Copyright Date: 2005
The Chapters/Indigo.ca description:
In this dark and atmospheric rendition of the Cinderella fairy tale, an intelligent young Englishwoman is made into a virtual slave by her evil stepmother. Her only hope of rescue comes in the shape of a scarred World War I pilot of noble blood, whose own powers over the elements are about to be needed more than ever.I was inspired to read Phoenix and Ashes for the first time in years after I finished reading Alison Maloney's Life Below Stairs: True Lives of Edwardian Servants last week. Interestingly, while it wasn't one of my favourite books in the Elemental Masters series the other time I read it, back when Phoenix and Ashes came out, or the last time I tried to re-read it, this time I found that I absolutely couldn't put the book down.
Maybe it was having a bit more background knowledge of the time-period and culture now, but I found that knowing a bit about the culture meant that I was catching all the little references and more familiar with the various characters' attitudes and expectations.
The little things about not letting the servants meet up during their duties so as to not let them gossip, for example, or Reggie's musings about what people were looking for in servants such as footmen. It was neat to be able to say "I recognize that" as I read.
Phoenix and Ashes is part of the Elemental Masters series, but this one's set somewhat later than most of the others, being set during the First World War, which adds another layer to the story. At the same time, this volume makes reference to some of the other books in the series, namely The Gates of Sleep, The Serpent's Shadow, and even to The Fire Rose - the only one of the series so far to do so that I'm aware of to date.
This time through on the read, I found Ellie and Reggie to be much more interesting characters, as well as the situation they were living in, which fits the tale of Cinderella very closely, almost point for point.
Definitely worth the read, or perhaps re-read.