Review: Mercedes Lackey – Elementary, All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters

Elementary, All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters
Mercedes Lackey
This collection of short stories is a combination of new tales in Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters world, with a weird injection of some authors who have no idea what the Elements should be like.

“Fire-Water” by Samuel Conway brings a fishhawk to a rabbit to stop a small war. I found this entertaining because it was from a different perspective, and it was not what I was expecting from this short story collection at all.

“Fire Song” by Diana L. Paxson takes a young boy out of the city with his family. Fascinating bit of history to be had this one. it was predictable though, of course the son was able to do wonderful things. Masters of the elements do tend to be a bit strange, particularly double masters. I wanted to know more about the future of that child though.

“Sails of the Armada” by Kristen Schwengel forces a Galician sailor into the Spanish Armada. I did know the background for this one. The ending wasn’t quite what was typical for novels, which was actually pretty good. I only wish I knew more about his earlier life.

“The Wild Rogue” by Fiona Patton puts a young water mage into the drunk tank. This one – complete loss. I had no idea what was going on.

“Feathers and Foundations” by Elizabeth A. Vaughan induces an earth mage to seek a rift. This was more like what I would hope from a story! Yes, it had the history element, but it was also well-written and fitting in with the way Lackey writes her stories. I was just waiting for the ‘ah-ha’ moment the whole time. I wish it has been a novel.

“Hearth and Family” by Dayle A. Dermatis solves a problem for a woman without a family. This was just as good as the previous short story. This reminded me of a fairytale for some reason, but its basing in history worked well.

“Secret Friends” by Louisa Swann draws unexpected assistance to a girl who is about to lose her brother. This was perfect for a short story.

“Fire’s Daughter” by Elizabeth Waters musters new friends for Eleanora.  This would work well as a longer story. It was right within the vein of Lackey’s works. I did have a moment thinking she was trans, but she wasn’t.

“Picking Up the Pieces” by Cedric Johnson introduces another victim of Marco. I think this had Pearl and Garnet in it, and ugh, they were just too tidy and annoying.

“The Price of Family” by Jennifer Brozek presents Josie with a problem of ethics. I don’t appear to have written notes about this one…

“Arms of the Sea” by Tanya Huff challenges a crippled water master. I loved it – it highlighted stupid menfolk and the power of healing.

“London Falling” by Ben Ohlander leads a fire mage to his missing brother. This was powerful and disturbing, but I don’t think it was canon within Lackey’s works…

“The King of the River Rats” by Michele Lang involves a fire mage reporter in multiple disappearances of young women. This had the potential to be bigger, but I was personally frustrated by Jane’s minor role. Not to mention I was confused by the ending.

“Air of Deception” by Jody Lynn Nye mixes an apprentice parfumeuse with a spy. This was excellent. I feel sure however that I have previously read this or something very similar.

“Fly or Fall” by Stephanie Shaver compels an air mage with a bitter choice. This was well-written and quirky.

“Bone Dance” by Rosemary Edghill & Rebecca Fox follows an earth master in a desperate hunt. I’m not sure why it was called this. It was very good and I enjoyed the different perspective and empathised with the Captain.

“The Flying Contraption” by Ron Collins guides a young air mage into the workshop of the Wright brothers. Arg! Why was she not taught air magic responsibly? This was an interesting take on the Wright brother legend.

“A Peony Amongst Roses” by Gail Sanders & Michael Z. Williamson relates the trials of a young earth mage whose talent is growing flowers. I felt like I had read this before, but it was enjoyable and crafty all the same. It could have been a good start to a novel.

“Into the Woods” by Mercedes Lackey tells the adventures of a young earth mage in her red riding hood. This was the Mercedes Lackey original. However it didn’t have much substance and ended the way I expected – a fairy tale! Absolutely online with her other stories but nothing new, and certainly nothing exciting. This is just the beginning of Blood Red.

I read this selection of short stories a very long time ago now. While some of them were good, others failed miserably. I waited so long on posting the review because I didn’t have all the story names and authors. Even now, I think I have two of the stories mixed up…

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