Music to My Sorrow (Bedlam's Bard)
by Mercedes Lackey
Review by Carolyn Frank
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 1416509178
Date: 06 December, 2005 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Magnus, a senior in high school, has managed to elude his mother's clutches and is living with his elder brother Eric in Manhattan. Eric, who was introduced in the first book of this series Bedlam's Bard, is now battling his parents for the guardianship of his little brother. Uncomfortable with his brother being a Bard for a Bright Court elven prince, Magnus still prefers Eric to his overbearing parents.
Magnus's friend, Jachiel ap Gabrevys, is in fact an elf, who, exceedingly uncomfortable with his Dark Court elf father's views, ran away to Manhattan. Eric rescued Jachiel from Manhattan, to which he was most allergic, and now Jachiel lives with Eric's elven prince.
Magnus's best human friend, is another teenage runaway, Ace. She has run from her father, a Christian evangelist, who was abusing her musical talents. Ace is living with Ria, a half-elven half-human lawyer, who can pull all sorts of strings, though not the pure magic ones that Eric can.
Magnus lives with Eric in Manhattan, as do Ace and Ria. Although the story begins in New York, it quickly moves to Atlantic City, where Ace's father has erected a combo church-casino. And, of course, various side trips are made to the elven Bright and Dark Courts.
The underlying motivations and much of the overt action involves music, which is quite fun, providing the reader has at least a passing acquaintance with classical, folk and modern rock music. Although tinges of the standard coming of age story creep in, enough characters and action are portrayed to keep up the reader's interest to see where and how the story careens on.
Anyone who enjoys young adult fantasies should enjoy this book, although reading some or all of the prior books in the series, would bring a more in-depth understanding of this fantasy world and the leading characters, both human and elf. Although the outcome in terms of the relationships between the teenagers and their respective parents is rarely in doubt, exactly how events come to pass is often unexpected but is always fitting, and quite fun to read.