beauty and the beast

[[ Read Reading ]] Phoenix and AshesAuthor Mercedes Lackey –

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 Than Ever A Dark Tale Full Of The Pain And Devastation Of Warand A Couple Of Wounded Protagonists Worth Routing For Locus

10 thoughts on “Phoenix and Ashes

  1. says:

    Ok, M Lackey has three writing styles One, she doesn t like it and has to meet a deadline Two, she likes what she s doing, but she doesn t have it fleshed out Three, she has a full story and all the time she wants This one is a number three It s one of the longer Elemental Masters It s easily the size of Wizard of London twice over This is her Cinderella, set in 1916, between an English farmgirl and a wounded pilot Both characters are fleshed out nicely Usually the prince in a fairy tale is just there as a placeholder or a plot point, to compliement the beauty but this one has his own character The beauty is also far resilient that is typical for a fairy tale princess This takes a while to get through, but this one was worth it.

  2. says:

    Growing up in a nerd household, I had often heard of Mercedes Lackey She is, after all, one of the most prolific science fiction Fantasy authors out there Phoenix and Ashes was the first book of hers I d gotten around to reading, and I was overall content with it Her characters, though magical, were grounded in the pain and sorrow of everyday life They deal with the injustices of classism and sexism They deal with the horrors of war It is a modernized telling of Cinderella, complete with wicked step sisters Only the handsome prince is of a moderate nobility, and happens to be a shell shocked veteran of World War I The setting is rural England in the fictional town of Broom As the classic tale unfolds, and of the town s men are conscripted to war Those left are visibly maimed and emotionally scarred Women, therefore, start to take on new roles, leading the heroine to realize that her dreams not to marry the prince, but to go to Oxford , may come true If only it weren t for those pesky spells entrapping her The book did break my general rule of Sci Fi If it makes up than 10 words, I m out But the characters persuaded me to stay The over hyped magic and alchemy couldn t kill the interesting history and personal drives of each character One thing I couldn t forgive is the editing I counted no less than 6 times I stumbled across typographical errors Like running through a field of rocks, I tripped over every error Adam and Even, us instead of use, words completely out of place, etc It made me want to hurt the editor, who clearly got lazy and relied on spell check to get them through That combined with unnecessary repetition, made me feel as though Lackey, while creative, isn t that good a writer Maybe she should slow down and focus on quality instead of quantity Or at the very least fire her editor.

  3. says:

    Take one part Cinderella with hints of Harriet Potter , one part All Quiet on the Western Front, one part Downton Abbey, and one part alchemy, and mix well.This is the story of Eleanor Ellie Robinson, a girl who has been enslaved by her evil stepmother upon her father s death, and of Reggie Fenyx, a gentleman pilot who has become severely damaged from service in World War I Reggie and Evil Stepmother are Masters of earth elements air and earth, respectively and Ellie is just starting to realize that she can control another fire The battle lines are drawn among these three as Stepmother tries to get Reggie to marry one of her hideous daughters while keeping Ellie enslaved You can guess the ending, I m sure.The strengths of this book include strong, resourceful female characters good and bad who pass the Bechdel test and accurate portrayals of posttraumatic stress disorder from domestic abuse and war The weaknesess are that some of the characters lean toward caricatures Locke, in particular , and the story is light it really is Cinderella I would like to see stories of the Elementals interacting with real world evils criminals, war, bullies, corruption, etc That would be something new, not a retread And, as others have pointed out, the copyediting was horrendous I m a professional editor, and I can ususally turn it off while reading for pleasure Not this one omitted words, typos, misspellings, etc Come on, Daw, spring for a real copyeditor.

  4. says:

    This one is a retelling of Cinderella Again, I will have to complain at the lack of consistency Evil stepmother does away with father without making sure he changed his will Seriously Evil stepmother casts a curse on stepdaughter pretty gruesomely to make sure no one recognizes her while her godmother, a minor witch still lives in the village and knows what s going on and does nothing The Masters of London do not feel the taint of evil coming from stepmother Etc etcAlso Ellie the heroine is aggravatingly whiny maybe a counterpoint to what is to come, to the horror of war As with almost every Elemental book, I feel things could be improved with just a little COMMUNICATION Solutions, in the shape of other Masters, are susually around the bend, yet no one puts their heads together even though everyone smells a ratOn the other hand, the research into the specific horror of World War 1 the overwhelming number of deaths, the mutilations, the not yet called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the trenches and Ellie s research in the Tarot made it all palatable to me than the Gates of Sleep.

  5. says:

    3.5 Stars Okay, so I ve figured out something about Lackey with this book Her stories and how she weaves the fairytale elements into them are really good and make the experience great But in the 3 books I ve read in this series so far there has yet to be a flushed out romance And these were all books with strong romance plots I never believe the romance Ever It may be cute and I may believe that eventually these characters would fall in love but I have yet to believe that they are in love from what I ve been given in the story There s never enough development put into the relationship So even though the characters and the story may be excellent, the romance always brings down my overall enjoyment of it Since such a huge part of the story feels completely unbelievable it s something that could never really win my love But they re still really fun and good

  6. says:

    4.5Much much satisfying than my last read of this authorUnlike the other books I ve read by her so far this one seems fully fleshed out in terms of character development and motivations, plot continuity, and the climax ending is much satisfying usually this is my biggest problem with her work Eleanor Robinson is a young aspiring scholar in early 1900s something I love about Lackey is her female characters are always defying convention in some form who means to study in Oxford, despite women not receiving a degree Yet her dreams are dashed when her father remarries Her life becomes less important than her stepmothers and her stepsisters After his death she learns of Alison her stepmother s earth magic, when the latter realises Eleanor still has legal right of inheritance She is forced under spell to become a slave in a pretty gruesome way for her step family, with everyone in the village spelled to forget who she is Then WW1 strikes and slowly she discovers her own fire powers under the guidance of her Godmother who has sought her out again She discovers her stepmothers conspiracy against her childhood friend and hero Reggie, an air master who has come back from the war battered with shell shock and something worse As she works against the spells that bind her, she attempts to protect him from the evil of her step mothers plan Will she be discovered..will she be strong enough to fight her Dun dun dunnnI might say this a lot, but I really love how the author combines elemental magic and fairy tales with true history in a way that highlights lots of big and little details bringing that period to life There are so many details of the change in women s status, appearance, the deaths, the horrors and psychological damage, the rationing, class hierarchy, sexism etc which I fully appreciated In terms of characters there is still a black and white element to them, the bad are evil with no redeeming qualities, like Alison I do find it interesting how she keeps portraying the Wizard of London in such a way that he seems to be so toff like to the point of idiocy in ignoring someone may be a bad seed because they sound like peerage Niggles aside this was a long and satisfying story.

  7. says:

    Originally posted at Fantasy Literature Life s too short to read bad books of Mercedes Lackey s ELEMENTAL MASTERS novels is a stand alone fairytale retelling Some of the novels have overlapping characters, but you can read these books in any order The fourth book, Phoenix and Ashes, is a mostly pleasant Cinderella story set in England during The Great War Maya, the Indian doctor from The Serpent s Shadow, is a minor character I listened to Michelle Ford narrate the audio version of Phoenix and Ashes Audible Studios She is perfect for this tale.Unlike some of the other ELEMENTAL MASTERS stories, Phoenix and Ashes stays pretty close to the source material you can tell this is a Cinderella story Eleanor Robinson s father is killed during WW1 and Eleanor is left living in the house she grew up in with her socially climbing evil stepmother and two stepsisters They cast a spell on Eleanor and make her their slave while they attend teas and balls Eleanor s fairy godmother is a local witch who helps Eleanor develop her own magical skills Her helpful woodland creatures are the salamanders that usually accompany fire mages in Lackey s ELEMENTAL MASTERS books Most interesting is Prince Charming a young soldier who was sent home with shellshock Lackey does a nice job of portraying the horrors, the deprivations, and the massive amount of death that The Great War caused We see an England that is nearly devoid of healthy adult men within a certain age range Women were running the farms and businesses German submarine blockades of merchant ships meant that people were hungry So many of the English soldiers never came home, and those who did were maimed and or afflicted with PTSD, a brain disorder that people didn t believe in until recently Lackey shows us the scorn that the military held for those who suffered from shellshock and also the way they were slow to adapt to the Germans technological advances A few times Lackey attempts to bring in some socialist opposition to the war, which could have been really interesting and informative, but this is dealt with so quickly and superficially that it was of no value.As in the other ELEMENTAL MASTERS books, the evil villains are totally over the top sadists, making them seem like caricatures rather than real people Eleanor s stepmother is so hilariously bad that it s hard to take her seriously In contrast, the protagonists always display surprisingly modern ideas for their time They re always progressive feminists who despise the class structure they were born into A little diversity and nuance to Lackey s characters would be nice.Still, for a fluffy fantasy read, Phoenix and Ashes is mostly entertaining It s easy to sympathize with Eleanor s plight, cheer when she manages to win little victories over her evil stepmother, and feel excited knowing that she ll triumph in the end Unfortunately there is a long odd section in which Eleanor learns about passion, balance and responsibility from the creatures on Tarot cards in some sort of dreamland This was bizarre and boring and didn t feel like it fit in an ELEMENTAL MASTERS novel since, I think, Tarot has not been mentioned as related to this magic system before The ending of the story, when Eleanor gets revenge, was also abrupt and not especially satisfying Sort of like my ending to this review.

  8. says:

    So the elemental masters can join the dark side There were lots of dark beasties in this one, which was different, though not nearly as maliciously fun as it could have been and for a while I thought Alison was going to be the most challenging villian yet I am reading the series in order, though there seems no particular reason to do so as they all stand alone perfectly well But then the hemming and hawing started, and Lady Virginia shows up to throw in her curve ball, and the evil gets distracted trying to insinuate herself into the rich family and get her daughters married off So there went any previously built up tension, and the evil hobbles along until it gets it s big moment at the end of the book where she gets motivated to refocus on the baddies and not the social nicities Yet again, the action is piled into the last few pages I liked Eleanor nearly as much as I liked Rose in the first book There was a even a little bit of developing romance in this one instead of the romance being pried into the storyline because it was expected I could have done with scenes in the meadow, and especially of Eleanor having to look out for Reggie and him being aware of it would help too But then that also fizzled out in the middle of the book, for what appeared to be a Sophie s World inspired series of lessons about the Tarot deck, wherein they teach the character and us about the tarot and it s hitherto unmentioned connection to the elemental masters by bashing us over the head with cute vignettes serving only to educate us and not move the story forward in the least Maybe that part annoyed me a little And no one else had this many lessons in understanding every possible interpretation of all the elements before actually learning useful stuffwas Eleanor less powerful than the others or why on earth did it take her so long to get anywhere They did try to connect the dots, by bringing up incidents later where she d never have pulled this off if she hadn t studied other elements besides her own But it seemed so concocted and inorganic when brought up in that manner Sarah and Lady Virginia were interesting, but never developed, as was the mysteriously introduced Smith who then vanished for the rest of the book Did I miss something there Maybe her story is told elsewhere I liked Dr Maya s appearance early in the book, but she reappears at the end for no real purpose Reggie on the other hand, is missing from the end of the book, though he s referrerd to by Eleanor We hear nothing from his voice We know about his leg, how about his mental state And I could have done without the last two paragraphs which made me think of a sitcom that is required to end with laughter And laughter that I didn t connect to at allwhat was so funny But I liked the war story being tied into the fairy tale, I liked the circumstances of Eleanor s servitude and of the situation at the ball, and enough other parts that I think it will rank as second best following Fire Rose I m still mostly reading this series because it s in stock at the library while I m waiting for my requested books to arrive, but the darn author always gives me just enough hope that the next book will live up to it s potential to keep me returning to her section in the shelves

  9. says:

    Of all the books in the Elemental Masters series this was my favorite It is a retelling of Cinderella set in the Victorian era in England This book follows the traditional fairy tale than the other books in the series, and that might have been part of the magic to me It is interesting to see all the unique ways that the author has incorporated the traditional parts of the Cinderella story into this much darker tale of magic Like all of the books in the Elemental Master series this book can stand on its own If you are thinking of reading just one of this series, this is the one to go with.

  10. says:

    This is really bit changed version of the Cinderella.Evil Step mother is also evil witch tooCinderella is also elemental magePrince is only noble, but he is also soldier and elemental mage, but he is injured in first world war and has also deep emotioal scars from war.And typical for this series Mereces Lackey describes in great detail how people live in time period described in book So this time we get to know how difficult life were in England during war and how losing millions of soldiering men changed society.