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Unnatural Issue: An Elemental Masters Novel Hardcover – June 7, 2011


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Unnatural Issue: An Elemental Masters Novel + Home From the Sea: An Elemental Masters Novel + Steadfast: (Elemental Masters #8)
Price for all three: $48.76

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Product Details

  • Series: Elemental Masters (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: DAW Hardcover; 1ST edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756405750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756405755
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #542,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

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

This book is written with Mercedes Lackey's wonderful storytelling.
J. TEETERS
These books are starting to get "formulaic"; I pretty much figured out the plot/end less than half way through.
K. Sumida
I was very disappointed in this book because there were too many continuity issues for me to stay engaged in the story.
Marti Mullen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Rowan Reader on June 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Wow, Harriet dear really is just phoning it in now.

Ok, the first paragraph is ok. She should have stuck with that and not gotten into details (those pesky details that prove you've actually read something to read it, not skimmed it for your review pile.)

Sir Richard Whitestone was an Earth Master, as his family before him, tuned to the elements of hearth, home, and healing. He was called to London to capture and kill a dreaded Necromancer, practicer of forbidden blood and spirit-binding magics. Just part of his duty as a "good" magician and Master to help protect the innocent. While away in London, his beloved wife dies in childbed, and as he sees her lying dead hours later, he blames it on Susanne, their newborn daughter.

He forgets his grief by isolating himself on his magic-filled second-floor, poring over tomes of dusty magic practice, while Susanne is raised by the servants in the equally-isolated Yorkshire moors.

After 20 years, grief and desperate desire have driven Sir Richard to become what he once hated, and with his need for a perfect "vessel" for his wife's spirit, he chances to see Susanne out on the moors, and realizes that she is the perfect image of his wife. Now his hatred and bitterness has an outlet. Now all he must do is catch her.

Now, I won't go any further to avoid spoilers, but here's some highlights.

Susanne is feisty, spunky, and a better magician than her father, with an interesting magical sponsor.

Sir Richard is suitably mad, and totally misogynistic. I think the progression of his obsession with Susanne came up a little quickly, but otherwise, he's an excellent villain.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Sheila L. Beaumont VINE VOICE on June 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This seventh entry in Mercedes Lackey's "Elemental Masters" series is a variation on the dark fairy tale "Donkeyskin" and also an homage to Dorothy L. Sayers. It's set in England and France just before and during the early part of WWI.

Lord Peter Almsley, this magical world's analogue of Lord Peter Wimsey, is a major character in this novel, in which he's an operative of the White Lodge in London and MI13, the magical intelligence agency. He's dispatched to go north to find a mysterious necromancer whose illicit, corrupt blood magic has been detected.

Susanne is the magically talented daughter of this necromancer, Richard Whitestone, who has renounced his daughter ever since his beloved wife, Rebecca, died giving birth to her 21 years ago. He has become an embittered recluse, who is obsessed with the thought of bringing Rebecca's spirit back to life, using his daughter's body as a vessel for it. In her father's absence, Susanne has been lovingly raised by the manor's servants and has learned Earth magic from Robin Goodfellow, also known as Puck.

Like all of Lackey's books, this tale has plenty of likable characters, along with the requisite evil wizard. It's a very enjoyable and entertaining story, though it does turn dark and grim in some scenes set on the WWI battlefield. There is a bit of sloppy writing, and the book could have used some editing and proofreading, but on the whole it's a fun, light read, with the portrayal of Lord Peter a real treat for Sayers fans.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Winberg on June 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have long been a fan of Lackey's Elemental Masters series and I found this to be another solid entry, though its more cerebral and less action based than her previous novels.

Unnatural Issue is loosely based on the tale of Donkeyskin, which isn't my favorite myth but Lackey does a fantastic job of retelling it in a way that gives the heroine more agency than Perrault. She no longer relies on magical dresses, a fairy godmother to tell her what to do, or marry the "prince" at the end but rather takes matters into her own hands and shapes her own destiny. We may not no much about her in the beginning but our interest is in her development, not her past. She may not be my favorite heroine of the series but she is far from a poor, dry damsel in distress.

Lackey's choice of myth also gives us a chance to see a good Elemental Master evolve into the villain, rather than beginning with an already evil outsider. Richard Whitestone's psychosis is a well developed and believeable story of how much a person might do to get back a lost loved one. While it develops rather quickly, I find Whitestone's motvation and actions logical and (scarily) plausible given the situation.

Fans of the previous novels should rejoice at seeing Peter Almsley and Robin Goodfellow again; they are among my favorite characters that needed more page time. Both are loyal, intelligent, possessed of an excellent dry sense of humor, and make for deadly enemies...what's not to love about them!

There were a few objections to Lackey's bringing up class limitations "again" in this novel and I would respond that class was still a rather large, glaring issue in England at this time and cannot be set aside or not mentioned.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Alisa Cohen on June 29, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
(spoiler alert)

I enjoy the Elemental Masters books. I've read each one as it came out. The twists on the classic fairy tales have been fascinating. This one, based on Pygmallion, not so much.

"Unnatural Issue" reads as if Misty is trying to take advantage of the current zombie fad in fantasy fiction, and not doing anything particularly original with it. It feels like she just tossed it off. I normally expect mind-candy, and would have given it 4 stars anyway, but for a couple of inconsistencies. I can deal with minor inconsistencies, like changing the color of a character's eyes, but one of them tossed me right out of the story, to the point of going back to make sure I had remembered what she'd written earlier correctly. Early in the book she describes a magical object one of the protagonists has made as being burned and the ashes scattered. She makes a major point out of that. And then at the end of the book, when it becomes the key to defeating the (entirely evil, hopelessly irredeemable and completely one-dimensional) villian, the object hasn't been destroyed after all. I'm not sorry I read it, but unlike others Misty has written, I doubt I'll read it again.
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