Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A scandal in Battersea by Mercedes Lackey

A scandal in Battersea is the twelfth book in the Elemental masters series and while it can be read as a stand alone novel it is best enjoyed when you read the series in order - or if you at least read A study in sable first.

Christmas is rapidly approaching and it is an exciting time for Sarah and Nan and their young charge Suki - especially when they have the patronage of Lord Alderscroft.  When you have all the benefits of wealth and power it is a simple thing to make a child happy, especially when you can spoil them with treats and open their eyes with wonder.  It is also a serious time however, for there is always some danger threatening the people of London, and when you are able to communicate with spirits or read minds there is always a part to play in defending their city for Sarah and Nan.  They are not alone though as they are surrounded by psychics and elemental masters who understand the world around them and know how to protect them and guide them.  Sarah and Nan are happy to play their part, and when they are asked to help search institutions for the Gifted who have been labelled mad they have no idea that they are going to stumble across a threat to London that could destroy them all.

Someone is seeking Power, and they have found a book that seems to promise exactly that.  Alexandre Harcourt is a young man of some means who is determined to make a life for himself - one that has Power and wealth.  His desires for Power have been thwarted by having to live within his means, his finances carefully controlled by a trust fund that he must jump through hoops to access, but now he has found a Power that may change all that.  His greed for more may cost more than he can bear though, as the Power he calls demands sacrifice, and it will not be satisfied with scraps or small offerings, and what it demands could expose Alexandre to the White Lodge that protects London.  With each new demand Alexandre realises that he is rapidly getting in over his head, but it may be too late to stop - and it may be too late to save London if Sarah, Nan, and their allies can't untangle what is happening to the young women they are finding wandering the streets as empty shells.

The Elemental masters series is an interesting one, not only because it is set in an historical time that adds a complexity to the stories, but also because it has taken familiar stories and breathed new life into them.  Through this series we have seen characters use a variety of magical creatures and resources to change their fates, and seen characters woven from one story into another to create a complex and thoroughly engrossing world.  A scandal in Battersea is one of the books in the series that seems to divert from the core idea of using fairytales and traditional stories as source material - although you could also argue that as it is the second book that draws on the great Sherlock Holmes and his world that is it still literature based.  

A scandal in Battersea was an enjoyable and thoroughly engrossing novel that I read in a single day because I didn't want to put it down.  This is a solid addition to the series and grows the connections between the different groups/people that have made up this world so far.  It would not be the best book to start if you are reading the series for the first time, but it was comfortable and rewarding to spend time with Nan, Sarah, and their allies once again.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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