Okay, so I'd seen Lackey bouncing around the shelves in various places I've been (how could she not be, with her army of little book minions spilling over the walls of whatever bibliography list you see of her?), but never really taken the time to look into her.
I've been on somewhat of a fairy tale binge recently, looking for more modern re-tellings that might be a little more fun in the reading. I randomly decided on Swan Lake, and a quick search brought up this one. I have to admit that I wasn't disappointed.
While the main characters from Swan Lake (Siegfried and Odette) do make a presence here as viewpoint characters, the protagonist here is Odile, the sorcerer's daughter. Really, I think this is what made the book for me. Giving it a fresh viewpoint and opinion helped flesh things out a little more beyond the simple star-crossed lovers plot that is the meat of the legend.
I DO have a few complaints with it, however. The first is that it is very pro-female. Not in the usual way where all the male characters are stupid and the women are always right; here the men are shown to be intelligent, but all start out with a similar opinion of women: that women are lower than them, not as capable as them, and are only their for man's pleasure and use (physical or otherwise.)Sure that's ultimately resolved by character or story progression for most, but you still do have to work your way through quite a bit of this opinion before any of the characters (male or female) start seeing the error of their assessment.
My other gripe is that the book has a tendency to tell rather than show. This means that, all things considered, not much happens. The major portion of the text is all inside of character's heads as they reflect on past events, their opinions of others, what they're currently thinking about their present situation, you get the idea... Which is also why you can see the previous gripe being a problem. A character's opinion is not going to be a simple line of dialogue or inner-thought that gets quickly passed as the plot progresses; here you'll get a couple of paragraphs expounding on that. It's great for character and setting back-story, but it doesn't do much to make things happen, or get you out and away from a particular scene that you might be finding boring.
While I greatly enjoyed it, I have to admit that it felt like quite a bit of work to get where we were going for such a short novel.
So, should you read this book? Do you like re-imagined fairy tales, The Swan Princess or other retellings of Swan Lake? Do you want a one-off to spend a weekend with? Then yes. If you've already seen any version of Swan Lake and felt like that was enough, don't bother; you already know what happens. While I'll probably end up reading more from this author, I'm not sure if I'd recommend this one as a good example of what she's capable of.