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Phoenix and Ashes (Elemental Masters #4)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  5,305 ratings  ·  140 reviews
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 more than ever.

"A dark tale full of the pain and devastation of war...a
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Paperback, 480 pages
Published October 4th 2005 by DAW (first published October 4th 2004)
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Community Reviews

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Rebalioness
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 fair
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Pat F.
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 re
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Elanor
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 etc
Also Ellie (t
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devra
I picked up "Ashes," Lackey's retelling of the Cinderella tale, with great trepidation after looking forward to "The Gates of Sleep" and finding myself savagely disappointed.

To my relief, Lackey seems to have taken extra care with this new installment in her modern fairy tales, striking a largely pleasing balance between story (emphasized in the beautiful, but poorly plotted "Serpent's Shadow") and plot movement (emphasized in the aforementioned "Sleep," wherein character development was so shor
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Anna
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
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Elizabeth S
This is the Cinderella one. I am amazed how Lackey is able to flesh out traditional fairy tales, mix them with her Elemental Magic system, and then place it in the real world such that it fits plausibly.

I also like that the villains make plans, but aren't always able to execute them. The good-guys, even minor characters, do things to adjust the plans at various times throughout the book. In most stories, the villains seem unstoppable until the very end. But in this series, the villains have set
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Jacqueline
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 more 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
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Eero
This is really bit changed version of the Cinderella.

Evil Step-mother is also evil witch too
Cinderella is also elemental mage
Prince 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
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Makayla
I'm glad to say this is still my favorite of the Elemental Masters books. The first time I read it (must've been five years ago), I remember immediately reading it again because I loved it so much.
I'm not sure what it is about this book that is so appealing, but I think a lot of it goes back to Lackey's skills at their best. She had a good idea, and the time to flesh it out, and the result is a good story.

Another big appeal is the fairytale retelling. This is Lackey's version of Cinderella, and
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Francine
This is part of a series so I loved it when Lackey brought in characters from previous stories.

This is a retelling of the Cinderella story set in England during WWI. The history of the period is told through the individuals in one small area of rural England. A full range of characters are presented from the village residents to the lord of the manor. The world is changing and people from every level of society recognize it. Women are taking active roles in all areas because all of the able men
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Susan
Her Elemental Master series, while written for young adults ( I assume) show a deep knowledge of mythology, psychology, religions, and early British history. The female characters are powerful role models, and we see them make choices and grow. Even I, at 60, had some interesting insights about myself and my own nature after reading these. They are captivating, escapist, interesting as far as concept and weave of fields of knowledge, fast paced, exciting, dangerous and just delightful... even if ...more
Blake Baguley
It was fairly fun to read through but felt like a bit of a waste of time when I was finished.
She always picks out pretty obvious themes in her books and stresses them fairly strongly - this time round the stupidity of war and discrimination based on class and sex.
Some of it was interesting, but some of it was just over detail that bogged the story down. Can't say there was much closure or excitement at the end either, compared to how long the build up was.
All in all, not one of my favourite ML
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Jill Furedy
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 dis ...more
Joan
Jan 08, 2013 Joan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: feminists, history interests.
This is one of the Elemental Masters series. This is an excellent example of how fantasy can be used to write a very different sort of book. This was a polemic against WWI and by extension, any war. She is also quite a feminist and makes this apparent. Of course, both WWI and II were big times for women to expand their roles in life, with so many men gone and/or badly injured.

This is based on the Cinderella fairy tale. Eleanor Robinson badly wants to go study at the university and her father had
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Filia Martin
This has to be the best Mercedes Lackey novel I've read since One Good Knight. This particular installment is historical fantasy done right. The history doesn't feel tacked on (like it did in The Gates of Sleep), and you actually feel like you're in the time period yourself. The war becomes very real in this book--it has a strong presence in the novel, and its effects are actually shown. I don't think any of the other books in this series actually make it obvious that this is a historical novel ...more
Mandolin
When her father remarried a society woman from London and brought her home to Broom with her two daughters in tow, Eleanor Robinson never dreamed of the impact it would have on her future. Certainly, this woman and her girls were much more sophisticated than she would ever be, but she had her father's love and wasn't that enough? It was until the war on the continent destroyed their peaceful lives and dragged him off to the front, where he was killed almost immediately. On the very day she learn ...more
The Bookwyrm's Hoard
Review originally published at The Bookwyrm's Hoard.

The traditional tale of Cinderella takes on several new twists in Phoenix and Ashes, the fourth in Mercedes Lackey's "Elemental Masters" fantasy series. After Eleanor Robinson's tradesman father dies in the trenches of World War I, her social-climbing stepmother Allison, an Earth Master on the Dark Path, literally binds Eleanor to a life of servitude within her own home by burying Eleanor's severed finger beneath the kitchen hearthstone. Meanwh
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Hope
See note with my review of "Oathbreakers" for explanation of how I'm making notes on the works of M.L.

Had a hard time choosing between the various works of the "Elemental Masters" series (which should include "The Fire Rose," but doesn't, because FR is published by a different company).

All works in the EM series are re-vamped fairy-tales, which is one of the things that is so enjoyable about them.

"Phoenix..." takes its inspriation from Cinderella. I appreciate that neither the heroine Eleanor no
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Kerry
Nov 04, 2012 Kerry marked it as dnf
Shelves: 2006, fantasy
I had been looking forward to this, but in the end I abandoned it about 2/3 of the way through.

The writing is overly wordy, and by the time I'd finished I'd moved on from "wordy" to "stodgy" and I just couldn't take any more. The action is minimal and there's a lot of overly detailed description that could have been trimmed into something more readable, but hasn't been.

The copy editing is appalling - spelling mistakes, missed words, extra words and totally inappropriate words - and it could have
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Helen
I think the best of the series that I've read. I liked the heroine - determined to save herself without the hero. I thought the characters were quite fun too. For once I didn't even find the romance a too forced either (I like romance, but hate love at first sight stories). The downsides where that yes, I know the war was bad, but did Lackey really need to spell it all out like that? Plus, there was a lot of repetition with the descriptions throughout and I found the baddies a little 2D.

Audio b
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Amber N
This is one of Lackey's Elemental Master series, a set of books that all take place in the early twentieth century and involve magical people who have the power over one of the elements. She's really fleshed their subculture out well throughout the series and given it a fascinating amount of detail.

Each book loosely retells a different fairy tale, this one being Cinderella. Lackey's writing tends to be too wordy at points, but at least I wouldn't call it purple prose (a definite turn off for me)
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Stacey
This book started slooooooower than molasses. It took more than a few chapters to get into the meat of the book, to DRAW me into it and to begin with I only stuck with it because it was a gift from a friend. But the moment Eleanor had her finger removed and she was bound to the house I was hooked. The last...three? Four chapters, perhaps, were crazy and made it possible to put down. Based on the Cinderella fairytale, the book follows Eleanor, a young girl who wants nothing more to go to Oxford. ...more
Jeanne
This is an interesting series - Elemental Masters. Rather than following one character each story follows a different character which is in the world of the Elemental Masters and references or crosses characters who have already been met. Great magics - different than any others I have read but still referencing magic which I have met.
Jeremy Preacher
This is definitely a notch above The Gates of Sleep, and even Serpent's Shadow, although it's still a flawed book. The characters are more engaging than usual, and while the villain is generically evil, she gets much less screen time then her passive machinations, which prove to be an excellent foil. The plot hews fairly closely to Cinderella, but making the Prince an injured soldier with PTSD offers rather more depth than the role usually gets.

The biggest problem, as with all of these, is the p
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Maggie
I've always been a sucker for re-imagined fairytales, and throwing WWI into the bargain sealed the deal. I admit, I haven't given fantasy much of a thought since my middle school days, but this first foray into the genre (after a prolonged absence) didn't disappoint me. It was an interesting reworking of a familiar world (though is the world so different that the poet I know as Wilfred Owen goes by Wilfred Owens in this alternate England?) and a familiar story, and I particularly enjoyed the rec ...more
Bethany
This was a strong Mercedes, but I can't give it more than three stars because it didn't stand out for me. If it was a random author off the shelf, I'd probably give it a four, but some of her other works have spoiled me.

Her hard luck characters are nice tear-jerkers, and Eleanore is no exception. Reggie was rounded enough, I suppose, but I didn't really fall in love with him. It was more because I knew they would end up together. I just didn't feel a partnership.

I really did appreciate some of
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Trixie
Of all the Elemental Masters, I re-read the second least. What saves it from last place is the very Grimm tone of the whole story as it is set in the middle of WWI. And you know the original story where Cinderella's sister cuts off her heels so she can fit in the shoe? There's a throwback to that as well. Yikes.

I also like that there's character development from both the "prince" and the "princess" and the creative use of Tarot themes to explain magic.
Debbie
I haven't been reading as much speculative fiction as I once had but Lackey used to be one of my favorite authors. A friend loaned this to me and it took a while to get into because the setting was a little jarring from her other books in this series. It was fascinating to get a bit more of the theory behind the Elemental Magic and the plot was sound. One thing that I didn't like, and which I have a problem with in her books in general, is that the villian is always pure evil with no redeeming q ...more
Mckinley
Quick read. I picked it up because I like many of her book, but this one is not a favorite. Cinderella set in WWI Britain was a fun idea. Yet I found the story a bit all over the place. Needed some more consideration for it to come together more easily.
Melissa
Retelling of Cinderella that follows that storyline pretty closely. I liked the setting during the war, but didn't love the story overall. It was entertaining to read and I don't particularly regret it, but I am not running out to find more.
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Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts & ...more
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