Who doesn't love dragons? May 22, 2008
Despite the use of the rather tired "prophecy" plot device, this first book of "The Halfblood Chronicles" is a smart, fresh take on established fantasy stand-bys. The world of the story is akin to the Roman Empire but with all the bad stuff heightened (gladiators, slaves, etc) and the good, noble stuff missing in action (except they do seem to have plumbing, thank god). Then replace the aristocracy with hard-hearted magic-wielding Elves, who own pretty much the entire human race as gladiators, concubines, and slaves. On the outskirts are the dragons, who jealously guard their secrecy and privacy to the point that they are not even believed to exist.
Into the fray is born Lashana, an illegal hybrid between a powerful Elven Lord and his favorite (and now fled for her life) human concubine. Considered dangerous due to the unpredictable combination of Elven sorcery and the wilder powers of the human mind, any Halfbloods who manage to be born are pretty much screwed. Lashana, however, has the good fortune to be rescued by a dragon that happens upon her dying mother in the throes of labor.
This is simply a good solid work of action-fantasy, with a vibrantly built world and a complex social order in which the characters operate. Norton and Lackey collaborated on three volumes of this series before Norton sadly passed away. I am curious to see whether Ms. Lackey finds a new collaborator that complements her work as well as Norton did, or if she goes it alone (which would disappoint me, as Lackey does very well with a partner to balance her more fanciful work with some cerebral heft). Or maybe three books is all we get, which would be a shame, for it is an exciting story that crackles with a sense of adventure in the telling.