Literature and War Readalong October 31 2014: Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey

Phoenix and Ashes

Admittedly, this was a bit of an experimental choice for the Literature and War Readalong, but since this year is mostly dedicated to WWI, I thought some diversity would be nice. So why not read a fantasy novel dealing with the aftermath of the war?

Mercedes Lackey is one of the most prolific fantasy writers and has a huge following. Phoenix and Ashes is part of the Elemental Masters series. The books in the series are all fairy tale retellings, set in the early 1900s. Phoenix and Ashes is based on Cinderella. There are ten volumes in the series so far. If you’d like to find out more about Mercedes Lackey— here’s the link to her website.

Here are the first sentences

Her eyes were so sore and swollen from weeping that she thought she should have no tears left at all. She was so tired that she couldn’t keep her mind focused on anything; it flitted from one thought to another, no matter how she tried to concentrate.

One kept recurring, in a  never-ending refrain of lament. What am I doing here? I should be at Oxford.

Eleanor Robinson rested her aching head against the cold, wet glass of the tiny window in the twilight gloom of her attic bedroom. With an effort, she closed her sore, tired eyes, as her shoulders hunched inside an old woollen shawl. The bleak December weather had turned rotten and rainy, utterly un-Christmas-like. Not that she cared about Christmas.

And some details and the blurb for those who want to join

Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey (US 2004) WWI, Fantasy, 468 pages

In this dark and atmospheric rendition of the Cinderella fairy tale, an intelligent young Englishwoman is made into a virtual slave by her evil stepmother. Her only hope of rescue comes in the shape of a scarred World War I pilot of noble blood, whose own powers over the elements are about to be needed more than ever.

“A dark tale full of the pain and devastation of war…and a couple of wounded protagonists worth routing for.”



The discussion starts on Friday, 31 October 2014.

Further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2014, including all the book blurbs, can be found here.

24 thoughts on “Literature and War Readalong October 31 2014: Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey

  1. This looks very good. A truly out – of – the – box choice for Literature and War.

    I really like speculative fiction. If I were not so immersed in other projects I would join you.

    I really look forward to your commentary on this one.

  2. This sounds so wonderful, Caroline! Handsome pilot, beautiful heroine trapped in her evil stepmother’s home – how can one resist it 🙂 Happy reading! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it. I don’t know whether I can get it soon, but I will definitely add it to my ‘TBR’ list.

    • I have read so many positive things about Mercedes Lackey that it’s about time to read her. Plus the description sounded so good and fitting.
      Of course it would be lovely if you could join. It’s a longish book though, so I understand.

  3. I echo Vishy’s sentiment; I don’t know how soon I will be able to find the book, and generally like to read series in order, but this sounds too good to resist. Thanks for your review, Caroline.

    • It would be so great if you would join. I had the impression that they are all standalone books. IT’s more the theme that links them – fairy tale retellings – not so much the characters.
      The good thing – if we like it – there’s more where that came from. 🙂

      • There’s only one bad thing about your site, Caroline, and it’s that you make me long to do nothing else but read all the time, without cease! Where are my servants and functionaries when I need them, so that I can sit all day in my favorite chair and peruse all the great things you seem to read and cover without effort? Seriously, you are one of the most adept and well-read people I’ve ever come across as well as a specialist in your chosen areas. I’ll look for Mercedes Lackey on my library online sites and see if they have anything by her. I would like to be able to join your discussion if I can get a book of hers read.

        • You are too kind. Thank you, Victoria. Your comment cheered me up.
          You’re a geat reader yourself and always discover wonederful books.
          I hope you will be able to join the discussion. I have never seen a review of this book so far. I’m very curious to discover her writing.

          • Hi again. I found about 20 or so novels of a fantasy nature, mostly fairy tale notions, by Mercedes Lackey on one of my library sites, but not “Phoenix and Ashes.” I guess I’ll have to read some of the others while I’m waiting for them to improve their catalog. But one was called “Elemental Masters” as its title, so I suppose I’ll start with that one. Prolific is right! There are so many that they required a second page to show all the covers!

            • She has written so many books, I can hardly belive it. Elemental Masters is the name of the series. Maybe it is book I? Who knows. It could even be Phoenix and Ashes. I typed Elemental Masters into the amazon search and Phoenix and Ashes came up first. I’m curious to see which one you’ll get. In any case – I hope it’s good.

  4. Well, I have the book…but at the rate I am reading these days I will likely be reading your thoughts on it well before I form my own opinions! I am still liking the Young book however…..

Thanks for commenting, I love to hear your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.