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Unnatural Issue (Elemental Masters) Hardcover – June 7, 2011
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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 or on Twitter at @mercedeslackey.
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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.
It was worth the wait too!
Lackey revisits some old familiar characters in her fantastical version of 1900s England, and takes us into the beginnings of the first World War. I can't speak to how much historical accuracy there is to her descriptions of England and the Continent, but the emotions she brings up are visceral and memorable. She twines the fantasy story with the historical background in a seamless way that's very entertaining as well as evocative.
One of her best offerings in this series so far!