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Friday, April 3, 2009

Reserved for the Cat - Mercedes Lackey

Read for the Once Upon a Time III Reading Challenge.

This book seemed particularly apt for the challenge, as it’s part of a series that combines fairy tales with the elemental magic of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. This particular book is a take off on “Puss in Boots”, but brings that story into late 19th century England.

Ninette Dupond is a dancer with the Paris Ballet. One fateful evening, she fills in for the company’s prima ballerina, and unfortunately, does such a good job that the prima takes offense, and Ninette is summarily fired. Alone and unemployed, she’s not sure where her next meal will come from, or if she’s be able to keep her flat. On this worst night of her life, she comes home to find a cat in her flat - a cat who suddenly speaks to her.

The cat offers her an opportunity. If she comes with him to England, and impersonates a Russian ballerina named Nina Tchereslavksy, he’ll make sure she finds work, and won’t have to starve to death. What neither Ninette or the cat know is that the real Nina has been absorbed by a malevolent Earth elemental, and when that Elemental catches wind of Ninette’s impersonation, she comes to England to take care of her rival.

The book is a good deal of fun. I’m not a dancer, but I’ve done enough theatre and musical performance that I enjoyed the back stage flavor if Ninette’s new home in Blackpool. As usual in the series, Lackey works in the concept of Elemental magic in a convincing way that works with the story. In this case, Ninette’s new employers are Elemental mages that have abilities well suited to life onstage, including a familiar trapped in the body of an African Grey who may or may not be a famous composer. It’s a great, fun read, perfect for a rainy weekend.


Jenn said...

I rec ALL of the Elemental Masters books!! Yay!

Nymeth said...

One of these days I'll give Lackey another chance, and it will be with this series.

Megan said...

I love this series. These and the 1000 Kingdoms books are the only reason I haven't completely given up on Mercedes Lackey.

Megan said...

I definitely recommend them. I've sworn off most of her other series, but I always keep an eye out for more of this or the 100 Kingdoms series.

GeraniumCat said...

It's a great title and, though I usually pass up Lackey on the library shelf, I'll give this a try if I see it.

Masha said...

Oh well I've never read any Mercedes Lackey - always somehow been put off by the covers - but maybe this is a good one? Puss in Boots has always been a favourite of mine

Megan said...

Yes, this is definitely one of her better books and series. I've been reading her books for a while, and a lot of her writing has become way overdone, but this series seems to be still keeping things fresh.