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Reserved for the Cat (Elemental Masters, Book 5) Hardcover – October 30, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews
Book 5 of 10 in the Elemental Masters Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A classic good/evil struggle...[A] satisfying story of a young woman's aspirations and dreams."

"[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.

About the Author

Mercedes Lackey is a full-time writer and has published numerous novels and works of short fiction, including the best-selling Heralds Of Valdemar series. She is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots. She can be found at mercedeslackey.com.
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Product Details

  • Series: Elemental Masters (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: DAW; Book Club edition (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756403626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756403621
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,153,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mercedes Lackey is the acclaimed author of over fifty novels and many works of short fiction. In her "spare" time she is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. Mercedes lives in Oklahoma with her husband and frequent collaborator, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This time, however, there's quite a bit of a twist to the tale of someone being born with magical talents. What if you were born into a magical family, but didn't have any magic of your own? That is precisely the problem that Ninette Dupond finds herself in. That is, if she doesn't starve to death first.

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.
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Comment 41 of 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I agree with the previous reviewer that Lackey's lost her touch in recent books. I LOVED reading her work years ago, especially my favorite, The Black Swan, but I quit reading her newer books several years ago because they was becoming tedious to read, and that is never a good sign for fantasy novels. I was in the library last week, craving something reliably in the realm of fantasy to read, so I decided to give her latest book a try because it was about cats and ballet (two things I am fond of). Of course, I found myself disappointed, par the course for Lackey's current writing.

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... )
Comment 18 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
This book reads like a rough draft, complete with several glaring typos, plotholes, and inconsistent character description. It is sloppy, and feels woefully under-edited. While the book is full of interesting ideas and images, it feels underdeveloped. Lackey ignores and alters the rules of magic as described in her previous books, and makes reference to the White Lodge, then bemoans the lack of any organization in London's magical community. She describes one character as an Earth Master, and later refers to Earth as the same character's opposing element.
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.
1 Comment 14 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have enjoyed many of Lackey's works including "The Black Swan" and "The Five Hundred Kingdoms" series. Thus, I had high hopes for this book that blends fairy tales, ballet and magic for what *should* be an entertaining book. But alas, it is not.

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.
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