Monday, June 24, 2013

Steadfast - Mercedes Lackey

Edited to add: This review of Steadfast is also my thousandth post to All Booked Up.

Steadfast - Mercedes Lackey
Mercedes Lackey
DAW Books
Copyright: June 4th 2013

The product description:
The new novel in Mercedes Lackey’s bestselling series of an alternative Edwardian Britain, where magic is real—and Elemental Masters are in control.

Lionel Hawkins is a magician whose act is only partially sleight of hand. The rest is real magic. He’s an Elemental Magician with the power to persuade the Elementals of Air to help him create amazing illusions. It doesn’t take long before his assistant, acrobat Katie Langford, notices that he’s no ordinary magician—and for Lionel to discover that she’s no ordinary acrobat, but rather an untrained and unawakened Fire Magician. She’s also on the run from her murderous and vengeful brute of a husband. But can she harness her magic in time to stop her husband from achieving his deadly goal?
Steadfast, the most recent in the Elemental Masters series by Mercedes Lackey is, honestly, somewhat reminiscent of one of the earlier books in the series, Reserved For The Cat, but it's still a very good read in my opinion. Certainly, I raced through it in about two days, enjoying every page of the book. Which has also been true for some of the other books in this series, including Home From The Sea (the last book in the series), The Wizard of London and Unnatural Issue.

I do have a question to throw out there concerning Steadfast, and I don't think it'll be a spoiler in any way. All of the Elemental Masters books to date have been based around fairy-tales. For example, The Fire Rose (not quite set in the same world but close enough that I consider it to be the same) is based around Beauty and the Beast, The Gates of Sleep is Sleeping Beauty etc. I had to ask the same question in my review of Unnatural Issue, by the way and it never got answered. Which fairy-tale influenced Steadfast?

Katie, the main character in this book definitely had my sympathy. She also reminded me just how much things have changed for women in the last century or so since the time Steadfast was set, at least in the Western world. She's definitely one character who really needed a happy ending to her story - which, given the way the rest of this series has turned out, I knew she'd get.

That's one thing about Mercedes Lackey's books so far, generally, I know whether or not to expect a happy ending or not, depending on the series. The Five Hundred Kingdoms books all do, and so far, all of the Elemental Masters series too. Many of the Valdemar books also have that happy ending, but not all of them - and believe it or not, the ones that don't are among some of my all-time favorite stories written by Mercedes Lackey.

Nearly all of her books though, are ones I know I'll read and re-read, even before I've read them the first time - that's why in other reviews I've referred to them as "old friends".
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