Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
The new novel in Mercedes Lackey’s bestselling series of an alternative Edwardian Britain, where magic is real—and Elemental Masters are in control.
Lionel Hawkins is a magician whose act is only partially sleight of hand. The rest is real magic. He’s an Elemental Magician with the power to persuade the Elementals of Air to help him create amazing illusions. It doesn’t take long before his assistant, acrobat Katie Langford, notices that he’s no ordinary magician—and for Lionel to discover that she’s no ordinary acrobat, but rather an untrained and unawakened Fire Magician. She’s also on the run from her murderous and vengeful brute of a husband. But can she harness her magic in time to stop her husband from achieving his deadly goal?
I liked this story because it showed the struggles of a wife, a veteran soldier, a magician, and the perfect venue to meet. I liked that Katie and Jack take the experiences they went through to become stronger; they get their life back, keep moving forward getting better, and in the end find someone special.
A curious aspect was the abusive husband’s name, Dick (it could have been a pun,) the name is a short form for Richard and in that time people didn’t use that much sarcasm, but the author made a good choice of a name for the wife beating husband. If we look into some history, the Boer war in Africa, that the book talks about, was first fought from 1880 to 1881, and a second time from 1899 to 1902, so the events of the book can happen in the time lapse of 1880-1902.
Also, it was quite interesting to know that if an unawakened fire mage goes into a rampage and because the fire mages are more emotional, their elementals react to them and the mage can die of what now we know as, “Spontaneous Human Combustion”. It is a rare case to come across. The honor, between the Elemental Mages, was another aspect that I liked. They help each other and without asking many questions, some do it so in the future they can ask for help or power when it is needed. But Lionel and Jack are honorable by principal and even if the quest looks dangerous they do everything they can, making their elementals want to help too.
In this book, we see more of the fire elementals compared toBlood Red where the main character was an Earth Master, so the elementals we saw were of the element of earth. But in Steadfast, two of the three mages are fire and we see elementals like salamanders, firebirds, phoenix, and even a great fire elemental: a dragon. The dragon was beautifully described with a body that was made of precious rocks that needed fire to be created.
At first the book might look long, but you must consider that it has three main characters and the narrative changes with each of them and sometimes we see a little recap from the point of view of another. The author is also telling us more about them and how is it that they came to be the way they are. Even though the book describes perfectly Katie’s performance as an assistant and on her own, this is something I wish I could see with my own eyes in real life. It would be great to see the fire spirits help her in her dance. The food is well described, too 😉
I recommend you to read Steadfast; you can read of performances, of elementals that follow their own rules, and an artist that gets a second chance in life and finds happiness.