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Home From the Sea: An Elemental Masters Novel Hardcover – June 5, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews
Book 7 of 11 in the Elemental Masters Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Home from the Sea:

"Lackey's way with character description is phenomenal. I greatly enjoy being one of thos epeople who is able to visualize books in such detail that it's lamost as though I'm watching a movie, and Lackey does not disappoint in this regard. Every time I was interrupted whilst trying to read this book,when I came back I momentarily forgot I was reading at all. This book was fantastic, and I can't wait to start the series at the beginning."
—Bookshelf Bombshells

"Lighter in tone with more emphasis on romance than some of the previous titles, this fairy-tale homage offers a variant view on the usually tragic love between humans and selkies, and should attract both series fans and Lackey's sizable following." 
Library Journal

"With a nod to the Nordic tale 'East of the Sun and West of the Moon,' the latest Elemental Masters historical fantasy is a thrilling tale, due to the brave heroine who will fight for those she cherishes and to keep what is rightfully hers." 
Midwest Book Review

And for the previous novels of the Elemental Masters:

"This is Lackey at her best, mixing whimsy and magic with a fast-paced plot."
Publishers Weekly 

"Richly detailed historical backgrounds add flavor and richness to an already strong series that belongs in most fantasy collections. Highly recommended." 
Library Journal (starred)

"Fans of fantasy will be thrilled by Lackey's clever fairy-tale adventure." 
Booklist

"I find Ms. Lackey's Elemental Masters series a true frolic into fantasy." 
Fantasy Book Spot

"Lackey has delivered another fine entry into the Elemental Masters series.... The storyline and subplots are smoothly woven together and as usual, Lackey's character development is delightful." 
Monsters & Critics

"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 

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 7)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: DAW; 1 edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756407273
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756407278
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #605,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Contains spoilers

Mari is a Welsh fisherman's daughter who discovers on her 18th birthday that she is obligated to marry a 'Selch' (selkie) as part of a generations-long bargain between her family and the seal clan. At the same time, she learns that the fantastic sprites she's been seeing her whole life are actually indicative of her growing potential as a Water Master. Nan and Sarah (repeat characters who debuted in The Wizard of London) are sent by Lord Alderscroft to investigate the reports that a new Elemental Mage is coming into power.

So much for the summary.... unfortunately, for three-fourths of the book, that's about all there is. It reads much more like a Louisa May Alcott accounting of daily life than the fantasy adventure in the previous Elemental Masters novels. There are minor points of conflict: Mari's reluctance to be bartered off as a bride, and her subsequent bargain with the Selch leader; and a new, bullying constable who's more of a nuisance than a threat to anyone. In the meantime, Nan and Sarah (now grown and returned from off-screen African adventures) conduct a failed experiment in teaching, debate what to do with themselves, and wander off for a sea-side holiday at Alderscroft's behest. Mari enjoys being courted by handsome young men, learning the extents of powers with a Selch Druid's tutelage, and harvesting various forms of seaweed to cook with. My Kindle showed 80% of the book completed before any sort of significant danger even began to reveal itself - and when it arrived, it was with insufficient justification based on the previous pages. There was almost no tension for most of the story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Specifically, the notion that somehow 2 storyline drafts that couldn't quite work as standalone tales can somehow be knitted together to justify nearly twice what a normal book would cost (the Kindle version just cost me $12.99). And to make matters worse, much of it is just quotations from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night Dream" along with entire sections from Ms. Lackey's earlier novel, "The Wizard of London."

As another reviewer observed, the Nan and Sarah portion of the story (which is the majority) reads like a (poorly written version of) Louisa May Alcott novel. Yes, I know that Ms. Lackey's novels tend to be of a young adult reading level. Yes, I expect this to be a rather light read and not terribly thought-provoking or complex. But I also did expect a coherent story with a decent plot.

The other storyline, about Mari and the Selch clan, was pretty skimpy. Somehow Mari goes from outrage and rebellion at "the Bargain" to being passionately in love with one of the Selch and plotting how to marry him. And as to the Selch chieftain, as a villain, I couldn't quite fathom why. Really, this entire story should have centered around the Water Master Mari & Bargain with the Selch. Instead, it was barely inserted as an excuse for Nan and Sarah's seaside vacation.

I also had a little trouble with the research and timeline of this novel. It follows "Unnatural Issue," which is set in early WWI (1914-1918). This book appears to occur before that somewhat (which is ok), and the description refers to the "Edwardian" era (1901-1910). Yet in the book, the "Squire" is going to be presented to the Queen? If it's the Edwardian era, best present him to the King (Edward, that is).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series. I enjoy new takes on old tales and haven't been disappointed. I'm still not, sort of. I bought "Home from the Sea", quite pleased that it was about, or at least included Selkies. The story swims the surface, the protagonist, Mari, has to marry a Selkie in order to honor a generations old agreement between the sea folk and her family. She is resistant to this forced marriage but manages to set terms she can live with, to a certain extent. Lackey deals very little with the Selkies themselves. She does relate the basic "facts" about Selkies but she never really develops the Selkies and their culture as a whole. She sets up a conflict between one of the Selkie leaders with Mari but never really gives any reason for the Selkie's animosity. There is a "bad cop" but with no real resolution of the antagonism between him and the town, Mari, and her Dad.
In addition, an uncommon amount of this book was in the form of flashbacks. I haven't counted pages but there are so many passages from "The Wizard of London" incorporated into this book that I felt as if I were reading "The Wizard" again. I got the feeling that Lackey was rushed for deadline or that her heart wasn't in the story. I don't regret buying the book but I am a bit disappointed in this addition to the Elemental Masters series.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i am disappointed. too many important parts of the story are quotes taken from a previous book. she's doing this more and more, and what could have been great is boring. i'm giving it to my friend who has a used book store. and i don't normally part with books, but this one is not a keeper.
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