Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Audiobook Review: Blood Red by Mercedes Lackey

Blood Red

Mercedes Lackey
Narrator: Tamara Marston
Series: Elemental Masters (Book 9)
Publication: Audible Studios (June 3, 2014)
Length: 12 hours and 17 minutes

Description: Rosamund is an Earth Master in the Schwarzwald, the ancient Black Forest of Germany. Since the age of 10, she has lived with her teacher, the Hunt Master and Earth Magician of the Schwarzwald Foresters, a man she calls "Papa". Her adoptive Papa rescued her after her original Earth Master teacher, an old woman who lived alone in a small cottage in the forest, was brutally murdered by werewolves. Rosa herself barely escaped, and this terrifying incident molded the course of her future.

For like her fellow Earth Masters of the Schwarzwald Lodge, Rosa is not a healer. Instead, her talents lead her on the more violent path of protection and defense - "cleansing" the Earth and protecting its gentle fae creatures from those evil beings who seek to do them harm. And so Rosa becomes the first woman Hunt Master and the scourge of evil creatures, with a deadly specialty in werewolves and all shapeshifters.

While visiting with a Fire Master - a friend of her mentor from the Schwarzwald Lodge - Rosa meets a pair of Elemental Magicians from Hungary who have come looking for help. They suspect that there is a dark power responsible for a string of murders happening in the remote countryside of Transylvania, but they have no proof. Rosa agrees to help them, but there is a catch: One of the two men asking for aid is a hereditary werewolf.

Rosa has been taught that there are three kinds of werewolves. There are those, like the one that had murdered her teacher, who transform themselves by use of dark magic, and also those who have been infected by the bite of these magical werewolves - these poor victims have no control over their transformative powers. Yet, there is a third kind: Those who have been born with the ability to transform at will. Some insist that certain of these hereditary werewolves are benign. But Rosa has never encountered a benign werewolf!

Can she trust this Hungarian werewolf? Or is the Hunter destined to become the Hunted?

My Thoughts: This story is Little Red Riding Hood reimagined and set in Eastern Europe and the forests of Germany. 

In the Prologue, young Rosamund has an encounter with a rogue werewolf when she goes to her teacher's house in the world. She uses her untrained magic to call for help and the Hunt Master of the local white lodge comes to her rescue. He recognizes her talents and takes her with him to be raised and trained in his lodge. 

When the story begins, Rosamund is the first female Hunt Master and is traveling to Romania because the locals have called for help to get rid of some werewolves. On her way back to the Schwarzwald, she stops in to visit a friend of her adopted father. This Fire Master is a noble who offers to teach her how to get along in society and also to introduce her to the masters of other lodges who might need her services. 

When the meets two Elemental Magicians who have come from Hungary asking for help, she joins forces with them despite the fact that one is a heriditary werewolf. She has heard that there are benign werewolves, but she's never met one herself until now. Most of what she hunts are werewolves gone rogue.

As the three travel into Hungary in search of the villain who has caused hundreds of deaths over the past forty years, they find a problem much bigger than they had anticipated and need to use all their strengths to defeat this powerful evil being. 

I like the 19th century setting for this story. The descriptions of the scenery and societies were detailed and colorful. I liked the growing friendship between Rosamund and the two Elemental magicians. I liked that this was a coming of age story which allows Rosamund to expand her world and her options. 

I bought this one September 28, 2021. You can buy your copy here.

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