This is my favorite book from Mercedes Lackey's new series, Elemental Masters. Lackey has done a lovely job of creating interesting and reasonably realistic characters, and the world she has created is detailed and well-written. I love the multicultural flavor that this book has, as well as the wide diversity among the characters. Unlike many books which are based in this particular time period, the main characters of this story are all lower or middle class people - we only see the upper classes in passing, for the most part. The main characters are strong people with flaws and problems that make them real to the reader, and the attention to detail is superb. Lackey has clearly put a lot of effort into achieving a high degree of realism in the characters' daily lives - you can almost see yourself walking beside them as they go about their routines. I found this to be an extremely enjoyable read, and have re-read it several times. An excellent introduction to Lackey's writing or to the fantasy genre in general. If you like Regency & Victorian romances, you will like this book. For those who hate romances, rest assured that the romance is definitely secondary to the rest of the story - there is a definite plot that does not include copious amounts of gratuitous sex described in excessively flowery terms.
I've always loved her books but her elemental series with the retelling of several fairytales is a wonderful easy reading series. I really enjoy books with a strong female main character, and these are classic good and evil stories. Hope you enjoy!
Typical Mercedes Lackey fantasy, a well written book of the Elemental Masters in Edwardian London. Maya is the daughter of a British physician and a Brahmin woman of high caste, who was a sorceress. She
has inherited magic but not from her mother, so has to learn who and what she is after her parents are killed and she moves to London from India.
Mercedes Lackey returns to form in The Serpent's Shadow, the fourth in her sequence of reimagined fairy tales. This story takes place in the London of 1909, and is based on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Lackey creates echoes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, pays affectionate homage to Dorothy Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey (who plays an important role under a thin disguise), and turns the dwarves into seven animal avatars who masquerade as pets of her Eurasian heroine, Maya.
Some of Maya's challenges come from the fact that she is not "snow white," and she has fled India for her father's English homeland after the suspicious deaths of her parents. Establishing her household in London, she returns to her profession as a physician, working among the poor. Her "pets" and loyal servants stand guard, and Maya herself uses what bits of magic she managed to pick up in childhood to weave otherworldly defenses as well. But the implacable enemy who killed her parents has come to London to search for her; if Maya can be enslaved, her enormous potential powers can be used to the enemy's ends.
Fortunately, English magicians of the White Lodge have also noted a new, powerful presence in their midst, though they're having trouble locating her, too. They send Peter Scott, a Water Master, to track her down. He finds Maya beautiful and benign, and is determined to teach her to use the Western magic she is heir to, before her enemy discovers her.