdering her torturer, though she doesn’t tell them that’s why she killed him.  Eventually her magic flares, and one of the master magicians from the Southern kingdoms tries to kill her – though she eventually becomes Yelena’s mentor and takes her back home to her family.  Everyone in the south believes Yelena is an Ixian spy, and nobody trusts her, but Yelena unfailingly tries to do what she believes is right.

8. Merit (Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series) – What can I say?  I LOVE Merit.  She’s sassy, strong, and not scared of very much.  Turned to a vampire without her consent, hunted by the Master Vampire of another house, madly in love with her own Master, trying to save the Supernatural population of Chicago from certain destruction by the Greenwich Presidium – Merit’s got everything a kick-ass heroine needs.  Up to and including leather pants and a samurai sword.

9. Clary Fray (Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series) – Clary is your average, run-of-the-mill teenage girl – right up until she enters the Pandemonium Club and has an encounter with a group of Shadowhunters.  She’s not even supposed to be able to see them – but she does, and watches them kill a demon.  Eventually she finds out that the reason she can see Shadowhunters and Downworlders is because she is a Shadowhunter – and not only that, her father is the big bad evil.  Even without a lifetime of Shadowhunter training, Clary manages to kick ass – mostly armed with a snarky sense of humor.

10. Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series) – She’s unlucky, clumsy, and inept, but somehow, in spite of that, she manages to be pretty kick-ass.  After losing her job as a lingerie buyer, she goes to work for her cousin as a bounty hunter.  She’s even got a snarky sidekick, a former hooker named Lula.  With the help of her on-again, off-again detective boyfriend, Joe Morelli, and a former-military security specialist named Ranger (who also wants in Stephanie’s pants) she actually manages to get her collars – most of the time.