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From a High Tower

(Elemental Masters #10)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,256 ratings  ·  219 reviews
From a High Tower is the newest adventure in Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series.
When a man is caught stealing from a walled garden owned by a strange woman, he bargains away his youngest daughter in return for food for his family. The woman, rumored to be a witch, takes the golden-haired child and locks her away in a high tower. Sixteen years later, Giselle has
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by DAW
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  2,256 ratings  ·  219 reviews

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Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm)
Thanks to Netgalley and DAW for giving me this book to review.

After Freidrich is caught by Annaliese stealing vegetables from her garden to feed his starving children and pregnant wife, she makes a bargain with him. He and his family will be able to eat their fill from her garden, and she will take his unborn child. Giselle grows up in an isolated tower, but with company from the Bruderschaft and her mother, learning about the uses of her magic. After Annaliese dies, and Giselle is left to make
Christine Johnson
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love Mercedes Lackey. I own practically every book she's written in either dead tree or e form. But in this latest addition to the Elemental Masters series, she...rambles is the only word that comes to mind to clearly describes what I felt while reading it.
After establishing a heart-breaking opening with a tragic family, they completely disappear. Gone, poof, with no sense of completion to the departure.
After the near-rape, her guardian,
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Mercedes Lackey is back on track. This Rapunzel is no dreamy girl combing her hair in a tower all day. She's practical. (view spoiler)

Blending German history, other fairy tales and Westerns (what a combination!), "Rapunzel" becomes a real woman. This isn't a Disneyfied Grimm story, nor is it a simple retelling. "Rapunzel" steps out of the confined story and
Kathy Davie
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Eleventh * in the Elemental Masters historical fantasy series for the older middle-grade readers. We're still in Germany, and I am so enjoying this foray out of England *grin*.

* I know it's listed as tenth, but have a peek at the chronological listing of the Elemental Masters books on my website and make up your own mind.

My Take
I know some of you don't like to read books targeted at younger audiences, and I gotta tell ya. I do adore this series. Remember that simply because a story is acceptable
Aug 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-read-2015
The new installment in the Elemental Masters series is a very loose retelling of Rapunzel. In that the only similarity between the original tale and the heroine of this novel is a tendency to hirsutism. There's no villain to speak of, no urgency to the plot, and random creature encounters supply some mild peril at intervals. Unlike the rest of the series, there's no romance, and the majority of the story takes place at a wild west show in Germany. It's a pleasant read, but definitely not one of ...more
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
The re-telling of Rapunzel is a narrative frame that is fully woven in the opening of the novel. This is really a book about an Air mage who uses her gifts to earn a living as a sharpshooter. She eventually joins a Wild West show that is touring Germany. There are two perspectives to take on this character. One is that Giselle is an unethical fraud who is only pretending to be the equal of the real historical sharpshooter Annie Oakley. ( Annie Oakley is mentioned in From a High Tower. She was ...more
Kat  Hooper
May 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook
I'm probably done with this series.

review coming soon at
Lake County Public Library
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
I enjoy this series and author to begin with, but I especially liked the fairy tale twist for this one (based on Rapunzel). And it was great to see the main character from Blood Red again, too.

-- Jo, Merrillville Branch
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
Like the preceding novel, this is set in Germany, which remained a welcome change from the setting of England. Like in Blood Red, the author takes the opportunity to explore elemental magic, giving us, the reader, a better understanding of the system, particularly Air Magic in this case. Although the novel is obviously inspired from Rapunzel, there is also a nod to the goats/troll under the bridge story, as well as Hansel and Gretel.

Overall I enjoyed this novel and the time it took to explore
♆ BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
Having just finished the previous book in this series, I am not surprised to read the latest interpretation of Rapunzel. This one is much more to my liking than the original. It still carries a similar dark theme to it as Giselle is orphaned and penniless. What I liked about this story is how a popular writer in Germany is incorporated into this book. It is amusing and I love what Ms. Lackey did with the Indians and Cowboy theme. I also liked seeing Rosanna in this book as a carryover. This ...more
This is retelling of Rapunzel, deep in the Southern German forests. Through in a touring wild west show and you have an entertaining tell of bravery and magic.

Why I started this book: I've started several books in the past couple of days, not able to focus on anyone of them.

Why I finished this book: This one is a better example of the Elemental Masters series. Maybe it was the change of scenery, country and an introduction to the German's love of the wild west.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I've been a longtime reader of Mercedes Lackey. The (unofficial) first Elemental Masters book, "The Fire Rose" was one of my favorites as a teenager, and I eagerly read each following installment. Around the fifth book, diminishing returns started setting in and there has been a slow decline ever since. Every volume has had the tendency to rush the climax and resolution, but in this book the final battle is literally the next to last chapter. Honestly, I should have never even started this book ...more
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: omar

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar

As the books small description says, From a High Tower, has as the main plot the fairy tale of Rapunzel, but like all of the Elemental Masters stories, this story is more than the one you have seen in the kids movies. The beginning of the book starts more closely to the original tale, as Giselle (our Rapunzel) is attacked by the man that she lets into her tower; he is about to rape her but her mother arrives in time to
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library, 2015
I don't even know where to start. From a High Tower has a fabulous premise. Rapunzel is all grown up and a crack shot, who ends up joining a traveling show. It also features Rosamund from Blood Red. But it didn't seem like the same character at all, which was one issue I had with the book.

There are also two assault scenes (one of which is attempted rape) which I found disturbing.

The biggest issue I had with the book was the depiction of Native Americans (referred to throughout the novel in the
Lisa Williamson
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
From a High Tower by Mercedes Lackey Another of her retold faery tales/elemental masters series, this book was very different than I expected. It starts off with a father looking for food for his heavily pregnant wife and his eight children. In the time period in Germany there were many families in just such a straight. A hard working father just not making enough to feed his family. He finds what he believes is an abandoned home and garden and decides to raid it to feed his family. Of course it ...more
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Like Blood Red (Elemental Masters #10), this book was another break from the old "sweet damsel in need who doesn't know she's magical comes upon the man/men who will save her and teach her about her magic and love while fixing all the problems" formula. Rosa from "Blood Red" also makes an appearance. This heroine also doesn't have a stated romance plot, though potential for one is alluded to at the end, which only increased my enjoyment.

This books is an allusion to Rapunzel, but it subverts most
This story links directly to Blood Red, a prior volume in the series, and does so in an excellent way. Continuing the German stories and their connection to the fantasy series, this volume starts off with a version of Rapunzel, but one with clever and interesting twists. Later digressions into German pulp fiction and another famous fairy tale are done cleverly, and there's even a payoff for the fast-growing hair.
I had never heard of German writer Karl May, but after reading this book, I'm
Heather Brown
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love the Elemental Masters series from Mercedes Lackey, and this latest book is excellent! Giselle was traded as an infant by her father for food and shelter, since he knew that the whole family would likely die if he did not. Taken in by an Earth Magician, Giselle lives in the tower of an abandoned abbey, loved and taught by her adopted mother. When her mother dies suddenly from an illness, Giselle must find a way to make a living of her own and uses her Air magic to win shooting contests. ...more
Frankly, I wasn't expecting to like this installment of the Elemental Masters--at least, not based on the blurb. Once I started reading, I didn't want to put it down. There were so many elements to this story (pun not intended) that hold so many possibilities! That, and meeting an old friend from another of the Schwarzvald-based stories, left me hoping for more set here--or a trip abroad for Giselle and Rosa. I loved the Western element as well as learning about the German stories of the old ...more
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
From a High Tower is the 11th entry in the Elemental Masters series and like the others, it uses a fairy tale as a springboard. Here it is the tale of Rapunzel which inspires the story.

The main part of story involved a Wild West show that Giselle needs to join to earn some money. Her mastery of Air helps her sharpshooting skills (think Annie Oakley) and her knowledge of what Germans expect due to Karl May's novels help the show succeed.

I found Giselle to be a sympathetic character who worried
Jun 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Elemental Magic fans
This uses a prior character as one of the important characters. The main character is an Air Master who was adopted by her mother who was an Earth Master. She got the child from a poor family that was on the point of starving. The story is strongly based on a popular German writer who wrote wild west stories that no American would recognize but were very well known in Germany. Eventually Giselle met up with Rosamund from a prior book. This story was a retelling of Rapunzel with her long hair in ...more
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This Elemental Masters book is an interesting take on the tale of Rapunzel.

Giselle is an Air Elemental Master was magical growing hair... she's also a sharp shooter, and after her adoptive mother dies, she joins a Wild West show traveling around Germany. This is the key for a number of interesting adventures, especially when Rosa from "Blood Red" enters the story line.

Wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this one as much as the others I've read, but it turned out to be just as entertaining and fun.
Beverly K
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Oh, Mercedes Lackey. I used to adore your writing. What happened? Was it me? Did I change too much? Or is it that your plots now meander, your characters have become boilerplate, and there is no real sense of turmoil or danger?

I enjoyed reading some of this, until I realized I'd gone 100 pages without any real conflict. The conflict, as usual for her newer novels, comes within 40 pages or so of the book ending. *sigh* That's some uneven writing there, Ms. Lackey.

Throw in that the tale this is
The Which
Aug 20, 2015 rated it liked it
I always struggle with rating books like this--ones that are formulaic and pat, and you know that no real damage will happen to the main character, yet are so enjoyably escapist. I tend to stick with a 3 rating, but is that a fair rating for a series where I read every new book? I don't know. I'll continue reading and enjoying the series.

Positives: I love the scaled down romance aspect of the most recent two books of the series. Still present and enjoyable but far from the main aspect.

Aug 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: series
Giselle is the rewrite of the classic story of Rapunzel, complete with rampion, an imprisoned young woman, a man who woos her, and evil in the land, all told as part of the ongoing Elemental Masters series.

Overall it was a good read, but tended to go into too much detail over the everyday items, such as folding clothing to make it fit in a traveling caravan. With all that detail, there should have been some spared for the ending, which was well done, but so quickly resolved it felt like a let
Keziah Cannon
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was an interesting take on the Rapunzel tale (along with hints of Hansel & Gretel). I was pleasantly surprised when she brought back a character from a previous book in the series. I think now that it would be fun to read a book by Karl May, since his works were heavily referenced here. In all, a good addition to the Elemental Masters series.

Edit: upping the rating, since I have read this three or four times now and enjoyed it every time.
Oct 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Elemental and fairy tale retellings
Shelves: fantasy, magic, adult
This is a retelling of Rapunzel, with a sympathetic earth master who rescues a baby from a family having trouble feeding all the children.

After her adopted "mother" passes on Giselle dresses as a boy and enters shooting contests to support herself. When that leads to trouble she joins Captain Cody's Wild West show as an American female sharp shooter. Rosa (Red Cloak) also returns in this story.
Lark of The Bookwyrm's Hoard
It's always fun to return to the world of the Elemental Masters, which blends fairy-tale retellings with elemental magic in an alternate late-18th and early 19th-century Europe. On the other hand, From a High Tower is very episodic - more a series of rising and falling actions than a single story arc. (Full review to come)
Maybe 2.5 stars. I'm still deciding.
Ruth Kevghas
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I truly enjoy reading her Elemental Masters series and now have to look forward to the next one!
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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

Other books in the series

Elemental Masters (1 - 10 of 14 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)
  • A Study in Sable (Elemental Masters #11)

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