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Reserved for the Cat (Elemental Masters, Book 5) Hardcover – October 30, 2007
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"[Lackey's] characteristic carefulness, narrative gifts, and attention to detail shape into an altogether superior fantasy."
"The period touches are charming...the Elemental magic is unusual enough to be interesting. A lovely variation on a familiar fairy tale."
"Putting a fresh face to a well-loved fairytale is not an easy task, but it is one that seems effortless to the prolific Lackey...wonderful." --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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She's an aspiring young dancer at the Paris Opera when the story opens, hoping that some rich old man will be smitten with her, and turn her into a mistress, complete with her own apartment, money and security for the future. It's a cold-blooded way to look at romance, but Ninette has seen life as a child being raised on the uglier side of Paris. When a leading ballerina is upstaged by Ninette and Ninette suddenly finds herself out of a job, and no where to go.
That is, until Thomas shows up. Thomas is a somewhat bedraggled cat -- that speaks -- and he says that he's been 'watching' over Ninette for years. He assures her that all she has to do is trust him and let him guide her, and he will see to it that she will not just prosper but more...
Which means England. Ninette tries to impersonate an Russian dancer in the town of Blackpool, but she doesn't speak the language, and she knows no one there at all. Then she is taken in hand by two music hall composers, Nigel -- an Air Master, and Arthur, who is no mean magician himself, and their talking Grey African parrot, Wolf. The trio have been putting out shows in the music halls of England, and they need something new -- and the _new_ is Ninette. When they 'rescue' Ninette, her story provides just what they need to create a smash. And it also allows Ninette to meed Jonathan, a dashing Fire Master who may be love of her life -- if she can trust him that far.Read more ›
The comments about the cardboard villain are spot on. I actually found myself skipping paragraphs and paragraphs whenever the villainess Nina was in the narrative because she was SO blah, so predictable, so cliche. I've seen the same woman in so many of Lackey's other books I literally no longer have to read to know what they'll do. Sad. Lackey could have done more with her, being a rare specimen of her magical type.
As opposed to the other books in the Elemental series, the British magical community now does not seem to have much organization- Lackey limps around and around the search for an earth master, and finally brings in an intended deus ex machina of an air master to find the Villainess near the end that turns out to be a limp red herring, whom we hear nothing of afterwards. Poor kid. Oh, and Arthur! He disappears for chapters and chapters and was never developed past "orchestral prodigy and elemental mage." Pooh.
The only redeeming things about Reserved for the Cat were: Wolfgang Amadeus the Parrot, Ailse the Maid, Thomas the Cat, Johnathon the Illusionist, and the narratives of Ninette's flight to England and interactions with Ailse, Johnathon, and the destruction of the Villainess- which was well done, thank goodness... (though unfortunately Ninette decided to hide the fact she was the real destroyer to avoid wounding male pride... )
Lackey's villainess is all too familiar, and is essentially identical in voice and action to the stepmother in "Phoenix and Ashes", the wicked Aunt in Seprent's Shadow, and the witch in "Gates of Sleep." I think its high time that Lackey found a new villain stereotype to flog.
The heroine is barely likeable. The other characters are half finished sketches that leave gaping plot holes, with one introduced late in the book, ending up as absolutely nothing. There is a threadbare romance (mostly some glares from the male side of the coin, and some remarks and thoughts from other characters "anticipating" some kind of flying sparks) but that's left hanging before it even begins. The ending is just slapped on. After a hundred pages or so of build up, its just dashed together from a completely different direction. Those who really should know the identity of Thomas are completely left in the dark. There are too many dead ends and cardboard characters.
And its a shame, because the basic outline of the story is a good one, the setting is a rich, interesting and an unconventional one (for fantasy anyway) that holds a multitude of promises, all which are dashed and broken by the quickly wrapped up ending.
It was like the author had some good ideas, didn't really know what to do with them, and then was rushed to finish the book to meet the deadline. That would explain away the plot holes, inconsistancies and other nagging problems. And finally... the book is just not interesting enough to read. I did finish it personally but have no interest in ever going back to it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love ML's "Elemental Masters" series. "Cat" kept up the quality of the series. I enjoyed it greatly!Published 2 days ago by Rosanne Minich
This book is one of the more emotional novels in The Elemental Masters series. I identified with the heroine of the story and having gone through a similar situation as her, it... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ian Van Fossan
I enjoyed the story but for some reason couldn't get invested in the characters. I'm not sure where the reason lie's. I do enjoy this series and will continue to read it.Published 2 months ago by Craig C. Brinkmeyer
Enjoy these stories set in the early twentieth century British period.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Lackey performs magic with her writing, transforming an old tale--Puss in Boots into a new, powerful story. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Walt Boyes
I can't tell you how many times I've read this one, being an intriguing departure from her original 'formula' for the Elemental mage series, this departure being that Nina is not... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Nick A
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
Reserved for the Cat is the sixth stand-alone novel in Mercedes Lackey’s ELEMENTAL MASTERS series of fairytale retellings. Read more