Steadfast by Mercedes Lackey (Elemental Masters)

1-9-15 –I know, I know. Another review of me happily gushing over Mercedes Lackey and her Elemental Masters series. But, as this is the first book that I have read in 2015, it rather does deserve pride of place.

Based on the Steadfast Tin Soldier, this the tale of Katie Langford, a circus acrobat under the fist of an abusive strongman husband who takes her fate into her own hands and runs away. After spending time with Travelers (of whom her mother was one), she makes her way to the seaside town of Brighton. There, assisted by (what else?) magic, she lands a position as a magician’s assistant at a dance hall. What Katie does not know is that Lionel, her new employer, is also an elemental Air magician. Not only that, but the doorman of the dance hall, Jack, is also one, though his element is Fire. Together these two men realize early on that something is different about Katie and there very much is. She is attuned to Fire, the most emotional of the elements. Lionel and Jack take it upon themselves to, firstly, convince Katie of the existence of magic and, secondly, to train her in her newfound abilities. Lionel was taught from childhood by his father in the skill of his element and so takes over Katie’s initial training, then transferring her over to Jack in the specifics of her element. The friendship that blossoms between these three is wonderful to read, the three different lives represented by Lionel, Katie, and Jack making a wonderful tapestry against which this story is set. What is also beautiful is the camaraderie that develops between Katie and the Fire Elementals, a strong relationship for a magician so young in her abilities.

As Fire is the most emotional of the elements, the emotion of this book is high and deep. It will make your heart swell, leap into your throat, and wring tears from yours eyes. And, of all the stories that I have read thus far, it ends in such a lovely fairy tale fashion that Disney should be quite jealous indeed.

The Wonder of Story

Have you ever held a new book in your hands, fresh and clean and so ripe with possibilities? You want to start reading, immediately, leap into its pages, but you don’t know where to start, as silly as that may sound. This is one of those books.  For those of you who may not know (or have forgotten), I am in love with Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters books. So when her first anthology of fellow-author-written stories based in the world of Edwardian England under the veil of the White Lodge (Elemental Magic) was published, I was ecstatic. I bought a hard copy, as well as an e-copy on my Kindle. I read it to my infant daughter to put her down for  naps and thrilled at it in the quiet of my private time.

And, then, this morning – Christmas morning – I unwrap a gift from my husband to find this particular beauty waiting for me. I was wide-eyed, slack-jawed, and absolutely thrilled. I jumped up, ran to the bookshelf, and picked up the previous anthology to make sure that they were indeed different, and then I did a little happy dance in the living room and told my husband that he is simply amazing (which is very true). But I cannot describe the butterflies in my stomach as sit here with this book next to me. It’s like I want to rip into it but, at the same time, I want it to be the right time. The right time when I can have a substantial amount of time to myself to dive into these stories properly. I just can’t wait!

Elemental Magic, edited by Mercedes Lackey

This was a great find! I discovered it while Christmas shopping for my husband mere days before I was to give birth to our daughter. As someone obviously in love with Mercedes Lackey’s world of the Elemental Masters and magic, I was very, very excited to find this collection and even more so to see that it not only contains stories written in that world by other authors but also a new Elemental Masters short story by Lackey herself.

Can you say “squee”?

I will admit, however, to having not yet gotten past the first story. Newborns make things like reading for pleasure tough. *snicker* But I will say that I am excited enough about this collection to have bought the hard copy as well as a digital copy on my Kindle so that, no matter where I am, I am able to have it with me for when I can snatch those coveted moments of reading while my dearest little daughter sleeps.

I cannot explain what it is about the elemental masters world that draws me so. Perhaps it is that connection to the elements through magic that draws me; the idea of being so connected to a part of the world as to be able to influence it, wield it, commiserate and communicate with it. Perhaps it is that…intimacy that draws me. The magic is wonderful but what I love is the interaction with their element and elementals that the magicians and masters have; it is an almost familial connection that I find beautiful and almost soothing in a way.

So, again, I can easily (and with the utmost faith) say: Well done, Mercedes Lackey!

2/28/13 – I have greatly enjoyed reading through this anthology and was overjoyed to find Isabelle Harton, Sarah, and Nan in their own adventure in this book, as they are, of course, my favorite characters. 🙂 I read the story (“A Flower Grows in Whitechapel”) to my two-month old daughter, as well as “Stones and Feathers” and, naturally, she fell asleep in the middle of them but I still enjoyed it nonetheless.

Thank you, again, Mercedes and all of these wonderful authors, for a book full of new adventures in the world of Elemental Magic.


The Fire Rose (Elemental Masters) by Mercedes Lackey

This book is the first of the Elemental Masters series, being written and published in the 1990s. It is easily tellable as the first book set in this particular world , as there are refinements of particular areas and rules of the Elemental Masters and their world in later novels.

Rose is in a bad way. Her father has died, her inheritance has been grossly mismanaged, and she is living on borrowed time in her family home in Chicago as her father’s creditors descend upon her and appropriate everything.

Jason is also in a bad way. He needs help. This Fire Master needs someone with a particular set of skills who can help him find an answer, a way out of his curse, the backfiring of his hubris.

Du Monde is Jason’s would-be apprentice but he is not the material that a Fire Master is cut from. He wants power but he wants it the easy way, and Jason will not provide him with a smooth path. But, perhaps, there is someone who will.

This book is rather fun for me to read, once I get past the initial exposition. It is not my favorite Elemental Master’s book, as it is the prototype for the world. But I do like it much better the second time round than I did the first time I attempted it.