Mercedes Lackey Reviews Logo

Maintained by Jerry Cullingford (Click here to mail)

Last Updated: Sun 4 June, 1995

_When the Bough Breaks_

by Mercedes Lackey / Holly Lisle

(Book 3 in the SERRAted edge series. Other books in the series are:


If you have this book, why not mail me your comments (see below), and let people know what YOU think about it?

Sean Eric Fagan ( 1993 (from

WtBB is the third book in the SERRAted edge series (the other two being _Born to Run_, by Lackey and Larry Dixon, and _Wheels of Fire_, by Lackey and Mark Sheperd).

I'm not really cut out to review this book impartially; all three books deal with children who are abused, one way or the other, and this one deals with sexual abuse, something I can't distance myself from enough. So I don't know if my reaction to this book is because of the topic, or because it was good writing.

But I liked the book. The second book, WoF, was obviously written largely by Mark Sheperd, as the writing and story were not something Lackey would have written herself. This book, also, may have been largely written by the junior collaborator (Lisle, in this case), as there are large parts of it that do not have a "Lackey" feel to it.

I would have to say that this is a recommended book, if you are a Lackey fan. It was well worth the few dollars I paid for it today. There were times when I could not put the book down; and other times when I *had* to, because I was getting too worked up. Like BtR, it's got humour (some subtle, some slapstick), battles, magic, elves (of course :)), human mages, fast cars, and chase scenes. And, of course, the helpful ghost.

And a side note: the other two forms of child abuse in the previous two books were not as moving, at least for me, as this book's was, due to a lack of clarification and detail in the first book, and a lack of talent in the second book. This one, however, had me calling a local number for a teen shelter and donating money to it. So, in that respect, if no other, the authors succeeded in their goal.

Dani Zweig ( 1993 (from

I suppose I keep trying, long past the point where I should know better, because I so enjoy Lackey's solo efforts. (Like the efforts of her latest coauthor, Piers Anthony, they're a guilty pleasure.) Past experience, however, shows that Lackey+junior_coauthor = coauthor -- and she doesn't have very good taste in junior coauthors.

The first "Serrated Edge" novel wasn't bad, actually. (I guess you have to do a bit more when launching a series -- particularly if you have to live with the coauthor.) The second was trash. "When the Bough Breaks" is third -- and not quite as good as the second.

"Serrated Edge" isn't really about Elves; it's about child abuse. The mix is approximately half a pot of plot to a quarter of a pot of characterization to one pot of message. The characters, Elf and Human alike, are caricatures. The reading list (of course there's a reading list) includes the SE books. It's not so much that the message gets in the way of the story, as that the importance of the message seems to have made the authors forget that they were also supposed to be writing a novel.

Someone please let me know if Holly Lisles single-author books are any good. This book hasn't inspired me to find out the hard way.

(click here if you want to mail me YOUR comments to add)

(Be sure to indicate which book the comments apply to!)

Bibliographic data

%T _When the Bough Breaks_
%A Mercedes Lackey and Holly Lisle
%D 1993
%I Baen Books
%P 279 pages
%G ISBN 0-671-72154-2

Cover Art


Associated Artwork


Associated Filk

None that I'm aware of at present.

click here to return to reviews index...

Jerry Cullingford