Review of Mercedes Lackey’s Jolene

Jolene by Mercedes Lackey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Side note: THANK YOU, Ms. Lackey, for stepping away from the Sherlock Holmes segue in this series. I honestly feared you wouldn’t return to the original fairy tale/mythology bent that first attracted me to the Elemental Masters)

Once you chip away at the Southern dialogue and backwoods turns of phrase, the heart of the story captures your attention. The detail of the Holler is so rich in detail, encapsulating all of the senses. At the same time, you’re left trying to decide how Jolene fits into the picture, scrambling back through the stock of fairy tales in your brain. (After all, she holds the title of the piece; she must play some pivotal role)

And that’s where things unraveled. Not Jolene’s identity per se (I’m familiar with Russian mythology and tales), but the haphazard attention to her character. She cares nothing for the health of the miners, only the abuse they suffer? That feels like a contradiction. She’s aware of everything within the Holler related to “the Glory” but doesn’t recognize Josh? They feel like convenient holes in the plot, allowing for the final confrontation and climax.

Watch the pages rapidly fly under your fingers, providing a lesson in homesteading, and then shove in a bit of conflict in the final two chapters. It isn’t an unpleasant read, but it also fell short of the usual pattern for the series.

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