3 out of 5
This is the seventh novel in Lackey’s Elemental Masters series. What I love about this series is you don’t have to read it in order. Each novel is a story within itself. Various characters are shared throughout the series but you learn enough about each within each novel to understand the story. Each book delves into a different folk tale and sets them in Great Britain during the late 1800’s. This allows for two themes to emerge. First the effect of the Industrial Age on magic and it’s creatures. Second the treatment of women during this time period. This novel is a good example of both. The main character, Mari, is a good Welch daughter. Her father is a fisherman with uncanny luck. On her 18th birthday she learns the secret of that luck, held by her family since the time before King Arthur. It involves the Selch, the Welch version of Selki, and the little water creatures that only Mari can see. The Elemental Masters send two psychic’s to investigate the new Elemental Water Master and they become embroiled in a plot to help Mari out of her dilemma. The world has changed since the family made it’s deal with the Selch and now there are things like constables that get in the way by investigating disappearances. Also women no longer sit back quietly while marriages are arrange for them. They want some say in the man they are pledging their lives to and Mari is no different. She is smart enough to use the laws of man and of magic to turn things to her favor but not without a fight. While this is an enjoyable book it sometimes makes things just a little to easy. When the two young women psychic’s travel across Britain and stay in Wales they do it in style and don’t run into any major difficulties. It would have been interesting to see things from the antagonists viewpoint as they lack enough humanity to make them more than caricatures. But the book does ring true to the idea of folk tales and fantasy and is a fun read.