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Crescent Blues Book ViewsDAW (Paperback), ISBN 0-7564-0061-9
An interesting but somehow disappointing read, The Serpent's Shadow's examination of cultural differences and racism almost makes up for its rather limp and unfrightening antagonist. As a Lackey fan, a lover of both fantasy and fantasy romance, I felt a little cheated by the arch villainess who didn't come close to measuring up to the protagonist. I like reading books where there is a definite chance the villain might win -- but I finished the book with the lingering suspicion that the book couldn't quite make up its mind what it wanted to be.

Book: Mercecdes Lackey, The Serpents ShadowBorn of an English father and high caste Brahmin woman, Maya Witherspoon, belonged to neither world. Magic lived in her blood, but it remained untaught. A doctor of medicine and licensed to work in several London hospitals, she knows she must be taught to use her power if she wants to find the murderer of her father (who died of snakebite) and possibly her mother (who, while dying, warned her to beware of "the serpent's shadow"). Maya ran from India to Edwardian London to escape, but she knows not even that vast distance can protect her from the danger -- even if she doesn't know who threatens her or why.

The second book in Lackey's Elemental Masters series, The Serpent's Shadow introduces the British masters of fire, earth, water and air. Maya's discovery by one of the masters might be her salvation, but only if he can convince the others that women -- and women of mixed parentage -- can hold power in their own right, that power isn't just the property of men.

The Serpent's Shadow delivers a good read, but maybe I just love Valdemar too much to appreciate novels set in a world too close to our own history.

Patricia Lucas White

Click here to read Teri Smith's review of The Serpent's Shadow.

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