6/29/12 – Can I tell you (again) how much I love Lackey’s Elemental Masters series? Especially since she is putting new ones out so wonderfully quickly. ^_^ This book begins with Mari Prothero (sounds awfully close to Prospero, doesn’t it?), a young Welsh woman, who, as is obvious to us all, is blessed by Water. She ignores the voices that speak to her from laundry buckets, the slender figures that appear in water basins and under kelp tangles. Mari lives alone with her father Daffyd a long walk from the little coastal village nearby. Daffyd is a fearless fisherman who takes his vessel out every day regardless of the weather. Mari has not spoken to her father of her “little friends” since she was a wee girl, we are led to understand quickly that his reaction was probably less than favorable.
Early on the story, we learn that there have been uprisings and strikes in the Welsh mines and, as such, the “English landowners” have sent a constable to keep an eye on things in the village, an event which doesn’t sit well with the inhabitants, not one whit. A constable in a village that has had nary a trouble can only mean just that: trouble. Mari is on guard, looking to her father for guidance as to how to deal with this interloper, as most of the village is up in arms over him.
A pleasant surprise of this novel is the reappearance of two of my favorite characters from the Elemental Masters world: Sarah and Nan from The Wizard of London. Now grown into young woman come into their own from the little girls that we knew them as, I am very excited to see what these girls bring to the story. I cannot explain how excited I get when I see characters whom I know, my heart greeting their appearance like welcoming old friends back again. Because that is what they are.
I shall keep you up to date, my dearest readers. 🙂
7/5/2012 – I do heart Mercedes Lackey so very much! The characters she creates are wonderful friends and, sometimes, almost dear as lovers. Sarah and Nan have grown integral to this story, beginning a new life as investigators for Lord Alderscroft, his “lady Sherlocks” as it were. They are accompanied, as always, by Grey the African Parrot and Neville the Raven, both magical creatures in and of themselves, who are perfectly willing to express their opinions on matters – Grey in perhaps a few simple words and now Neville in full sentences alongside her.
The girls are sent off to Wales to investigate the appearance of a new Elemental Master on their shores, whom the Water Elementals stoutly refuse to reveal to Lord Alderscroft and the White Lodge. So he has asked the girls to investigate and find out whatever information they can, with whatever means they have at their disposal, including their more…ethereal contacts and allies.
Wonderful book so far. I am about 2/3 of the way through it and, at this rate, I may finish it by the end of the week. 🙂
7/7/2012 – So it was said, so it was done. I finished the book this morning, while my husband slept and our friends’ house was quiet. I must admit that I was surprised at the tack that Lackey took with this plot; it was not at all what I expected to happen as the climax but it was delightful all the same. I won’t give details for fear of spoiling all but suffice it to say that you never know what you are made of and capable of until you are pushed to very brink of your wit, strength, and heart.
I, as always, appreciate Lackey’s depth of research and respect for the culture and mythology which she is portraying. I did not know that there were separate mythologies of Scottish selkie (seals who become human) and Welsh selch (humans who return to the sea). It was utterly fascinating to me, as was Lackey’s description of water magic and the crossing and intermingling of the senses that she uses in its description. Simply gorgeous. It’s no wonder that, next to Tamora Pierce’s Trickster Duet and her own elemental mages, this is my favorite fantasy series.
Brava, Mercedes Lackey! You have done it again!