I think I’m just going to have to resign myself to super inconsistent posts, since I haven’t had too much time or energy for reading fiction.
I did get quite excited when I realized that Mercedes Lackey had a new Elemental Master’s novel, Blood Red. I really love this series.
As you might surmise from the cover, this is a twist on the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale. It deviates from the other Elemental Masters novels a little I think, but I really enjoyed it. For one, it’s set in Europe – Germany and Transylvania instead of England. It also introduced supernatural creatures – werewolves and vampires, that have been distinctly missing from other books I’ve read. I had a little more trouble buying in to those depictions to be honest, although it does tie in to the elemental world by explaining at least one of the kinds of werewolf.
Rosamund (the “Little Red Riding Hood” character) is an Earth Master. She was rescued by her adoptive father, a Hunt Master and Earth Magician of the Schwarzwald Foresters, when her original teacher (the “grandmother”) was murdered by a werewolf. Rosamund has now grown up to be a Hunt Master herself, as her Earth powers tend more toward protection than healing.
While visiting with a friend of her adoptive father, Rosa meets a pair of Elemental Magicians from Hungry who have come seeking help. She must set aside her prejudice – as one of these magicians is also a hereditary werewolf. Her mentor insists that the hereditary werewolves are not to be feared – for they are on the path of the protectors, but Rosa is not so sure. As she travels into dangerous territory, can she trust those who are guarding her back?
A few thoughts:
- I liked the different setting. Most of the other books are set in England, with a few elsewhere. This felt like an entirely different flavour, taking place mostly in Europe and Transylvania.
- The book was more violent than others in the series – which I guess is to be expected when it’s about a evil-fighting Hunt Master who is tracking down werewolves. There were lots of fighting, and the werewolves in Transylvania are particularly unsavory characters!
- It’s pretty predictable and clichéd, but since I love that kind of structure I appreciated that part of things.
- Rosamund is pretty kick-ass. It’s nice that she has to address some of her deep-seated prejudices, but I feel she’s just a little bit too… goo to be realistic. Good not in the nice/pious sense, but more in the “I can of course take on any monster that comes my way and with a lot of self-confidence because I’m simply awesome” kind of way. She has a few moments of self-doubt but they didn’t feel congruent with the way she acts for most of the book. Maybe I was less sold on Rosamund because you meet her as a young girl, but then AFTER she’s done all her training and has become this crazy, skilled Hunter. She goes from a young girl to a fearsome predator of evil things, and it’s a harsh transition.
- There is a LOT of description and despite what you’d expect, relatively little action.
I did enjoy it overall, and would probably say a 4/5 (although if you’re a huge fan of other Mercedes Lackey Elemental Masters books, this might be a disappointment).