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Phoenix and Ashes (2004)

by Mercedes Lackey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Elemental Masters Series (4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,566198,552 (3.88)44
Upon the death of her father, Eleanor Robinson falls victim to her stepmother, a cruel Elemental Master of Earth, who makes her a virtual slave, until Reginald Fenyx, who was once a heroic pilot, returns home, and together these two lost souls must find the courage to overcome evil.
  1. 20
    Ash by Malinda Lo (FFortuna)
    FFortuna: Both Cinderella reimaginings with similar atmospheres, although Ash is more fairy-ish and Phoenix and Ashes is about magicians and WWI.

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» See also 44 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Lackey's mixture of magic creatures existing in WWI England is incredibly slow to get off the ground, and not even her well-drawn portrait of a tormented hero can save it. ( )
  LyndaInOregon | Jan 21, 2019 |
Much less about magic and a Cinderella story, and more about the horrors of World War I. Not quite the book I thought I was getting, and a bit too long to boot. The ending was interesting, but a good 100 pages could have been cut from the middle. ( )
  Alliebadger | Aug 8, 2017 |
What's amazing is that not much actually happened throughout the whole thing. Over half of it was magical theory and Eleanor dreaming her way through Tarot cards. And yet, it was still brilliant.

I've never been a huge Cinderella fan, but this novel did a fabulous job retelling the original fairy tale, along with some history and magic. I really liked Eleanor and Reggie as well as the supporting cast, and Alison and company were very satisfying villains.

Perhaps my only real complaint was that the ending seemed a bit rushed. They finally won, and then there were just a few pages summing up what happened after. Considering the fact that SO much time was spent building up to everything, I would've liked a bit more time for it all to settle down as well.

Despite that, I really loved it all the way through. Highly recommend. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Jul 19, 2016 |
One of my favorites from this series though I would be hard pressed to say why. The step-mother was truly evil and the step-sisters were petty and self-centered. The story begins at the end of 1914 with Eleanor feeling abandoned by her father. Shortly after his remarriage Mr. Robinson joined the army and seemingly forgot about his promise to arrange funds for Eleanor's travel to Oxford and her fees, etc. as she had been accepted as one of the women scholars there. With the newcomers pushing her out of her place and having lost her dream of attending university, Eleanor is miserable. Then news of her father's death arrives and her former misery is nothing like what happens next. Magically bound to the kitchen hearth and unable to leave the house, she becomes the least of the servants and finally the only one other than Alison's lady's maid.

Meanwhile, the aristocratic Heir to the local Manor and Eleanor's secret crush joins up to fly planes for the British. Now jumping to 1917, Reggie returns wounded after a crash and shell-shocked from horrifying experiences after his plane goes down. He is convinced that his only safety is in denying and walling off his Air magic. Down in the village, Eleanor is just beginning to realize that she could be a Master of Fire if only she can learn to control this most dangerous of magics. Can Reggie and Eleanor work together and defeat the evil plans that Alison has has put in motion with her dark magic? There is even a godmother and a ball ...
  hailelib | May 17, 2015 |
Take one part Cinderella (with hints of Harriet Potter), one part All Quiet on the Western Front, one part Downton Abbey, and one part alchemy, and mix well.

This is the story of Eleanor (Ellie) Robinson, a girl who has been enslaved by her evil stepmother upon her father's death, and of Reggie Fenyx, a gentleman pilot who has become severely damaged from service in World War I. Reggie and Evil Stepmother are Masters of earth elements--air and earth, respectively--and Ellie is just starting to realize that she can control another (fire). The battle lines are drawn among these three as Stepmother tries to get Reggie to marry one of her hideous daughters while keeping Ellie enslaved. You can guess the ending, I'm sure.

The strengths of this book include strong, resourceful female characters (good and bad) who pass the Bechdel test and accurate portrayals of posttraumatic stress disorder (from domestic abuse and war). The weaknesess are that some of the characters lean toward caricatures (Locke, in particular), and the story is light--it really is Cinderella. I would like to see stories of the Elementals interacting with real-world evils: criminals, war, bullies, corruption, etc. That would be something new, not a retread.

And, as others have pointed out, the copyediting was horrendous. I'm a professional editor, and I can ususally "turn it off" while reading for pleasure. Not this one--omitted words, typos, misspellings, etc. Come on, Daw, spring for a real copyeditor. ( )
  Pat_F. | Jul 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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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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Awards and honors
To Janis Ian; amazing grace

When I needed to populate the village of Broom and Longacre Park, the denizens of the Dixon's Vixen bulletin board sprang to my aid by volunteering to be scullery maids, war-heroes, or villains as I chose. So if the names of the inhabitants are not consistent with the conventions of 1917, that is why.


Thanks to Richard and Marion van der Voort (www.atthesignofthedragon.co.uk), who vetted my historical and colloquial accuracy.


To Melanie Dymond Harper, who, when I lost my map and pictures of Broom, went out into wretched weather to recreate them for me.
First words
December 18, 1914

Broom, Warwickshire

Her eyes were so sore and swollen from weeping that she thought by right she should have no tears left at all.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Upon the death of her father, Eleanor Robinson falls victim to her stepmother, a cruel Elemental Master of Earth, who makes her a virtual slave, until Reginald Fenyx, who was once a heroic pilot, returns home, and together these two lost souls must find the courage to overcome evil.

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Based on the fairy tale Cinderella, set in England during World War I.
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Average: (3.88)
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