Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Book & Audio Review: The Wizard of London by Mercedes Lackey

The Wizard of London

Mercedes Lackey
Narrator: Michelle Ford
Series: Elemental Masters Book 4
Publication: Audible Studios (October 16, 2009); DAW Hardcover (October 4, 2005)
Length: 11 hours and 40 minutes; 388 p.

Description: The fourth novel in Mercedes Lackey's magical Elemental Masters series reimagines the fairy tale The Snow Queen in a richly-detailed alternate Victorian England

The letter that introduced twelve-year-old Sarah Jane Lyon-White to Isabelle Harton, who ran the Harton School in central London, seemed quite simple and straightforward. But it was what was not written in the letter that resonated to Isabelle’s own finely tuned “extra” senses: “Sarah has gifts we cannot train,” the letter whispered to her, “nor can anyone we know. Those we trust tell us that you can….

And it was true, for the Harton School was far from ordinary. It was Isabelle’s job to train children who possessed the odd types of magic that could not be trained by London’s powerful Elemental Masters: clairvoyants, telepaths, those with the ability to sense hidden danger, the vision to see into the past, and even that rarest of all talents: the ability to see and communicate with the dead.

But Isabelle was uneasy, for though she knew that Sarah Jane had a touch of telepathy, there seemed to be something else about the girl—something that had not yet manifested.

And Isabelle was right to be worried, for as soon as Sarah’s full talents became evident, there was an attempt made on her life. For Sarah was that rarest of magicians: a true medium, and for some reason, a powerful Elemental Master wanted her dead.

Isabelle knew that to protect her ward she would have to seek help from the Elemental Masters of the city. That meant she would also see Lord David Alderscroft, the man she had once loved, but who had inexplicably chilled toward her and broken her heart long ago—for he was the leader of the city’s Elemental Masters, the man who was now called the Wizard of London.

My Thoughts: This episode in the Elemental Masters series moves away from the Elemental Masters themselves to another group of people who have various psychic powers. Isabelle Harton was a vicar's daughter raised around those of a higher social class than her own. When her upper class beau - David Alderscroft - dropped her with no warning, she travelled to India where she learned about her own unique powers, married a man with similar powers, gathered friends, and returned to London to open a school for ex-patriot children who have Talents and powers.

Sarah Lyon-White was nine when she came to the Harton School from Africa. Her parents, both Earth Masters, know they can't train Sarah in her different gifts. Sarah looks to be growing into a true medium. Sarah does have a guardian and protector in her African Gray parrot whom she names Gray.

Nan Killian is a street kid who comes to the door of the Harton School for the daily handouts. She has a way of knowing when someone presents a danger to her. When she is almost snatched by men her gin-soaked mother has sold her to, Nan and Sarah run and are rescued by some of Isobel Harton's friends who are guards at the school. Nan is taken in at the school and becomes Sarah's new best friend. Nan also wants a bird like Sarah has, and a trip to the Tower of London finds her bringing home one of the Queen's ravens who becomes her friend and guardian Neville.

Unmasking a fake medium brings the children to the attention of an Elemental Master who has gone to the dark side. A trip to a house inhabited by an ancient evil spirit is arranged by that Master, but intervention by the Hartons and their friends, and an early onset of Nan's Aspect, manages to save them from disaster.

The disaster does manage to result in the transfer of the school to a country home for the summer where Isabelle meets David again and finds him much changed. He has fallen under the influence of the dark master and it will take everyone's efforts to free him from that influence and save him. Isabelle isn't certain that she can forgive him for what he did to her as a girl, and isn't sure she wants to save him now. But the girls, especially Sarah, sees some good in him and knows that he must be saved if the future is not to turn very, very bad.

The story is lushly told and very vivid. The characters, including the Puck, add depth and richness to the tale. The setting in a pre-World War I England, but one infused with magic, is well-imagined and drawn. 

Fans of fantasy and alternate history and stories with fairy tale influences will really enjoy this book and this series. 

Favorite Quote:
Many of these occasions involved ice creams, a treat Nan had never before encountered, which left her wondering what possible reward could be in heaven if Earth as able to provide ice creams.
I bought and read the hardcover in 2005. I bought the Kindle and Audiobook for a reread in September. You can buy your copy here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity.

Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!