- 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: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 105 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #639,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reserved for the Cat (Elemental Masters, Book 5) Hardcover – October 30, 2007
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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
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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Ninette's story unfolds slowly, and seeming coincidences turn out to be directed by her 'pet cat'. Though starting out in Paris, where Ninette is a dancer with the Paris Opera, most of the story takes place in the UK in the world or "elemental masters' which we last encountered in "The Wizard of London".
The worst problem with this and most of the other kindle books is scanning software which fails to distinguish between n, m, and r combinations. There is also too much confusion between 'c' and 'e'. The word merc frequently becomes mere. Breaks in words occur where there should be none. The little things which have nothing to do with the author are ANNOYING. This needs to be fixed if kindle is capable of doing so.
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.
But not everything is rosy, especially when the _real_ Nina Tchereslavsky shows up and evil of a particularly nasty sort is about to be unleashed...
I have to say that I was very much influenced by the title -- after all, my passion for felines is such that I'll watch or read nearly anything that involves a cat in it. Thomas is the essence of cat-dom. He's slightly aloof, tends to be a know-it-all, but in his own way is valiant, and a close confidant. The relationships between him and the other characters ring very true, and if he has somewhat shaky morals, well, he's just being a cat -- famous for their own self-interest when it is convenient.
The other characters are not quite as well-rounded, especially Nigel and Arthur, and Jonathan is very much a hero, but also fits into the stereotype of 'dashing-mysterious-hero,' without giving any hint of why he's attracted to Ninette. Of all the characters, the most interesting is Wolf, the parrot, which for fans of classical music, there is a surprise in store.
To balance all of that, there is Lackey's use of modern and classical dance, the world of the music hall, the peculiarities of cats and parrots, and the use of known pieces of ballet and classical music. That's where I started to have fun with the novel, picking out the little jokes and snippets that made the background right, and so the novel much more believable. It's the little touches like this that help to move this up and out of the standard transcribed fairy tale that is a common device for fantasy writers.
Four stars. Recommended.