When a dragon storms the castle, what should a (virgin) princess do?
Why, turn to her studies, of course! But nothing practical-minded Princess Andromeda of Acadia finds gives a definitive solution. The only Traditional answer, though, is soothing the marauding dragon by a virgin sacrifice. Things are going fairly smoothly with the lottery--except for the women chosen, of course--until Princess Andromeda herself is picked!
But facing down the dragon doesn't go quite as planned, and now, with the help of her Champion, Sir George, Andromeda searches for the dragon's lair. But even--especially--in the Five Hundred Kingdoms, bucking Tradition isn't easy. It takes the strongest of wills, knowledge, quick wits and a refusal to give up, no matter what happens along the way….
This book is the sequel to The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey, which I read last year. It is part of Lackey's Five Hundred Kingdom series, and is in essence a fairy-tale retelling. To refresh everyone's memory, this series takes fairy tale conventions and messes around with them. In the previous novel, we see Elena, who becomes a fairy godmother, fight what is known as "The Tradition" and become the woman that she wants to be and fall in love with the man that she wants to love in love with. In One Good Knight, she is back, but this time another young lady has taken the center stage as the main character.
Princess Andromeda lives in a very small kingdom, a kingdom that really has no assets and appears to only exist by luck. Her mother does not agree with how Andromeda acts, because Andromeda is not your conventional princess. She is actually quite smart, and while she is beautiful, she wears glasses that make her unattractive to most suitors. Not that Andromeda is really interested in boys anyways. She has a brain, though, and spends the majority of her time with a nose in a book learning what there is to know about the world. Her father is dead, and her mother is more interested in her kingdom than her daughter, so it is mostly Andromeda's guards that raise her.
The way things work is that there always traditional manners in which things occur in fairy tales. So, when something happens that the tradition recognizes as should be going a certain way, it tries to help it along. Sometimes this is what people desire, and other times it is something that everyone fights against. While the tradition plays a role in this novel, it seemed that it was mentioned more in the previous novel. Elena seemed more aware of what was happening, Andromeda and the other characters she meets during the course of the novel just try to do the best they can, but they are also very good at both tricking the Tradition and using it to their advantage.
This is not your typical damsel in distress novel. The third book in the series is either out or will be out soon. I am looking forward to seeing another novel where fairy tales are followed, but the women have brains.