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(Elemental Masters #8)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  3,239 ratings  ·  313 reviews
The new novel in Mercedes Lackey’s bestselling series of an alternative Edwardian Britain, where magic is real—and Elemental Masters are in control.

Lionel Hawkins is a magician whose act is only partially sleight of hand. The rest is real magic. He’s an Elemental Magician with the power to persuade the Elementals of Air to help him create amazing illusions. It doesn't take
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by DAW
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Kristin Taggart
I don't use star ratings, so please read my review!

(Description nicked from B&

“Lionel Hawkins is a magician whose act is only partially sleight of hand. The rest is real magic. He’s an Elemental Magician with the power to persuade the Elementals of Air to help him create amazing illusions. It doesn’t take long before his assistant, acrobat Katie Langford, notices that he’s no ordinary magician—and for Lionel to discover that she’s no ordinary acrobat, but rather an untrained and unawakene
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
I have been more and more disappointed in Mercedes Lackey's books over the last several years. Continuity errors from book to book and within books. Formulaic writing and the same character types used over and over. Cameos and crossovers that don't entirely make sense. An annoying tendency to stretch a thin plot out unnecessarily and pacing issues. I get them from the library now because I don't want to spend on them.

Steadfast has a lot of problems, including some of the ones listed above. (view
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
You don't expect much from an Elemental Masters book. Pretty girl, stalwart man, a little magical hijinks, maybe a bit of moralistic philosophizing, and a big climactic battle.

This had all those elements and yet... it felt dialed in. This series is somewhat fluffier that popcorn but it felt lightweight even by those standards.

The bad guy was an abusive husband of Iago-esque proportions. He was evil and cunning and brutal without any depth at all. Not that he should be sympathetic, mind you --
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Another sterling example of why Mercedes Lackey is one of my all-time favorite authors. She can take you to new worlds and new times and you feel as if you are there. I am character driven. If I can relate to the characters in anyway the story is that much better. Mercedes Lackey does great characters.
Untrained and unawakened Fire Magician Kate is on the run from her abusive husband. In Edwardian Britain the law is on his side. She is his to do with as he wishes. Dogs and horses have more rights
Amy Bradley
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
content warning: spousal abuse, financial abuse, adultery,
Katie is a young girl who has lived with circuses most of her life. After the death of her parents, the boss pressures her to marry quickly. She weds the strongman, later to rue the matrimony when he turns out to be an abusive bastard.

She runs away, first joining a group of Travelers and then on to Brighton, for she knows circus folk are unlikely to go where there are already so many other entertainments for the masses.

Lionel is a stage m
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Why do I keep reading these? I'm starting to think that Lackey's Elemental Masters series is kind of like Twinkies: a taste from your childhood that you get bouts of nostalgia for, that are kind of addictively enjoyable for the first third, but by the time you're finished, you realize they really aren't as good as you remembered and you feel dissatisfied and vaguely annoyed with yourself for doing this whole thing again.

Things that were worthwhile: there's something about the way Lackey sets up
Text Addict
Ms. Lackey's agent and editor need to have a good long talk with her again.

While better-plotted than Home from the Sea (also reviewed by me here on Goodreads), this book has an even worse case of explainitis than that one - possibly the worst case of any of her books so far.

But what, you say, is "explainitis"? I'm so glad you asked.

Explainitis is an author's disease, characterized by excessive devotion of word-count to subjects the author feels are important to communicate to the reader. It is
Jun 02, 2013 rated it liked it
A good but not great addition to the series. I enjoyed the story and the background, but there were a couple of plot points introduced and then dropped and the ending felt very rushed and definitely deus ex machina.
Olga Godim
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
This is a really weak novel. The best one word to describe it is almost.
The writing is dismal: too much telling, explanations, and preaching; not nearly enough showing. It was an effort to finish this book.
The story is a standard Lackey’s coming-of-age tale, lightly spruced with magic, but unfortunately, nothing of consequence happens in it. A young circus dancer Katie is on the run from her abusive husband. Her fear of him provides this story with its sole almost conflict.
Katie arrives in Bri
Jun 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
So this is pretty much your average Mercedes Lackey novel. The setting is very close to that of Reserved for the Cat, both in location and time (the Russian ballet craze mentioned in this book probably means this takes place only slightly later.) In keeping with recent books in the Elemental Masters series, the main villain is an abusive, obsessive man (and the society that gives him power to do bad things). The heroine, Katie, must overcome her past and find a way to start a new life for hersel ...more
Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Quick, light, non-memorable read.

The main character, Katie, is a dancer and acrobat who ran away from her life with the circus after her parents died and she was married to an abusive husband. (The book starts after she runs away, so that isn't a spoiler.) After getting a job as a stage magician's assistant in a music hall act, she learns that magic can be real as well as illusion, and that she has magical powers.

I enjoyed the descriptions of the music hall society and of the dancing, but though
♆ BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
Catching back up with this series, this one is a nice diversion to a sea side resort. Covers the topics of domestic violence, men who don't condone it and women who will learn to fight back. This is a magical tale complete with a woman growing into her own. Good fun read.
Kate Langford has been having a run of truly awful luck. First she loses both of her parents when their caravan mysteriously catches on fire. Then, while in shock over her parents loss, she is manipulated into marrying one of her fellow circus performers - Dick, the strongman - who is a brute and a drunkard.

Her luck takes a turn for the better, however, when she gathers the courage to escape and stumbles across a group of Travellers who take her in and support her while she recovers and plans h
Kathy Davie
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, fantasy, romance
Ninth in the Elemental Masters fantasy series and set in Brighton, England after King Edward VII's coronation in August 1902.

My Take
This was a switch! Up to this point, Lackey has been writing of elemental masters who are more upper class. This time around, it's a despised subclass of the lower classes: a magician, assistants, dancers, and a doorman!

The underlying conflict in this story is the law of the land that insists a woman is the property of her husband and he can do whatever he likes t
Aspen Junge
Aug 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Mercedes Lackey has found a formula for her Elemental Masters series that works-- a naif discovers her/his magical powers and survives the personal Big Bad in his/her life, with a touch of feminism and social commentary added. In this example, she has avoided the massive (and repetitive) this-is-what-magic-is-and-how-it's-structured infodump that is a weakness in some other novels in the series.

While the earliest books in the series (The Fire Mage, Phoenix and Ashes) were fairly transparent rete
Jun 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, 2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

Considering this is the same author who re-wrote Swan Lake to give the classic tragedy a happy ending, it’s no surprise that Hans Christen Anderson’s heart breaking tale of the Steadfast Tin Soldier ends quite happily after Mercedes Lackey has gotten through with it.

It was an entertaining read – a literal beach read in my case – and I read it straight through rather than skimming or skipping anything, but I can’t recommend it for being anything more than the literary equivalent of a summer popc
Jun 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Lackey fans
Shelves: adult, magic, fantasy, abuse, war
This was a bit graphic and heavy handed for my taste, in terms of abuse and the horrors of war.

I did like Jack - the fact that he was a good man, haunted by his experience of war "He hadn't realized just what a horror this so-called "war" was when he'd joined the Army. Hadn't realized he'd be told to make war on women and children. Hadn't known he was going to war for the sake of a few greedy men, and diamonds, and gold... Hadn't realized that the leaders back home hadn't given a pin about the l
Aug 08, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pleasant but unremarkable installment in the Elemental Masters series.

Like Reserved for the Cat, it involves a dancer-type at a music hall in a seaside resort. I'm inclined to suspect the author did some research for the earlier book, and liked it enough to reuse it.

I was a bit disappointed that the circumstances of the heroine's parents' death were not actually a plot point; they were presented in such a way that they could have been. And the ending was rather rushed and a bit deus ex machina
Nov 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I am skipping around in Misty's series' as usual. Sometimes I can't do that and sometimes I am like "whatever". I read this book before Elemental Magic: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters because I was feeling this story line more. After this book I'll probably read Elemental Magic anthology. I don't advice this style of reading unless you read a lot and can follow storylines every which way. =0p
Feb 16, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-hated
I read Lackey for happy sparkly not-too-intense fun, some shiny magic, some nods to feminism. A generally upbeat atmosphere and some occasionally thought provoking bits. I'm not looking for epic literary works.

I'm also not looking for the tripe I found in Steadfast.

I'm half-way convinced this book has been written by a ghost writer. It nonsensical and utterly inconsistent with everything else she's ever produced. It certainly doesn't fit in with with the rest of the Elemental series.

Plot: The pr
Jul 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one that wants to be triggered by abuse, suicidal thoughts, rape or the like.
Recommended to Indigo by: My mom who hadn't read it. I'll warn her away from reading it now.
DNF at page 330. And for those who need it THIS BOOK SHOULD COME WITH M*THERF*CKING TRIGGER WARNINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll put it down here when it should be put in the book

TW: Spousal abuse
TW: Physical abuse
TW: Emotional abuse
TW: Mental abuse
TW: Suicidal thoughts
TW: RAPE (many times)
TW: Painful and Unrealistic Caricature of an Abusive Husband for a Villain
(To me this is allowed to be put as a trigger warning because we already know from reading the back of the book that she is runnin
It has been quite a while since I read this series. Each book focuses on a different character in the world though so I was able to just jump right back in and start enjoying the world again. The original books in the series focused on Disney princess type characters like Cinderella and Snow White but I am not sure if this one followed that formula because if this story is based on a well-known fairy tale, I certainly can't place it.

For the most part I enjoyed the book. It focused on Katie, a f
Judy Hall
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
While overwhelmed by grief over the loss of her parents, Katie was convinced to marry the strong man of the circus where she worked. Her marriage was a nightmare and eventually she fled. Fate led her to magician Lionel Hawkins, who took her on as his assistant. Lionel discovered that Katie was an untrained Fired Mage (and she didn't even know it) and she clearly needed his help.

This book reminded me what a class snob I can be. Katie is uneducated and ignorant of the world. Her responses are very
Oh how I love Lackey. Are her plots super original, even when she’s NOT adapting classic fairy tales? No, but who on earth cares when she writes such interesting and engaging characters? This one was no exception and I got sucked right into the world of stage performers in Brighton. This gets a full extra star for having the “villain” get a comeuppance that had me grinning like a full on psychopath. Let’s just say it’s REALLY satisfying to have someone awful get what they deserve. Also bonus poi ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Elemental Masters #8 in the series, based on fairytale: One Tin Soldier

A young woman flees her circus life and her abusive husband to stay with Travelers, a gypsy-like group that her mother, in turn, abandoned to marry Katie's father. This gives her some time to recover and decide to find a job in Brighton where the music halls and theaters mean the circus would have no reason to visit. With phenomenal luck, she not only finds a job that she can use her dancing and acrobatic skills but manages t
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: omar

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar

I liked this story because it showed the struggles of a wife, a veteran soldier, a magician, and the perfect venue to meet. I liked that Katie and Jack take the experiences they went through to become stronger; they get their life back, keep moving forward getting better, and in the end find someone special.

A curious aspect was the abusive husband’s name, Dick (it could have been a pun,) the name is a short form for Richa
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book is...OK. If you liked Mercedes Lackey's other elemental masters novels, this one's a pleasant but unbrilliant addition to the series. If you haven't read any of the elemental masters books but like fairy-tale retellings/historic urban fantasy, then I recommend trying one of the rather betters ones in the series such as Phoenix and Ashesor The Fire Rose.

Steadfast suffers from two main problems: glacial pacing (there doesn't seem to be any plot at all until over halfway through the book)
Mar 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've read through some of the reviews and while I agree that there are editing problems, unresolved plots and similar characters to other books, I just really enjoyed my time reading this book, like I do with most of the Mercedes Lackey books.

Even if she's phoning it in, I feel her character development is superior to many writers. The best thing I like about her books is that you get to really feel and care about the characters. Yes, some of the girls are a similar type but if its the type of
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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 & M ...more

Other books in the series

Elemental Masters (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • The Serpent's Shadow (Elemental Masters, #1)
  • The Gates of Sleep (Elemental Masters, #2)
  • Phoenix and Ashes (Elemental Masters, #3)
  • The Wizard of London (Elemental Masters, #4)
  • Reserved for the Cat (Elemental Masters, #5)
  • Unnatural Issue (Elemental Masters, #6)
  • Home from the Sea (Elemental Masters, #7)
  • Blood Red (Elemental Masters, #9)
  • From a High Tower (Elemental Masters, #10)
  • A Study in Sable (Elemental Masters #11)

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