Maintained by Jerry Cullingford (Click here to mail)
My trip to the bookstore Friday was quite fruitful; I bought four books that I enjoyed reading, to various degrees, although I'm finished with all of them now.
The second one I read was _Wheels of Fire_, by Mercedes Lackey and Mark Shepherd. This is a "sequel" to _Born to Run_, by Lackey and Larry Dixon. It is a "Novel of the SERRAted Edge," so-called because the SERRAted novels deal with elves living in the modern, human world through the South Eastern Road Racing Association. (As an aside, I didn't realize why they were called "Novels of the SERRAted Edge" until I read the "Also By" page of this book, where the SERRA were capitalized. I realize I'm slow, you don't need to tell me, okay? 8-))
I liked _Born to Run_; I thought it was typical Lackey writing and story, and was enjoyable to read.
I can't really say the same of _Wheels of Fire_. First of all, it is not a "real" sequel to BtR, and the characters in WoF are mentioned only in passing a couple of times in the novel -- and not very well. That is, it felt forced, as if they had to put it in there to let the readers know that, yes, this is related to the other book.
WoF read like some of Lackey's most recent works. While there are good things to be said about it, there are also bad things to be said about it. The main character is not as interesting, I think, as Tannim, in BtR, and his cause is also not as interesting, or well done.
Parts of the book are *good*, I am glad to admit. There are some flashbacks into the main character's history, and they were interesting enough, and held enough potential, to make the way they were worked into the rest of the story livable.
Parts of it, however, are *bad*. The main character could really use help at times, but doesn't get it, and the reasons given are... flat. A deus ex machina type of explanation, which I rarely like.
The book is also thicker than BtR. Although I normally *like* thick books (since I read too quickly to make $4 or $5 for a 200-page book worthwhile, unless it's a De Lint or similar book), in this case, it worked against it. Largely because the quality of the story and writing doesn't justify the length.
There is at least one other SERRAted book coming out, according to the "Also By" page; I'll buy it, and, with any luck, it will be at least as good as this one. If it is, I think it will be worth the money. But it will be marginal.
All in all, I guess I'd have to say that, although I'm glad I read it, I'd have to recommend it as a used-book purchase for most people. But a lot of Lackey's recent works have been like that, and I keep hoping she'll come out with some outstanding works again. (Which I assume she will, since Chuq has said she is out of the crunch she was in.)
Sorry for the length of this, and the rambling. I was, obviously, ambivalent about the book.
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%A Mercedes Lackey and Mark Shepherd %T Wheels of Fire %I Baen Fantasy %C New York %D 1992 %G ISBN 0-671-72138-0 %P 389 pp. %S Novels of the SERRAted Edge %V Book 2 %O paperback, US$4.99 ($5.99 CDN)