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on 12 May 2016
A great series of books reimagining classic fairy tales into something a little different - a lovely world setting with the existence of mages hidden within society. At times the stories can feel a little clichéd and as you go through the series the nature of 'magic' and individual relationships with it seems to change for no explained reason but nonetheless these are well written books that tend to build tension slowly and, like the fairy tales from which they derive, have some interesting moral dilemas.
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on 3 February 2018
I am working my way through this series. At first I was a bit disappointed after the complex plots and interesting characters of the Valdemar series. I love the way she has used the fairy stories and elemental magic but some of the characters seemed a bit one dimensional. This one is great though, she seems to have found her feet again.
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on 22 November 2014
Enjoyed all the elemental masters books. Have also bought audio versions. Only one book written by Mercedes Lackey that I did not like and I think this may have been due to the co-author although she writes well with other authors as well, she just did not gel with this author although I like most of
his other work as well.
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on 22 August 2016
After the first in the Series, I didn't want to read any other fiction until I'd come to the last book. No sooner had I read one story than I started on the next
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on 6 August 2011
And Phoenix and Ashes is a catastrophe - The book is over the hill and the ending is dreadfully stupid. Avoid this.
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VINE VOICEon 29 June 2006
Now this was a good read. A retelling of the cinderella story during World War I. Typically for an urban fantasy of this class you have magicians on both sides working for and against the British Cause. There was perhaps a little bit of lecturing about the class changes post WWI but it wasn't the worst. Actually it sparked off ideas in my head about how certain things could work in a world with magic.

Reginald Fenyx is an elemental master of Air who was fighting as a pilot before he crashed, ended up in a trench and was attacked by some Earth Elements. This trauma had him subsume his talent. The following nightmares and injury have him return to the family home to recuperate.

Meanwhile Eleanor Robinson is dealing with her evil stepmother, who has magically chained her to her house, having eliminated her father by encouraging him (with a magical push) to enlist.

Yes the story drags a bit occasionally and during Eleanor's magical training you would actually need to know a little bit about the Kaballa and the Tarot and there are moments when you want a little more information and things are resolved a bit too quickly (what's new with Mercedes Lackey?) but I enjoyed it a lot and look forward to the next in the series.
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on 25 February 2010
Seriously, I think Sarah Water's book "The Little Stranger" stole a lot from this book. The character of Reginald in "Phoenix and Ashes" seems far too similar to Roderick in "The Little Stranger" for it to be pure chance. I read "Phoenix and Ashes" a few years ago and thought it was a cracking good read with great characters and an interesting twist on an old story. Of course the critics who read the Booker prize nominees probably don't even realize it, because I doubt they read "genre fiction" despite the fact that this book, I believe is far superior in quality to much that passes as "literary fiction" these days. The whole setting of the village and the young injured RAF pilot who seems to be suffering from shellshock but is actually being haunted and tormented by supernatural forces is from this book. Even Reginald's leg injuries is the same as Roderick's in "the Little Stranger" and the manor house in decline and him living with his widowed mother included. Has anyone else noticed this?
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VINE VOICEon 15 February 2006
I bought this book as it was one of the few books by Mercedes Lackey that I had not read. Yes, a simple description is a retelling of the story of Cinderella. But this book is much more than putting a fairytale into a modern setting. I would love to know the reference for the comments on tarot, for example. The thoughts expressed regarding the effects of the First World War are well-known sentiments, but I think made more approachable and understandable. In particular, I liked the 'origin' of the 1918 flu epidemic - rather topical at the moment.
I found it very hard to put this book down (no surprise there!), and shall be looking for the others in this series.
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on 29 March 2010
This series is one that I turn to when I need a bit of an escape for a few minutes and that's how it works. I quite like the people involved and the story is sweet, though with a bit of a bite as it takes place during WW1. It is light-weight and fairly-tale-y and rather enjoyable. I must however agree with one of the reviewers that Ms Lackey's desire to show off her insight into tarot cards and mysticism takes over. It puts me off. The sheer volume of pages dedicated to fools and empresses is simply ridiculous. If that's what I wanted to read, I would have gotten a book about Tarot. It's a shame, really.
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on 3 April 2010
I found this more serious and darker in spirit than many of Mercedes Lackey's novels. The two main characters have many problems including those of equal rights, both for women and the "lower classes" and the outcome is hard fought for and well earned.

Judith Elbourne
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