Rosamund is an Earth Master in the Schwarzwald, the ancient Black Forest of Germany. Since the age of 10, she has lived with her teacher, the Hunt Master and Earth Magician of the Schwarzwald Foresters, a man she calls "Papa". Her adoptive Papa rescued her after her original Earth Master teacher, an old woman who lived alone in a small cottage in the forest, was brutally murdered by werewolves. Rosa herself barely escaped, and this terrifying incident molded the course of her future.
For like her fellow Earth Masters of the Schwarzwald Lodge, Rosa is not a healer. Instead, her talents lead her on the more violent path of protection and defense - "cleansing" the Earth and protecting its gentle fae creatures from those evil beings who seek to do them harm. And so Rosa becomes the first woman Hunt Master and the scourge of evil creatures, with a deadly specialty in werewolves and all shapeshifters.
While visiting with a Fire Master - a friend of her mentor from the Schwarzwald Lodge - Rosa meets a pair of Elemental Magicians from Hungary who have come looking for help. They suspect that there is a dark power responsible for a string of murders happening in the remote countryside of Transylvania, but they have no proof. Rosa agrees to help them, but there is a catch: One of the two men asking for aid is a hereditary werewolf.
Rosa has been taught that there are three kinds of werewolves. There are those, like the one that had murdered her teacher, who transform themselves by use of dark magic, and also those who have been infected by the bite of these magical werewolves - these poor victims have no control over their transformative powers. Yet, there is a third kind: Those who have been born with the ability to transform at will. Some insist that certain of these hereditary werewolves are benign. But Rosa has never encountered a benign werewolf!
Can she trust this Hungarian werewolf? Or is the Hunter destined to become the Hunted?
©2014 Mercedes Lackey (P)2014 Audible Inc.
Mercedes Lackey can always be relied upon to spin a clever tale. I love her strong female characters, ability to weave a fantastical world, and writing style that captures the audience. Excellent narrator choice.
I love this series and was not disappointed by the new book in the series! A good story line, nicely outlined characters and a lot of interesting details make this book come alive.
A very good narration adds to the enjoyment. Once I started this book it was almost impossible to put it away.
I will definitely listen to it again and again!
I've enjoyed past books in the Elemental Masters series, and was pleased to find that this tale covered new ground and topics within the universe. I was interested to discover the differences between the mainly English based stories and this one, taking place in Germany, Romania, etc., and to learn about the different folklore, creatures or superstitions.
The story starts out strong, and immerses the reader into a world with wilder dangers than the one many of us experience today. As always, Lackey gives us a strong protagonist who is aware of the socioeconomic gaps between classes and genders. And once the pace picks up again towards the end of the book though, Lackey delivers some gripping action sequences that I couldn't step away from.
Having said that though, I did find most of this book to be tedious to sit through. After the initial rush of action, everything seemed to slow down to a crawl. It felt to me like the protagonist, Rosa, spent a great deal of time thinking and explaining, as opposed to experiencing, the tale. And everything fell into place for the plot in such a charmed manner! It never felt as though any of the characters had to work hard to accomplish their goals. Having read many other books by this author, not only in this series but many others, I know she is more than capable of spinning an excellent yarn - but this piece doesn't live up to that reputation.
When I first saw that this story was coming out I was really excited. Setting the action in Germany and Romania was an exciting change for this series (I lived in Bavaria for years and revisit whenever I can). I read it in book form and was very happy. Then I bought the audiobook too so I could revisit the story a new way.
I will say that most of the narration was great - BUT - whenever she said "Schwarzwald" or "Gunter" (she pronounced them "Schw-or-zwald" and "Goonter") it completely threw me out of the book. There were other examples as well but these were the most frequent.
Once the real action started the mistakes came less often and the effect wasn't as bad, but I almost gave up on the book pretty early on.
PLEASE - when the story is set in a different country, have the respect to learn the proper pronunciation of frequently occurring names and other words!
I had a hard time finishing. the characters felt false. awkward. the plotline stiff and meandering. I wanted to like the mc but she was... so so at best. the narrator was good at least.
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