Wizard of London, The

5957 stars
Mercedes Lackey

Wizard of London, The by Mercedes Lackey PDF, TXT, ePub, PDB, RTF, FB2.

Title Wizard of London, The
Rating 5957 stars
Author Mercedes Lackey
Pages N/A
Isbn 1480592242
Review

Description

This is one of Misty's Elemental Master's series, where she rewrites fairytales into a real world, historical setting. The Wizard of London is based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson, and is set in Victorian London.

First, a little background is needed. Generally, the characters are elemental masters, able to command supernatural creatures of fire (salamanders, lyons), water (nymphs, selkies), earth (fawns, brownies) or air (sylvans, dryads). In addition there are people with psychic abilities, clairvoyants, telekinetics, and mediums. The last is the rarest ability of all, to communicate with the dead. They live among regular people, keeping their abilities secret, although they have formed secret societies, in order to govern and police themselves. There are even schools dedicated to educating young elemental mages and psychics, with a healthy mix of regular children as a front to stave off suspicion.

One such school is The Harton School for Girls and Boys, run by Isabelle and Frederick Harton. It's a poor school, in an unfashionable district of London, that caters to the children of officials and soldiers who serve in India. It was believed at the time that Western children were not able to tolerate the warmer climates of India and Africa, so at young ages they were sent to boarding schools in England. The Harton School also has some special students. Among them are Sarah Jane Lyon-White from Africa, the daughter of a doctor and missionary, who has some minor telepathic abilities, but more importantly, is a true medium, and Nan Killian, a street brat and the daughter of an alcoholic, who would have been doomed to either an early death or to follow the same self-destructive path as her mother, if not for her clairvoyant talents that earned her a place at the Harton School. Sarah and Nan have for some reason have been graced with the attention of guardian spirits; Sarah's in an African Grey parrot, named Grey, and Nan's is a raven named Neville. Girls and birds are inseparable.

Sarah Jane was instrumental in uncovering a fraud ring, headed by a woman who pretended to be a medium and fleeced grieving mothers and widows. So, when Sarah Jane and Nan are attacked, it is assumed to be the work of other false mediums, trying to stay in business, or friends of the one that Sarah exposed trying to get revenge. Isabelle and Frederick step up their vigilance, and appeal to the Elemental Masters for assistance in locating the ones responsible for the attack, but their efforts are lukewarm, and when their limpid investigation reveals an Irish anarchist to be the one who arranged the attack, and that he is already conveniently dead, they loose what little interest they had. Of course that is just not good enough for Isabelle and Frederick, who feel that there is much more going on than meets the eye. So, they arrange for the entire school to take a summer holiday at the country estate of one of their psychic acquaintances. While being in the country has given the girls a bit of a respite, the one who is bent on getting rid of Sarah Jane isn't about to give up that easily.

Most of you know I'm a Misty fan, and for the most part I was very pleased with this book. I've said it before and it still holds true, she's great at creating characters who are compelling and utterly sympathetic. I also love that she puts a lot of ambiguity in her characters, they're not all good and perfect, or bad and diabolical. It's just a bit more difficult to pull that off in this series, since they're all based on fairy tales and the story just has to happen a certain way, and it's to her credit that she was still able to make the villain, who casually murders children and turns their ghosts into her servants, a little sympathetic. And you can sort of see how she might have been a decent person under different circumstances. And the protagonists make mistakes, get angry, hold grudges, and suffer from self doubt and self consciousness. There's just one way that I was disappointed, and that was when I realized that there was only about seventy-five pages left in the novel, and none of the storylines were anywhere near resolved. This worried me. And for good reason. The ending was very...anticlimactic. Very disappointing. I was, I'm not ashamed to admit, hoping for a huge climactic battle scene, and what I got was, well, not a climactic battle scene. The ending was only ten pages long, and the very ending only three pages, counting the epilogue. That's just not satisfying. And I've come to expect better of Misty, as far as satisfying endings go. But, that's my one gripe. It's a pretty big gripe, but only one.


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