Suramya's Book Review Cafe

March 12, 2021

Jolene (Elemental Masters 15) by Mercedes Lackey

Filed under: Fantasy — Suramya Tomar @ 6:47 am


Jolene (Elemental Masters 15)
by Mercedes Lackey

Description:

The beloved Elemental Masters series moves to America for the first time in a rich retelling of The Queen of the Copper Mountain, set against the backdrop of Tennessee coal country.

Anna May Jones is the daughter of a coal miner, but a sickly constitution has kept her confined to the house for most of her life. Hoping to improve her daughter’s health—and lessen the burden on their family—Anna’s mother sends her to live with her Aunt Jinny, a witchy-woman and an Elemental Master, in a holler outside of Ducktown.

As she settles into her new life, Anna learns new skills at Aunt Jinny’s side and discovers that she, too, has a gift for Elemental magic that Jinny calls “the Glory”. She also receives lessons from a mysterious and bewitching woman named Jolene, who assures her that, with time, Anna could become even more powerful than her aunt.

But with Anna’s increasing power comes increasing notice. Billie McDaran, the foreman of the Ducktown mine, begins to take an interest in Anna and her abilities—even though Anna has already fallen in love with a young man with a talent for stonecarving.

If she wants to preserve the life she has come to love, Anna must use her newfound powers to oppose the foreman and protect those around her.

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Rating: (5/5)

Review:

Mercedes Lackey is one of my all time favorite authors and I usually buy her books immediately when they are released but for some reason I missed the launch of this book. Thankfully I realized my mistake a few days ago and immediately set about rectifying it.

This is the 15th book in her Elemental Masters series and there are very few authors who can keep the stories interesting after so many entries in the series. The book is a standalone book and can be read even if you haven’t read any of the other books in the series, but the story will be much richer if you have read the other books in the series as there are subtle references to other books and organizations that would mean a lot more to someone who has read the other books.

The book is based in the America’s and is a retelling of The Queen of the Copper Mountain which is a Russian fairy tale who is the patroness of miners, the protector and owner of hidden underground riches, who can either permit or prevent the mining of stones and metals in certain places. What I really like about these stories is that it introduces you to folktales & stories from other parts of the world. After I read the book, I immediately did a little research on the folktale and found it to be fascinating.

The storyline is quite simple but the way it is told keeps you engrossed till the very end. I really liked how she made serious effort to depict how cruel a life of a miner was in the late 1800’s. The story also touches on the Trail of tears and the civil war but that is mostly tangential to the story. Her calling magic as glory was a bit distracting at first and it was surprising that none of the standard elementary creatures such as salamanders etc make any appearance. Although, we do have references to the Native American magic and creatures from their folklore do make an appearance. There is enough references to real events and folklore to make the story interesting and get people interested in learning more about them. I personally have gone on researching spree’s after reading one of the books in the series to get more details about some of the stuff that she mentions in the book.

Overall a great book, I highly recommend it.

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