Today I’ll be reviewing the 10th entry in Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series, Blood Red.
In case you haven’t read any of these books, this series reimagines fairy and folk tales in an alternate, Edwardian-era world in which magic does, in fact, exist. It is practiced by mages and masters who specialize in air, fire, earth, and water magic, aided by elemental creatures like sylphs, salamanders, satyrs, and undines.
The fairy tale in this case is Little Red Riding Hood, the heroine of which just happens to be an earth master who is also a werewolf hunter. It’s also set in Germany, quite a switch for a series that’s almost always set in Great Britain.
Normally, I’m a huge fan of this series. I know it’s the literary equivalent of cotton candy, but I just don’t care, they’re too much fun. But (and we’re talking a Nicki Minaj-sized one here), this novel felt like the author totally phoned it in.
Granted, at 10 books in this series alone, a decline in quality is understandable, perhaps even to be expected. That being said, I still found it hard to get invested in the story. Honestly, I think there was too much time spent in setting up the story and not enough time spent on plot developments (the first big action only took place about ¾ of the way through the book).
Also worth noting is that this is the first time the author has wrote about vampires and werewolves. Interesting idea, but it doesn’t feel genuine to the rest of the Elemental Masters world. It almost seems like the author is including it to take advantage of the (now somewhat waning) supernatural trend.
The bottom line? If you’re already a fan of the series, like I am, it’s worth reading. Otherwise, as this is definitely one of the author’s weaker entries in the series, I’d say the casual reader could probably bypass it.
However, If you’re just looking to get into the series, start with The Fire Rose, a take on Beauty and the Beast. And although they aren’t technically Elemental Masters books, I’d also recommend reading The Black Swan and Firebird.