"Beautiful adult fairy tale"
While World War I rages in Europe, in Broom, England
widower Charles Robinson is a successful merchant raising
his daughter Eleanor. One day he returns from a business
trip with a surprise for Eleanor; he introduces her
new "mother" his wife Alison and her two daughters. Almost
immediate after the nuptials, he signs on for trench
warfare and dies in combat.
Alison, a dark Earth Master, binds Eleanor to the house
with an obedience spell. Meanwhile former pilot and Air
Master Reggie Fenyx returns home believing he lost his
magical prowess when he was tormented by earth elementals.
Though depressed the family ball is coming up and he will
play the role of good host. Eleanor, who has loved Reggie,
begins serendipitously to learn to use her skill as a Fire
Master. If Alison finds out what she is doing too soon she
knows she is doomed, but perhaps at the ball Reggie will
realize she is his life mate and together combining the
power of fire and air with love they can defeat earth.
This is an intriguing retelling of Cinderella that combines
history and fantasy to tell an adult fairy tale. Alison is
a terrifically sinister malevolence while Eleanor is her
perfect unsure opponent and slave. Reggie suffers from
battle fatigue that has sapped him of his natural abilities
leaving him magically impaired, which makes him an
interesting protagonist. Though the story line at times is
overwhelmed with historical details that seem unnecessary
even if they provide in most cases a World War I era
ambience, Mercedes Lackey provides a fine rendition of the
classic tale with her latest Elemental Masters novel.
Reviewed by Harriet Klausner
Posted January 3, 2005
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted January 25, 2007