Mercedes Lackey's magical Elemental Masters series recasts familiar fairy tales in a richly-imagined alternate Victorian world
Ninette Dupond was a dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet. She had been very lucky—if she had not been pretty, and a natural dancer, she could only have become what her mother had been: a washerwoman.
But Ninette’s good luck ended the day that the lead dancer sprained her ankle and Ninette was chosen to dance her part at a matinee. Her reviews had been very good—too good. Shortly thereafter, Ninette had been fired in an attempt to soothe the wounded ego of the ballet’s primary soloist.
Alone, unemployed, and filled with despair, Ninette had returned to her apartment to find a thin, rangy, tabby-striped tomcat sitting on her windowsill. He seemed like just another stray, until abruptly he spoke to her, mind-to-mind.
Ninette though she was going mad, but the cat offered her an alternative to a life of destitution, albeit a very odd one. He proposed that she impersonate a renowned Russian ballerina, Nina Tchereslavsky, and go to work in a specific music hall in Blackpool, England. The cat also told her that he would take care of her in every way—he would somehow convey the English and Russian languages to her, supply her with money, and guide her every move. With no other option open to her, she place her life in his paws.
What Ninette didn’t know was that the cat was an Elemental Spirit sent to protect her, and that the music hall in Blackpool was owned by an Elemental Master. But she also didn’t know that the real Nina Tchereslavsky no longer existed. For the real Nina had been “absorbed” by an Elemental Spirit of the darkest kind that was now bent on Ninette’s destruction….
About the Author
Mercedes Lackey is a full-time writer and has published numerous novels and works of short fiction, including the best-selling Heralds of Valdemar series. She is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots. She can be found at mercedeslackey.com or on Twitter at @mercedeslackey.
Praise for the Elemental Masters series:
“The Paris of Degas, turn-of-the-century Blackpool, and the desperation of young girls without family or other protection come to life in a story that should interest a broad readership.” —Booklist
“All in fine fairy-tale tradition…. It’s grim fun, with some nice historical detail, and just a hint of romance to help lighten things.” —Locus
“The action and dialogue flow freely, mingling with beautiful descriptions of European countryside and just a hint of romance…. A well-developed heroine and engaging story.” —Publishers Weekly
“The fifth in the series involving the mysterious Elemental Masters, this story of a resourceful young dancer also delivers a new version of a classic fairy tale. Richly detailed historic backgrounds add flavor and richness to an already strong series that belongs in most fantasy collections. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal
“Lackey’s fantastical world of Elementals, plus her delightful Nan and Sarah, create an amusing contrast for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and John Watson…. The mix of humor, history, fantasy, and mystery is balanced in a way that any reader could pick up the book and thoroughly enjoy it from beginning to end.” —RT Reviews
“The Elementals novels are beautiful, romantic adult fairy tales. Master magician Mercedes Lackey writes a charming fantasy.” —Worlds of Wonder
“Ms. Lackey is a master in fantasy, and this visit to an alternate historical England is no exception. Vivid characterization and believable surroundings are flawlessly joined in a well-detailed world.” —Darque Reviews