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From a High Tower (Elemental Masters) Hardcover – June 2, 2015
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Praise for the Elemental Masters series:
“The Paris of Degas, turn-of-the-century Blackpool, and the desperation of young girls without family or other protection come to life in a story that should interest a broad readership.” —Booklist
“All in fine fairy-tale tradition…. It’s grim fun, with some nice historical detail, and just a hint of romance to help lighten things.” —Locus
“The action and dialogue flow freely, mingling with beautiful descriptions of European countryside and just a hint of romance…. A well-developed heroine and engaging story.” —Publishers Weekly
“The fifth in the series involving the mysterious Elemental Masters, this story of a resourceful young dancer also delivers a new version of a classic fairy tale. Richly detailed historic backgrounds add flavor and richness to an already strong series that belongs in most fantasy collections. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal
“Lackey’s fantastical world of Elementals, plus her delightful Nan and Sarah, create an amusing contrast for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and John Watson…. The mix of humor, history, fantasy, and mystery is balanced in a way that any reader could pick up the book and thoroughly enjoy it from beginning to end.” —RT Reviews
“The Elementals novels are beautiful, romantic adult fairy tales. Master magician Mercedes Lackey writes a charming fantasy.” —Worlds of Wonder
“Ms. Lackey is a master in fantasy, and this visit to an alternate historical England is no exception. Vivid characterization and believable surroundings are flawlessly joined in a well-detailed world.” —Darque Reviews
"I find Ms. Lackey's Elemental Masters series a true frolic into fantasy."
—Fantasy Book Spot
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 or on Twitter at @mercedeslackey.
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Take the long journey from "Blood Red," combine it with the showbiz found in "Steadfast" or "Reserved for the Cat," and you have covered what plot exists in this story. Once again the villain POV that was a hallmark of the first few books in this series, and in more engrossing books, kept us on the edge of our seats, was completely missing. Meeting the villain in the first chapter does not make up for the fact that we neither see nor hear from him again for 90% of the book.
"From A Hight Tower" has wonderful characters, but Lackey is an author that is capable of giving us a story that has more going for it that good characters. Her last few books, especially in the "Elemental Masters" series, have been less than satisfying. As a longtime reader and fan, I have come to expect more from her, and I hope she gives it to us soon.
The main part of story involved a Wild West show that Giselle needs to join to earn some money. Her mastery of Air helps her sharpshooting skills (think Annie Oakley) and her knowledge of what Germans expect due to Karl May's novels help the show succeed.
I found Giselle to be a sympathetic character who worried about the ethics of her magic. Leading Fox introduced the Native American version of elemental magic; I hope to see more of that. Rosamund from Blood Red shows up in this book. While reading Blood Red adds some background, it isn't necessary to have read it prior to reading this book.
This isn't a deep philosophical book; it is an escape from reality and a coming of age tale. It also explores the theme of friendship. As such light reading, it succeeds admirably. I look forward to more in the series.
Lackey explains in a foreword that Karl May, the 19th Century German equivalent of Zane Grey is the bestselling writer of all time in Germany and “has created over a century’s worth of fans just as rabid as any would-be Jedi or Trekker”.
Zane Grey, however, has the advantage of having actually been to the American West. Karl May never set foot on US soil. When Captain Cody’s Wild West Show plays rural Germany they find their audiences disappointed in the 19th Century American version of that West because it doesn’t match the one they grew up with. When Giselle’s path crosses theirs, led by her sylphs, the friendly air spirits make sure that she is hired as a sharp shooter, one who can explain what the audiences really expect.
Rosamund, now an Earth Master and high ranking Hunt Master in the Schwartzwald, comes to investigate the magic being used by Giselle and several other magicians in the show. She stays to help them deal with some of the dark magic that has haunted the forest for thousands of years and the new enemies that have fixed their sights on Giselle.
The background, the characters and the plot are all as clearly drawn as we have come to expect from Lackey. A good read.