Fortune's Fool by Mercedes Lackey

Fortune's Fool is the latest in Mercedes Lackey's Five Hundred Kingdoms series.

In the Five Hundred Kingdoms, never believe what your eyes are telling you . . .

As the seventh daughter of the Sea King, Ekaterina had a wonderful life—but also a lot of responsibility. Her special gift for moving around on land made her the perfect emissary from her father to check out interesting happenings on the surface. In short, she became the family spy.

On one such reconnaissance mission, she encounters Sasha— the seventh son of the king of Belrus. Though everyone sees his talent at music, they also consider him a fool. Ekaterina suspects something more powerful lies behind his facade. But before she can find out what, Ekaterina is kidnapped!

Carried off by a whirlwind and trapped in a castle with other kidnapped princesses at the mercy of a possessive Jinn, Ekaterina knows her chances of being found are slim. Which means that fortune, a fool and a paper bird are the only things she can count on. Oh, and of course her own clever mind and manipulative abilities . . .

I really enjoyed this one. This time, there are lots of Russian/Slavic fairy tales mentioned. We get Rusalkas, Baba Yaga, Wili, firebirds, etc. And lots of other fairy tales. It's a lot of fun and I definitely enjoyed all the mythological mentions.

But there's also some romance with Sasha and Ekaterina. Both Sasha and Ekaterina know enough about The Tradition to thwart it, and it was great fun seeing the ways that they manipulated things to get what they needed. These two definitely aren't stupid.

I think someone reading the book just for the romance would be disappointed, but when it's combined with such an imaginative story, it worked for me. Very well, in fact, as I read this one rather quickly. I really look forward to future Five Hundred Kingdom books.

Also, it does make mention of events in previous books, but it does stand alone quite well. And characters from previous books pop up here.

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