One Good Knight is the second book in the Five Hundred Kingdom series by Mercedes Lackey. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed the first one, The Fairy Godmother. I thought the characters were better in The Fairy Godmother and that the plot was more interesting. Not that I didn’t enjoy One Good Knight, it just wasn’t as good as the first novel in the series
Background: In the five hundred kingdom series, you have a land of five hundred kingdoms and a magical force called the tradition. The tradition tries to force people in the different five hundred kingdoms down fairytale paths if their life is set up to do so, for example if a girl has two evil stepsisters and a evil stepmother the tradition tries to set her up to be Cinderella. Now things can go wrong where the tradition cannot complete the fairytale. For example, the prince is too young to hold the ball so the fairytale cannot be completed. This causes a buildup of magic around the person who cannot complete their fairytale, which can attract evil things to them or make them go crazy. Also, originally many fairytales have tragic endings and the tradition doesn’t care if the ending is happy or not. Luckily, watching over the five hundred kingdoms are Godmothers. Godmothers try to manipulate the tradition so that there are less tragic fairytales completed, and they play a vital role in some of the traditional fairytales like being the old woman that tests a champion or prince in a tale. They also help those whose fairytales cannot be completed by removing the magic around them so they can live normal lives.
Plot: Acadia is small kingdom on the sea. It is fairly prosperous because of trade (there is no good soil for farming or grazing) since it has the closet deep-sea port to a major trade route in the five hundred kingdoms. Andromeda is the princess of the kingdom and doesn’t care for her fate. Her mother the Queen is very beautiful but Andie (as Andromeda likes to be called) is very plain which is a source of despair to her mother. Andie finds herself with a list of don’ts, but nothing she can do. She feels useless and just wants to do some of import rather than be a useless princess. What Andie lacks in beauty she makes up for in brains, and after many years of being a disappointment and being ignored by her mother it seems that her mother finally sees the value in Andie’s mind. Things are starting to look up for Andie. She is finally given her own household, and an important job to do. She does research for her mother and her mother’s advisors. Andie is no longer treated as a child and she no longer finds herself being bored with nothing of value to do. But then things go terribly wrong when a dragon starts attacking Acadia. It is decided that the only way to appease the dragon is to sacrifice a virgin to the dragon every week. And they must find a champion to defeat the dragon before too many women are lost to the dragon’s wrath. Why is the dragon there? Who is causing it to attack Acadia? Will a champion come and save Acadia? You will have to read the book to find out. Of course, there is a bit of a romance plot as well but I won’t give it away you will have to read the book and discover it for yourself.
I didn’t like this installment of the Five Hundred Kingdoms as much as I liked the first one. Elena (fairy godmother in training from the first novel) is a better character than Andie. Elena was a very real three-dimensional character for me where Andie was a bit stereotypical and two-dimensional. I just didn’t like her or the supporting characters as well. Also, since these are base on fairytales that the tradition wants to complete, I like to be able to see the fairytale in the story. I guess this one is a combination of obscure tales such as George and the Dragon and a couple of others I can’t remember the name of but remembering reading at one time or another. However, I doubt your average reader has run into them (I went through a fairytale period where I read all the colored fairytale books and any other mythologies I could find). I wish for this early in the series she had used more recognizable fairytales.
What I did enjoy about this book was that the plot was solid and flowed well. This book was easy to read and would be a good vacation read as it isn’t that thought consuming and has plenty of action to keep a good pace. I also liked that Elena and her champion (he does not go to defeat the dragon) from the previous novel make an appearance and give the series come continuity.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was a nice easy read with a solid plot, okay characters and just a bit of romance and magic. It you like a good fluff fantasy or a good romantic story or you just love fairytales then you should enjoy this book.