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The Fire Rose

(Elemental Masters #0)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  10,014 ratings  ·  477 reviews
Beauty Meets Beast in San Francisco

Accepting employment as a governess after hard times hit her family, medieval scholar Rosalind Hawkins is surprised when she learns that her mysterious employer has no children, no wife, and she is not to meet with him face to face. Instead, her duties are to read to him, through a speaking tube, from ancient manuscripts in obscure, nearl
Paperback, 433 pages
Published November 1st 1996 by Baen (first published January 1st 1995)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  10,014 ratings  ·  477 reviews

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May 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This adaptation of Beauty and the Beast cuts out the merchant father and sisters mourning their sudden impoverishment. Instead of a formerly-wealthy beauty, our heroine is the recently-orphaned daughter of a professor. Highly educated herself, but lacking family or funds, she perforce accepts a position as a governess in far-away California. But it turns out there are no children, only a Beast who needs someone to translate some dead languages...

This was a fun book. It would be better if Lackey
Hadn't read Lackey before, but she's prolific, and some reviews are very positive, so I was looking forward to her take on Beauty and the Beast in historic San Francisco. What a disappointment! For those who want romance, there is not so much as a kiss despite the HEA wedding -- no great loss, since I dislike the hero, Jason Cameron.

I had more respect for the heroine, Rosalind (Rose) Hawkins. But not much. Blame it on Lackey's introduction of this young bespectacled historian.

Some spoilers ahe
Jul 12, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: the bangles
Recommended to Mariel by: an untrustworthy (it is clear to me now) amazon reviewer
You know the old cliche of something being so bad it is good? Some cliches and stereotypes got started in the first place for a good reason. They say that to indicate the bad stuff you enjoy that gives you indigestion afterwards. Well, The Fire Rose is almost so bad it's good and then so bad it's back to being plain old bad again. Throwing up your hands in frustrated disgust bad. (I feel like those chicks from the yoghurt ads. "Good... Unbutton your pants and cut up your credit cards GOOD!") It' ...more
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was wonderfully surprised by this book. I thought it might a retailing of the Beauty and the Beast story, but I was very surprised by the ending.
It is the story of Rose Hawkins and Jason Cameron. Jason had invoked, through pride, a powerful spell that transformed him into part wolf. Rose is hired to help him translate ancient text, for he is looking to reverse his mistake.
I loved the fire salamanders character's. Also the Chinese mages.
Rose character is a strong intelligent woman, in a time
Apr 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own
The Fire Rose, by Mercedes Lackey

Do NOT judge this book by its cover!

"The Fire Rose" is a gem, a masterful retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story.

The Beauty is Rose Hawkins, a booksmart Chicago native working toward a doctorate at university. The Beast is Jason Cameron, a San Francisco rail baron, and a man trapped by hubris in the body of a wolf.

Left penniless when her father dies, Rose has few options for survival. She could work as a governess or a teacher, but pursuing her cherished d
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
She might be stepping off into the unknown, but it was not with a sense of adventure.

No shit.

And yes, that's all I'm gonna say, because The Fire Rose was so utterly meh that I have nothing to add.
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It's a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, set in San Francisco just prior to the Great Earthquake of 1906. As always, her characters are so real that I felt like they were friends immediately: smiling with them, nodding when they talked. . . . You just get drawn right into this time and these people. ...more
May 02, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Should I even get into the one dimensional Paul du Mond? The entire book, I was waiting for him to tie Rosalind to Cameron's railroad tracks, and then twist his mustache while laughing mockingly: "MWAH-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!" It's the only cliche the author missed including.

I loved Mercedes Lackey in college but sometime in my 30s I became tired of her simplistic characters, and especially of the chip she has on her shoulder regarding organized religion. If I had to read one more time that non-orthodox
Jun 12, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff, fantasy, fairytales
I was excited as hell when I saw that Lackey had done a fairy tale retelling, as I tend to like her work, and I love fairy tale retellings.

However, I found this book rather a disappointment. Robin McKinley is 100 times more talented at the retelling, and honestly, I don't think Lackey put her best effort into this.

A decent read, but not really worth the effort.
LG (A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions)
This book is set in the early 20th century. Rose Hawkins is a young scholar in Chicago who finds herself having to make some tough decisions after her father dies and creditors take nearly everything she has left. With no other options left to her, she accepts a position as a governess for the children of Jason Cameron, a wealthy rail baron in San Francisco. When she arrives at her new home and workplace, she discovers that Cameron wasn't entirely truthful. While he doesn't actually have childre ...more
Jun 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
I did not enjoy this book. The author took a beautiful fairy tale and tried to make it "grown-up"... which defeats the whole purpose. It was good to read, but I will never read it again. I read it in response to claims that is was "better than Beauty" by Robin Mckinley, which is SOOOO GOOOD!!! Well, I didn't like it. 3/4 of the way through it I was just reading to finish it, not because I was enthralled or wanted to know what happened. My biggest... dislikes were: 1) the beast never changed. I k ...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
This was an entertaining read although I did feel things did drag on a bit on the second half of the book, with nothing much happening.
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
2020 bk 239. The pre-story to the Elementals. An excellent take off on the Beauty and The Beast and as an introduction to the elementals stories. The writing was clear, no muddy details, a delight to read.
3.5 stars

This Beauty and the Beast retelling reminds me of Jane Eyre, in a way. Rose, the heroine, is like Jane Eyre, is so determine to have the same position with Jason Cameron, the hero, even when he is her employer. She's highly educated, smart and witty and a bookworm too. I cannot help not to love her. Jason is also easy to love, though I have to admit that I don't like the way he’s keeping an eye on her. It isn't a good thing to do, if you ask me.

These lovable main characters make me enjo
Oct 24, 2015 rated it liked it
This book felt rather like it was written by a teenaged girl as Beauty and the Beast fanfiction without an editor. The villain was totally one dimensional and stupid. There were glaring gaps in continuity and so many plots that were started but not properly followed up upon. The worst example was a Chinese herbalist who gives Rose four packets of four different colors and then she uses the wrong colored packet in the next scene and the other three packets are never mentioned again.

But despite al
Mar 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
So each time I reread this book, I think I like it a little less. For one thing, random quotation marks are everywhere and random quotation marks drive me INSANE. Rose was too smart to be a "proper" "lady" and the "good" "Christians" objected to her "modern" ideas. Arg! Death to random quotation marks! For another thing, ML has certain canned rants about religion and the oppression of women that get old, especially because they're not particularly sophisticated canned rants. I've started skippin ...more
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This book in the The Elemental Masters series is often overlooked as it is published by Baen and not by DAW as the rest is and I think that's a shame as I think this one is the best!

Now I must confess that Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairytales so that might be why I love this book as it uses that fairytale as a basis for this story.

The story is set in 1905 and Lackey sure did her research to create a believable setting and her characters are all well thought out and vary from li
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
While not the best version of Beauty and the Beast that I ever read, this book is a good read in its own right. This book is technically part of the Elemental Masters series, even if it's not actually stated as so. Rose is a delightful character, a rare woman in Victorian society who wants more but is constrained to the rules set for her gender.

Her interaction with the Beast was appropriate given the circumstances, and this book was overall a good read with the action and dialogue. Please don't
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Was a good read, but last chapter felt like a letdown after all the buildup. Ended with a fizzle rather than a bang.

Also, I don't know what the blurb writer was smoking, but "Jason's enemy offers to restore Rosalind's family fortune if she will betray Jason" was not in the book.
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
I had some issues with how this book was constructed, but Lackey's writing is good enough that I still enjoyed it anyway. Considering this is a precursor to the real series, I'm definitely interested in reading more. ...more
One of the reasons I love this book - the core story is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a light read that drags a bit around the middle and doesn't finish as strongly as it could have, which was a little disappointing.

The Fire Rose is a loose retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, set in Victorian San Francisco. It is part of Lackey's long running Elemental Masters series but can be read as a standalone. Indeed, I'm not sure why this novel is classified so oddly; it seems to be the 1st in the Elemental Masters series, but when it's listed with that series, it's u
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Based off the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast, this is the first of Lackey's series of the Elemental Masters. It is even said to be #0 for those that follow it.

But it is still definitely part of that series. Upon her father's death and financial ruin, Rose Hawkins must leave Chicago so she takes a job as a governess for two children in ancient languages - namely Greek and Latin - and travels to turn-of-the-20th-century San Francisco to the home of railroad baron, Jason Cameron. Only it's a li
I've always thought that if I had to relive a fairy-tale, I'd like it to be Beauty and the Beast. I love books, so the big library appeals to me, and I'm pretty good at solitude, so that part wouldn't freak me out too much. Plus, who wants to do dishes and laundry for seven dudes? Or sleep so long everyone you know is dead? And I do love swimming, so having a tail would be cool, but I'm less into the part where I lose my voice and walk on knives.

Anyway, I'm not much for straight up romance, but
A retelling of Beauty and the Beast, the Fire Rose was the first one I read, and remains my favorite of the series, despite being only a loose prequel to the rest of the Elemental Masters. For one thing, magic works slightly differently, although it's pretty clearly the same world, and some worldbuilding blocks, like Firemasters being unable to be in the same city as one another and the Council of Firemasters, are ignored or outright contradicted in future books. However, the characters are beli ...more
Sarah Baker
I tried to give this one a go, I really did. But I just could not get into the story. And while I know that we're supposed to find duMond repulsive, I really didn't need to know what he did with his free time. So I'm giving up at 34.18%. Maybe I bailed too early, but I've got other books to read. ...more
Darrell Hoberer
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books. Loved it on audio.
Sasha Russell
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was awesome. Not perfect, but the story really drew me in. It wasn't too romance novel-ish and it was set in a semi-realistic setting. ...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 & 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)
  • Steadfast (Elemental Masters #8)
  • Blood Red (Elemental Masters, #9)
  • From a High Tower (Elemental Masters, #10)

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“Mister Cameron - I have read the unexpurgated Ovid, the love poems of Sappho, the Decameron in the original, and a great many texts in Greek and Latin histories that were not though fit for proper gentlemen to read, much less proper ladies. I know in precise detail what Caligula did to, and with, his sisters, and I can quote it to you in Latin or in my own translation if you wish. I am interested in historical truth, and truth in history is often unpleasant and distasteful to those of fine sensibility. I frankly doubt that you will produce anything to shock me. ” 59 likes
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