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THE WIZARD OF LONDON by Mercedes Lackey
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THE WIZARD OF LONDON (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Mercedes Lackey

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1,312168,957 (3.65)36
Member:Porius
Title:THE WIZARD OF LONDON
Authors:Mercedes Lackey
Info:Daw Books Inc., NY
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Fiction

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The Wizard of London by Mercedes Lackey (2005)

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» See also 36 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
I listened to the audio edition. Amazon continues its foolishly short-sighted practice of not allowing linking to Audible editions, even though they own Audible and presumably make money from the sale of Audible editions. So, I'm linking to a print edition.

I hadn't read any Lackey in quite a while, having grown tired of what I thought of as her typical output. A friend recommended this, and I was very pleasantly surprised.

This is a "secret history" set in late Victorian England, with Elemental Mages (who possess what we would call magical powers based in the four elemental powers of earth, air, fire, and water) and the Gifted and Talented (who possess what we would call psychic powers, which are in this world referred to as occult powers) operate quietly behind the scenes, with most of the population unaware of their existence.

Isabelle Harton, with her husband Frederick, runs the Harton School for Boys and Girls, intended to serve the children of British soldiers, missionaries, and government officials serving abroad, as well as the "gifted and talented" children who aren't adequately served by the more numerous schools serving those with Elemental powers. Sarah Jane, just nine years old, is sent to the Harton School from Africa, where her parents are missionary healers. Sarah Jane is clearly among the Talented, but it's not clear what her gift is, and of course her parents do not commit that information to pen and paper. Sarah Jane settles in quickly, and befriends a street urchin, Nan, who has her own problems and, it turns out, her own Talent, and all is well for a time.

Then it becomes clear that Sarah Jane has the rarest of all Talents, a genuine ability to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Shortly thereafter, there is an attempt by an elemental master to arrange the deaths of both girls.

Isabelle and Frederick, who have been concerned for a bit that the sudden gathering of several Talented children in London means that those Talents will be needed, now know that the girls are in immediate danger, and must find the source of the threat and the real aim of whoever their unknown enemy is. This is a fun, engaging adventure with well-drawn characters, not just the girls themselves and the other principal members of the Harton household, but their enemies and allies, including Robin Goodfellow (yes, that one), David Alderscroft, the Fire Mage who courted and jilted Isabelle many years ago, and his mentor, the Air Mage Lady Cordelia.

Very enjoyable, and I'm planning to look up the earlier books in the serious. Recommended.

I borrowed this book from a friend. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
The Wizard of London is a relatively light-weight and entertaining fantasy set in an alternate Victorian England where various kinds of magic exist. It's one of a series – Elemental Masters -- and not the first, though it's the first one I've read. It stands alone, but other titles in the series that precede it are: The Serpent's Shadow, The Gates of Sleep, and Phoenix and Ashes.

The strength of this book, I thought, was in the characters and the setting rather than in the magic or the plot. I especially enjoyed seeing Victorian London – and then the English countryside – through the eyes of Nan, a street-bred Cockney girl. There is a lot of ironic charm in that point of view and Lackey handles it very well. Her writing is richly descriptive and assured, overall. The plot climax was a bit low-key and probably wouldn't satisfy readers who are looking for excitement. I found it adequately satisfying in the context of the other elements of a period story that focuses on two psychically-gifted girls and the woman who runs the special school they are attending. These three characters are well-drawn, as are the other more minor characters, as well as the villain. Special appearances by Robin Goodfellow (Puck) were fun too.

I could see this working pretty well as a book for pre-teen children, especially girls, because of the focus on the two girls, Nan and Sarah. The intended audience is apparently adults, however, since there is also a focus on the schoolmistress, Isabelle Harton, and there are other adult POV characters as well.

Other reviewers have noted that this is a "retelling" of Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen, but I quite missed the connection. Apparently it's rather tenuous. I took the book at face value and found it moderately enjoyable. ( )
  Carol_W | Jul 17, 2015 |
This book took me far longer to read than I would have liked thanks to problems in real life. However, I enjoyed it, for the most part. It was a little draggy, in certain aspects, and I can understand how the romance between Isabelle and Frederick seemed a bit much.



However, after I realized just what David Alderscoft had done to himself, it was hard not to feel sorry for him. Thanks to Cordelia's manipulations, he had lost the one thing that he could have prized above everything. Now the juxtaposition was clear, between Frederick and David, and why Frederick was invariably a better man for Isabelle.



I would like to see another book dealing with the Fey, not just some of the magical creatures that sporadically appear. For example, I loved Puck's appearance. Perhaps Mercedes Lackey should write a series revolving around faeries.



The ending was good. It showed how the children knew more about life than someone who had considered himself above everyone else and how a child could conquer an adult simply by reaching out. I also like how the Salamanders and other Fire Elemental creatures were simply waiting for David to return to his senses and summon them, rather than abandon him.



The notion of ice being the opposite of fire yet still being within a Fire Elemental's power to control is an interesting one. I loved the explanation of it, too, and also, the similarities, however unintentional, between Cordelia wanting to be an Ice Queen and Puck calling the children "daughters/sons of Eve/Adam" and Narnia. Maybe it was just me who saw those comparisons, however.
  liveshipvivacia | Apr 26, 2014 |
This book took me far longer to read than I would have liked thanks to problems in real life. However, I enjoyed it, for the most part. It was a little draggy, in certain aspects, and I can understand how the romance between Isabelle and Frederick seemed a bit much.



However, after I realized just what David Alderscoft had done to himself, it was hard not to feel sorry for him. Thanks to Cordelia's manipulations, he had lost the one thing that he could have prized above everything. Now the juxtaposition was clear, between Frederick and David, and why Frederick was invariably a better man for Isabelle.



I would like to see another book dealing with the Fey, not just some of the magical creatures that sporadically appear. For example, I loved Puck's appearance. Perhaps Mercedes Lackey should write a series revolving around faeries.



The ending was good. It showed how the children knew more about life than someone who had considered himself above everyone else and how a child could conquer an adult simply by reaching out. I also like how the Salamanders and other Fire Elemental creatures were simply waiting for David to return to his senses and summon them, rather than abandon him.



The notion of ice being the opposite of fire yet still being within a Fire Elemental's power to control is an interesting one. I loved the explanation of it, too, and also, the similarities, however unintentional, between Cordelia wanting to be an Ice Queen and Puck calling the children "daughters/sons of Eve/Adam" and Narnia. Maybe it was just me who saw those comparisons, however.
  liveshipvivacia | Apr 26, 2014 |
I have concluded that the weakest part of this series is the halfassed fairy-tale part. The Wizard of London begins with a charming Victorian urchin adventure (that I had previously encountered, and liked quite well, as a short story) and continues from there. It's entertaining - Lackey does earnest yet mischievous children well. However, awkwardly bolted on to that half of the story is the backstory of David, Lord Alderscroft, who we've met in older although not actually crochetier guise in earlier books. It's boring, since we know he gets out of it just fine and doesn't really become a nicer person, and it's built around the framework of the Snow Queen, which is my least favorite fairy tale ever.

So, full marks for the entertaining children, boo to the boring adults. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mercedes Lackeyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ford, MichelleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee,Jody A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
Dedicated to Elizabeth R. Wollheim. Just 'cause.
First words
Isabelle Helen Harton waited on the dock beside the gangplank for the last of the steamer passengers from Egypt and Africa to disembark.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen. *** This book takes place in an alternate Victorian England where Elemental Masters (magicians) and Talents (psychics) abound. Sarah Jane comes to London from Africa to attend the Horton School where she will receive training for her Talent as well as learn the more usual academic subjects. Sara is a true medium and there is an Elemental Master in London who is using ghosts for nefarious purposes. Thus Sarah becomes a threat to be disposed of before the Master's plans can be foiled.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0756403634, Mass Market Paperback)

Set in Victorian London-where magic is real and Elemental Masters control the powers of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth-the fourth novel in this best-selling series tells the story of Lord Alderscroft, Master of the British Elemental Masters Council-the most powerful Fire Master ever to lead the Council. Loosely based on The Snow Queen, The Wizard of London delves into Lord Alderscroft's youth, when he was bespelled by an evil Elemental Master who hoped to use him for political gain.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:59 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Sarah Jane has come to Isabelle Harton's school in London, a happy child with unusual gifts, but will Isabelle be able to keep her safe from a powerful intent to harm her?

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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