is a fantasy series written by Mercedes Lackey
, about an earth where magic exists and focuses on the Elemental Masters, people who have magical
control over air, water, fire, or earth. Each elemental master has power over elementals
, as well. Each book in the series is loosely based on a fairy tale.
• The Fire Rose
(1995, ISBN 0-671-87750-X) based on Beauty and the Beast
1. The Serpent's Shadow
(2001, ISBN 0-7564-0061-9) based on Snow White
2. The Gates of Sleep
(2002, ISBN 0-7564-0101-1) based on Sleeping Beauty
3. Phoenix And Ashes
(2004, ISBN 0-7564-0272-7) based on Cinderella
4. The Wizard of London
(October 2005, ISBN 0-7564-0174-7) based on The Snow Queen
5. Reserved for the Cat
(October 2007,ISBN 978-0-7564-0362-1) based on Puss in Boots
Baen Books published The Fire Rose. DAW Books published the remaining books in the series and as part of this invented the "Elemental Masters" series name and numbered them as shown above. Technically, The Fire Rose is not part of the Elemental Masters series but as it follows the same theme as the series it's included here.
The setting of the "Elemental Masters" is an alternative Earth during the early 1900s. The main and perhaps sole difference between this world and our reality is that magic exists, controlled by those who have mastery over the four classical elements (fire, air, water, earth). The majority of the tales take place in England
, with The Fire Rose
taking place in North America and focusing on the San Francisco
area. While history does tend to follow the real-life time line, historic calamities such as the great urban fire of Chicago and the earthquake in San Francisco are attributed to the elemental mages that serve as the series namesakes.
The world of the "Elemental Masters" is home to two main types of magic
: the elemental magic that plays an important part in the series and ESP
that is largely explored in The Wizard of London
. There have been mentions of different types and degrees of magical ability in the series.
Elemental magic is the most commonly seen form of magic in the series, with every book having at least a couple of elemental masters as major characters, with one serving as the antagonist. The masters' abilities are tied with their ability to see and control spirits
of a particular elemental affinity. Elemental magicians are classed by their affinity (Earth, Air, Fire, and/or Water) and by their mastery of their magic; one can be an Elemental Magician or an Elemental Master.
The Power of Ice
The power of Ice can be the seen as a partial exception of the normal abilities of an Elemental mage. Ice can be controlled by a skilled master of Fire, with cold being the inverse of heat. As seen in The Wizard of London
, the power of ice is seen as a perversion and innately destructive, as it calls for a basic twisting of a master's nature as well as the world around them.
Most of the details given about the talented (those who have some degree of psychic abilities) are seen in The Wizard of London
. While the talented in most part fit the descriptions and abilities given psychics in the modern world, there are two main differences. First, certain psychics are able to gain familiars
; the second difference is that powerful talents or the talented have psychic avatars
that represent their duties as champions of the light. These avatars tend to draw imagery from fiction and the past.
Details are given in Reserved for the Cat
. Sensitives are those who do not have direct magical talents but are able to see and feel to a degree, magic cast by the Elemental Wizards. Some are capable of seeing and sometimes communicating with elemental spirits. Some sensitives may also cast small magics that are often based on emotions. A powerful Sensitive can use their powers to influence people. Sensitives often form the bulk of an Elemental Wizards's household.
Other forms of magic
While psychics, wizards and elemental masters are portrayed as the more common magic users in the western world, the series also focuses on other forms of power such as the Hindu sorcerers of India and the various spirits of the world (such as the fey
of England and avatars of the Hindu gods