Eleanor had expected to go to Oxford, but instead she finds herself as a drudge working for her evil stepmother and step sisters. She’s lived for 2 years with no hope, but when she starts seeing things in fire, she wonders about the existence of magic.
Like others in the Elemental Masters series, this is based on a fairytale – Cinderella. You couldn’t want for a more evil step mother! It’s an interesting rendition of the tale, complete with ball, but differing about the shoes. It means that you know how the novel is going to end up, but that’s not always a bad thing.
This novel has some more of the theory behind elemental magic that is both boring and interesting to read at the same time. The teaching method in this one is by Tarot cards, which in themselves are interesting because they are used by modern day Pagans and so forth. It makes a nice change from the other novels in the series where the student is taught by a real teacher.
Phoenix and Ashes is set during, I believe, World War 2, with the Germans and many pointless deaths. It’s powerful stuff. There isn’t that much focus on the war itself though, mainly the interest is what it does to the survivors of war, and the changing of social strata as a consequence of this.
I really enjoyed rereading this novel, and even though I remembered most of the storyline really well, this was like being enfolded in a warm comforting blanket. Just the right amount of thought provoking imagery, and the right connection with the heroine.