Phoenix and Ashes (Elemental Masters Series #4)

Phoenix and Ashes (Elemental Masters Series #4)

by Mercedes Lackey

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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Mercedes Lackey's magical Elemental Masters series recasts familiar fairy tales in a richly-imagined alternate Victorian world

Eleanor Robinson’s life had shattered when Father volunteered for the Great War, leaving her alone with a woman he had just married. Then the letter came that told of her father’s death in the trenches and though Eleanor thought things couldn’t get any worse, her life took an even more bizarre turn.

Dragged to the hearth by her stepmother Alison, Eleanor was forced to endure a painful and frightening ritual during which the smallest finger of her left hand was severed and buried beneath a hearthstone. For her stepmother was an Elemental Master of Earth who practiced the darker blood-fueled arts. Alison had bound Eleanor to the hearth with a spell that prevented her from leaving home, caused her to fade from people’s memories, and made her into a virtual slave.

Months faded into years for Eleanor, and still the war raged. There were times she felt she was losing her mind—times she seemed to see faces in the hearth fire.

Reginald Fenyx was a pilot. He lived to fly, and whenever he returned home on break from Oxford, the youngsters of the town would turn out to see him lift his aeroplane—a frail ship of canvas and sticks—into the sky and soar through the clouds.

During the war, Reggie had become an acclaimed air ace, for he was an Elemental Master of Air. His Air Elementals had protected him until the fateful day when he had met another of his kind aloft, and nearly died. When he returned home, Reggie was a broken man plagued by shell shock, his Elemental powers vanished.

Eleanor and Reginald were two souls scourged by war and evil magic. Could they find the strength to help one another rise from the ashes of their destruction?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780756402723
Publisher: DAW
Publication date: 10/04/2005
Series: Elemental Masters Series , #4
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 301,867
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Mercedes Lackey is a full-time writer and has published numerous novels and works of short fiction, including the best-selling Heralds of Valdemar series. She is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots. She can be found at or on Twitter at @mercedeslackey.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"With colorful characters, Lackey makes her variation of the Sleeping Beauty story great fun to read."—Booklist

"[Lackey] turns her hand to historical fantasy in this intriguing and compelling re-creation of England in the waning days of its imperial glory."—Library Journal

"Beautiful phrasing and a thorough grounding in the dress, mannerisms and history of the period help move the story along gracefully...fully fleshed out and credible. This is a wonderful example of a new look at an old theme."—Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

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Phoenix and Ashes (Elemental Masters Series #4) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 70 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Full of magic, evil stepmother and all
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the book Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey, and found it to be an intriguing book. It is a fantasy novel about a young woman named Eleanor Robinson and a young war hero, Reginald Fenyx. Eleanor is the character the author develops the most, even though Reginald (Reggie) is a very important character. The author mostly uses actions and dialog to develop the characters, with the occasional internal thought here and there for variety. The setting in this story is extremely significant, because it plays into the plot. It is set during World War I, with the trench warfare and whatnot, and the older airplanes that Reggie flies. Most of the story is set in a little town in England called Broom, where most of the men had been shipped off to war, or had come home completely changed. This sets the mood for the story, which really makes it all the more interesting. I think that the main things the author likes to do are dialog, and suspense and action sequences. I enjoyed the fact that there were hardly any idle chapters there was always something important happening. Also, the chapters would switch between Eleanor to Reggie¿s point of view, which gives the reader a chance to understand what is happening from two different perspectives. I also liked the realism about the war. When one of the characters is walking around the town, the author usually makes a point to describe some point of life that has changed, for better or worse, because of the war. One of my favorite quotes is ¿All the shellshock victims were in this end of the ward, together. Sometimes Reggie thought, cynically, it was so that their screaming in nightmares and shaking fits by day wouldn¿t bother anyone else.¿ The reason I like it is because it introduces the blunt way the author writes her story early on, so you know it¿s not going to be a frilly, avoid-the-bad-parts book. I really liked how thorough the author was in her descriptions of people and places, but what bugged me was the lack of development in Reggie¿s character. How she set it up made it seem like Reggie was going to be a very important character, but then most of the focus was on Eleanor. Not that I didn¿t love her character, but I would¿ve liked to learn more about Reggie, and what happened to him in the war, maybe a little more of his personality. I would really recommend this book to anyone who likes fast-paced fantasies. If you like a lot of politics, this doesn¿t have it, so I wouldn¿t recommend it. It has a lot of magic and a bit of a love story, too, if you like that. Overall, I think it is a really good book, and I¿m looking forward to reading more of Mercedes Lackey¿s books.
harstan More than 1 year ago
While World War I rages in Europe, in Broom, England widower Charles Robinson is a successful merchant raising his daughter Eleanor. One day he returns from a business trip with a surprise for Eleanor; he introduces her new ¿mother¿ his wife Alison and her two daughters. Almost immediate after the nuptials, he signs on for trench warfare and dies in combat.--- Alison, a dark Earth Master, binds Eleanor to the house with an obedience spell. Meanwhile former pilot and Air Master Reggie Fenyx returns home believing he lost his magical prowess when he was tormented by earth elementals. Though depressed the family ball is coming up and he will play the role of good host. Eleanor, who has loved Reggie, begins serendipitously to learn to use her skill as a Fire Master. If Alison finds out what she is doing too soon she knows she is doomed, but perhaps at the ball Reggie will realize she is his life mate and together combining the power of fire and air with love they can defeat earth.--- This is an intriguing retelling of Cinderella that combines history and fantasy to tell an adult fairy tale. Alison is a terrifically sinister malevolence while Eleanor is her perfect unsure opponent and slave. Reggie suffers from battle fatigue that has sapped him of his natural abilities leaving him magically impaired, which makes him an interesting protagonist. Though the story line at times is overwhelmed with historical details that seem unnecessary even if they provide in most cases a World War I era ambience, Mercedes Lackey provides a fine rendition of the classic tale with her latest Elemental Masters novel.--- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a huge Misty Lackey fan since Arrows of the Queen way back in 1980 something. I love her Valdemar series and her Bardic Voices and the Serrated edge series is good as well. But her Elemental Masters leaves something to be desired. The basic premise of the series--rewriting old fairy tales--is loaded with potential. In fact, I loved the Fire Rose, which was the first book in it, and is oddly enough not listed in the title selection. But the other two books in the series--Serpent's Shadow and The Gates of Sleep are poorly edited and her characters and plot are either boring or cliche, with none of the surprises or character definition I've come to expect from this author. I just don't get it. This last book, from the jacket, seemed like a better book than the previous two. It's a retelling of Cinderella, set during World War I in England. Eleanor, a wealthy merchant's daughter who dreams of going to Oxford, is also a latent Fire Master. Her father marries Alison, the wicked stepmother who is a dark Earth Master along with her two selfish arrogant daughters, who also possess a bit of magic. Then Eleanor's father is killed in the war and Alison makes her a slave by using a dark magic rite to bind her to the house and obeidience with her own finger. Meanwhile you meet Reggie Fenyx, a lord whom Eleanor was half in love with, standing in for the prince. Reggie is a pilot and Air Master who has been horribly traumatized by battle, injured, and suffering from Post traumatic stress syndrome. He was shot down, had his co-pilot die, was badly injured and then buried alive in a bunker and tormented by evil earth elementals. he believes he's lost his magic and no one can help him, so they send him home to convalesce. he happens to live right near Eleanor. That was the beginning of the book, and it seemed like a good start. However, the whole focus of the story gets bogged down with too many details about the villainesses and what they're wearing, doing, and eating, mentions of certain spells they've cast (at one point Alison makes a plague strike the Americans to keep them out of the war--was Lackey referring to the Spanish flue epidemic that hit the US around that time and delayed their entry into combat? I don't know and you never find out, it never gets mentioned again)there is about two paragraphs of a guest list for the ball mentioning friends of Reggie's that you never meet or see which is utterly pointless because you don't care about them. There are also several descriptions about how Eleanor learns how to use her powers that are interesting, but yet she never demonstrates her knowledge, not even in the final battle. And there was not enough interaction between her and Reggie. They meet a few times in a meadow, have a stupid fight, and then he invites her to the ball, where she blurts out that she loves him that's it. Reggie, who has been suffering reoccuring bouts of fear is miraculously cured by his godmother, I think, a person who we don't even meet until well into the novel and who frankly we could have done without. I felt as if something were missing--again! It should have been Eleanor, as Reggie's supposed soul mate, that should have helped him discover his powers again and helped him heal from his disability--not some deus ex machina godmother. Why bother giving Eleanor intensive training in how to balance and heal mind, body, and spirit if you're not going to have her make use of it on the one who needs it? I was very disappointed, I felt like I was cheated of what could have been a really wonderful magical love story. Ever After with Drew Barrymore was done much better, in my opinion!
erinmcewen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Retelling of Cinderella story with lots of references to tarot, which is somewhat creepy. Not that creepy is bad.
gerleliz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enjoying the twist on the old fairy tales. Enjoyable series
jjmcgaffey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Quite good. I like the way it's nearly perfectly the Cinderella story, but it actually makes sense, rather than being fairy-tale style where things happen and no one ever questions or thinks about them. Here the 'wicked stepmother' making a servant of Eleanor actually makes sense in context, as does the ball, Eleanor's dress and having to run... lots of things. Also, I really like Eleanor and Reggie, and it's fun to see Maya and hear of Andrew Pike and others. One odd thing - I remembered her studying from the Tarot, and was beginning to wonder if I was remembering the wrong book before it showed up. It doesn't appear until very late in the story, and then fades away relatively quickly for something that made such an impression on my memory of the book. Overall - pretty darn good.
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eleanor Robinson is determined to be one of the first women to go to Oxford. But when her father brings home a new wife and stepsisters, and then volunteers for the war, she finds herself bound to the Arrows, unable to step foot beyond the grounds. But there is comfort in the hearth fire - and as years pass, Eleanor finds herself seeing the salamanders that play there. Could they offer her hope of escape?Reggie Fenyx Air Mastery helped make him a skilled pilot, but when the odds catch up his crash sends him home to Longacre, knee shattered and shellshocked. No longer able to bear the thought of flying, he frequents a local Broom pub with other veterans, evading the bevies of beauties his mother pushes at him. With so much stacked against them, can Reggie and Eleanor manage to find one another and successfully evade the evil plotting of Eleanor's stepmother?Although it's a bit slow to move, one of the better Cinderella adaptations that I've read.Can
Ambrosia4 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of Lackey's Elemental Master series, a set of (currently) 6 books that all take place in the early twentieth century and involve magical people who have the power over one of the elements. She's really fleshed their subculture out well throughout the series and given it a fascinating amount of detail.Each book loosely retells a different fairy tale, this one being Cinderella. Lackey's writing tends to be too wordy at points, but at least I wouldn't call it purple prose (a definite turn off for me). She also tends towards too much exposition, especially when it comes to the structure of her world building. This book has too much on the Tarot and dark magic, etc, which made me antsy to get back to the narrative.All in all, a fun book and a great addition to the series. Recommended for anyone who likes fantasy, fairy tales, and is looking for something lighthearted to read.
RogueBelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An imaginative revision of the Cinderella tale -- I enjoy it because Eleanor here has much more to say about her own destiny than most Cinderella-types do. The Elemental Magic is also fascinating -- Lackey has created a system of magic with the appropriate balance of whimsy and regulations.
silentq on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think this is the strongest of the series, the heroine, based on Cinderella, isn't passive, she works to free herself, and the hero is a shell shocked flying ace. The evil stepmother doesn't quite give off enough of an evil aura, beyond the first shocking scene where she binds her step daughter by cutting off her little finger, probably because she's trying to hide her nature to rise in society. It's definitely a grim view on WWI, and I liked it for that aspect as well.
rocalisa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had been looking forward to this, but in the end I abandoned it about 2/3 of the way through.The writing is overly wordy, and by the time I'd finished I'd moved on from "wordy" to "stodgy" and I just couldn't take any more. The action is minimal and there's a lot of overly detailed description that could have been trimmed into something more readable, but hasn't been.The copy editing is apalling - spelling mistakes, missed words, extra words and totally inappropriate words - and it could have done with some more general editing as well.While I liked the main characters, I didn't feel I ever really got to know them well, and if I didn't feel particularly invested in their fates 2/3 through, I figured I wasn't likely to become so.All in all, a disappointment, as the setting and concept were all good but Lackey failed to pull it all together for me.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Now this was a good read. A retelling of the cinderella story during World War I. Typically for an urban fantasy of this class you have magicians on both sides working for and against the British Cause. There was perhaps a little bit of lecturing about the class changes post WWI but it wasn't the worst. Actually it sparked off ideas in my head about how certain things could work in a world with magic.Reginald Fenyx is an elemental master of Air who was fighting as a pilot before he crashed, ended up in a trench and was attacked by some Earth Elements. This trauma had him subsume his talent. The following nightmares and injury have him return to the family home to recuperate. Meanwhile Eleanor Robinson is dealing with her evil stepmother, who has magically chained her to her house, having eliminated her father by encouraging him (with a magical push) to enlist.Yes the story drags a bit occasionally and during Eleanor's magical training you would actually need to know a little bit about the Kaballa and the Tarot and there are moments when you want a little more information and things are resolved a bit too quickly (what's new with Mercedes Lackey?) but I enjoyed it a lot and look forward to the next in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just loved that it stuck with the Cinderella story line and how it went from Elnore to Reggie to her stepmother and sometimes Sarah this is a great book and I recommend it for people who like fantasy's.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If anyone remembers me im backk! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The wounded kit walked in with a small gash on its chest, and .mewls. he bumps into fowpower an falls, K.Oed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tessa11111 More than 1 year ago
All of Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Magic series are educational...on a subliminal level.  Surely, she is using Grimm as a template, but it is well worth the information she shares.  She has done her homework, and given much more within the covers of a tale, then you'd ever get in most "wiccan" tombs.  It's delightful to roam through each book and find new items to think about.  Don't miss this series.
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Love it&hearts
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MissKittyLL More than 1 year ago
Who doesn't love a Cinderella story? This version is set in WW I England. It has a noble prince, actually a wealthy young lord, who is a pilot recovering from shell shock. Cinderella is magically bound to be her step-mother's servant, and though there is a fairy godmother type character, Ella does most of her own rescuing. The wicked step-mother is deliciously vile and her daughters are Edwardian era mean girls. Woven throughout the story is Lackey's world of elemental magic beneath the surface of high society England. If you enjoyed PBS's recent series "Downton Abbey" and like good fantasy literature, you'll love "Phoenix and Ashes". Although it's part of tbe Elemental Masters series, you don't need to have read the other stories (but you really should they are all excellent) to read "Phoenix and Ashes".