This is my favorite of Mercedes Lackey's re-told fairy tales, and I was pleased to find it available in audio format. Maya Witherspoon is a terrific c..Show More »haracter and you immediately become engrossed in her story as a young Anglo-Indian woman who has successfully conquered the barriers of the male-dominated English medical/surgical profession in the late 1800s. The people she meets in her London charity hospital work and her private medical practice are vividly portrayed, and many become her friends and supporters.
Michelle Ford does a quite good job of differentiating the characters' voices and accents, both male and female.
Highly recommended, and I know I'll listen to this again and again.
The narrator was amazing, really made all the characters come to life. The voice for Madame was perfect! Exactly how I imagined it would be when I rea..Show More »d the book. And Marina is a great character, very realistic with her love of the fine clothing and dreams of "society".
Much as I love these tales, this is the weakest of the Elemental Masters novels. Most of the story involves Sarah and Nan, young, magically-talented ..Show More »girls who come to live at the Harton School in London, run by the also-talented Isabelle Harton and her husband. Sarah has been sent home to England "for her health" from her parents' hospital in Africa, along with her remarkably wise and capable African Gray parrot, simply called Gray. Nan is taken in from the streets, where she has been living a tenuous life with her drunken and drug-addicted mother, and she becomes a valued friend to Sarah and an asset to the School, even as she begins to learn how to manage her ordinary and extra-ordinary talents.
Also living in London is Lord Alderscroft, the so-called Wizard of London and a Fire Master, head of the Elemental Masters group. However, Alderscroft has come under the influence of Cordelia, a secretive and powerful Master. She has gradually cut him off from all of his ordinary enjoyment of life and his friends and surrounded him with a crowd of the politically influential, since she hopes to accompany Alderscroft as he rises to political power and influence. And then she begins to crave even more power, power beyond the usual reach of women in this Edwardian era.
This is a weak adaptation of the Ice Queen tale, with Alderscroft as the stricken boy, and while the adventures of Sarah and Nan are interesting, the story really hasn't got the weight of Ms Lackey's usual plots. The narrator does a creditable job with slightly different voices and reads at a reasonable pace.
I love this author, and this series in particular. You can tell she does a lot of research to create a historically accurate setting for her tales to ..Show More »juxtapose the magic, which she also seeks to ground in lore and fact. The narrator, however, is not my favorite. Her accents are terrible, and there is always a sense that she has not read the story in advance. She stumbles over foreign words and those she does not know (it's always easy to tell when she doesn't) and often puts the wrong emphasis on syllables in a word or words in a sentence, as if she is reading without full comprehension. She's tolerable and not the worst I've ever heard by any means, but it's hard to lose oneself in the story if the narrator isn't guiding properly.
When Earth Master Richard Whitestone's wife dies in childbirth, he discards their newborn daughter Suzanne in a fit of rage. Suzanne is raised as a s..Show More »ervant of the household, while her father wastes away in his chambers. After many years, Whitestone develops a new passion - necromancy. When he sees his daughter wandering his lands, he realizes she is the perfect vessel in which to trap his dead wife's spirit. Suzanne must flee her father, and hide in the guise of a servant in another household. But her skill in Earth magic is difficult to hide...
This is a non-canonical retelling of the fairy tale Donkeyskin, and is part of Lakey's Elemental Master series. Although it certainly has charm and originality, it is not my favorite of the Donkeyskin retellings, nor of the Elemental Master series. I felt the premise of the book - a necromantic father, Elemental Masters fighting in WWI, with a touch of romance - had promise. Unfortunately, it just wasn't delivered as well as it could have been. The romance seemed forced, and the war sections uninteresting. Not that it was a terrible book, but it could have been so much better. Lackey is better than this.
But, if you're looking for a fluffy-quick read, or an original fairy tale retelling, this book will certainly deliver that. The narration by Kate Reading was quite good. She did the voices well, and had good timing.
I couldn't put the book down, the story had me captivated throughout. From start to finish the book is a sweetly woven work that all Lackey fans shoul..Show More »d enjoy. The narrator did a fine job as well.
I enjoy Lackey's books, the elemental masters series especially, but I don't think Steadfast lived up to the rest of the series. It had some great mom..Show More »ents, but overall, I felt there were too many loose ends.
The heroine was a little flat. She has an interesting back story, but she doesn't seem to grow very much, and where their was the potential for her to--regain herself?--it wraps up too quickly to feel like anything momentous has occurred.
An old favorite character is briefly trotted out and just as briefly disappears with no explanation of what happened, and no real reason for his having been included.
I was left feeling like there was a lot left unsaid and I'd love to see the author's notes on this story.
On the other hand, it's the Elemental Masters series! I still enjoyed listening, and I'll probably listen to it again. It gave a little more information about the rules of elemental magic in the Lackey-verse. It was a very different class/culture of people than she has written about before. While there are are shades of Reserved for the Cat, I think the story is different enough to stand by itself.
Overall, I'd say that if you are a fan of the series, it's a must have just as part of the collection. If you are just starting, don't start with this book.
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 writi..Show More »ng style that captures the audience. Excellent narrator choice.