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Literature: Elemental Blessings
A series of novels by Sharon Shinn.

In the kingdom of Welce, everything is ruled by the Five Elements, even down to the days of the year and the personalities of the people. The Five Primes help keep the realm in balance, but politics interferes in everything.

The Five Elements and Families:
  • Coru—Water and Blood—Lalindar Family
  • Elay—Air and Spirit—Dochenza Family
  • Hunti—Wood and Bone—Serlast Family
  • Sweela—Fire and Mind—Ardelay Family
  • Torz—Earth and Flesh—Frothen Family

The first novel, Troubled Waters, follows coru Zoe Ardelay. Her father Navarr, brother to the Sweela Prime, was exiled from the capital city of Chialto ten years before. The day of his funeral, Darien Serlast, King Vernon's favorite advisor, arrives to collect Zoe. He claims she is to be the King's fifth bride, but something about his story just doesn't add up. Upon entering the capital, Zoe slips away and loses herself in the heart of the city, hoping to find herself again. What she discovers draws her back into the world of scheming and politics she thought she had left behind forever, but it is the only way to uncover the truth behind her father's banishment and the secrets that Darien Serlast would do anything to keep.

The second novel, Royal Airs is the story of elay Princess Josetta. Five years after Zoe turned the country upside down, Josetta is freer than she ever was before. But a mystery is dropped at her feet when she crosses paths with Rafe Adova, a man who appears to lack the Elemental Blessings every Welchin is born with. With rival foreign royals arriving in Chialto, Josetta and Rafe soon discover the secrets of his past go much deeper, and if they don't find a solution, war may erupt between two powerful kingdoms, with Welce as the battlefield.

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Elemental Blessings contains examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Compare Zoe, Darien, Vernon, and Natalie to Josetta, Elidon, Seterre, Alys, and Corene.
  • Arranged Marriage: Vernon and Elidon arrange this with the Viceroy of Soeche-Tas for twelve-year-old Corene. Zoe was not amused.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Zoe and Darien in Troubled Waters. By Royal Airs, they're married with a daughter.
    • Although they still bicker. Of course, they knew that going into the relationship.
  • Berserk Button: Go ahead, threaten anyone under Zoe's care. I dare you.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Alys tries to hide her bitchiness. At this point, no one's buying it.
    • Josetta's mother Seterre is a less nasty, more juvenile version.
  • Bodyguard Crush: It looked like Foley had one on his charge, Josetta. Ultimately subverted.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Kayle Dochenza
  • The Chessmaster: Darien Serlast
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Kayle Dochenza. It's implied that all elay people are this to a certain degree.
  • Dumb Muscle: Taro Frothen looks like he's this.
  • Elemental Powers / Personality Powers
  • Fiery Redhead: Alys, full stop. Played with in her daughter, Corene.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Corene and Josetta, respectively.
  • The Good Chancellor: Darien Serlast. So good there's a very real chance he'll end up king.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Alys, King Vernon's third wife.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Alys is a bitch to everyone, but this deserves special mention as 75%+ of her vitriol towards Zoe stems from the fact that she still considers Darien Serlast her territory.
  • Hidden Backup Prince: Rafe Adova, twice over.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Darien's attraction to Zoe. Highlighted by the fact that he's hunti (unyielding), and she's coru (contrary).
  • Like Brother and Sister: Foley and Josetta eventually settle into something like this.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The people trying to kill Josetta in Troubled Waters invoke this to cover their trail.
  • Not Blood Siblings: In a completely nonsexual example, Josetta, Corene, and Natalie don't share a single drop of blood.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Taro Frothen, although it's less acting stupid, and more looking stupid and not bothering to correct anyone who buys it.
  • Papa Wolf: Darien Serlast to Josetta and Corene in Royal Airs. Of course, he actually is Corene's father.
  • People Puppet: There's compelling evidence that the Coru Prime has this power, and it's implied that the other Primes do as well.
  • Politically-Active Princess: Since King Vernon lacks a male heir, eldest-daughter Josetta has been raised to be this, even though she hates it and has no natural talent for it.
  • Prince Charmless: Prince Ghyaneth of Berringey. Oh so much.
  • Professional Gambler: Rafe Adova when we first meet him.
  • The Professor: Kayle Dochenza
  • Rebellious Princess: Both Josetta and her younger sister Corene, albeit in different ways.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Zoe and Darien, respectively.
  • Royal Brat: Corene and Natalie both have shades of this, the former in the first book and the latter in the second.
    • Alys is perfectly straight, adult, royal-by-marriage example.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Josetta is inspired to send aid to Chialto's slums by Zoe in Troubled Waters, and has established and personally runs her own homeless shelter in Royal Airs. She's even looking to expand.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Rafe might as well have Josetta-shaped blinders on for all the attention he pays other women.
    • People thought Josetta's guard Foley also suffered from this. Subverted in Royal Airs.
  • Succession Crisis: A lot of Welce's political problems stem from this. There are heirs even if three out of four of them are illegitimate, but choosing the right one is giving the Primes an ungodly number of migraines. Then, when they finally get a legitimate heir, she winds up having a mental disorder that renders her incapable of functioning in society, starting the whole mess all over again.
  • Sugary Malice: Alys, again.
  • Tranquil Fury: Zoe's anger has degrees. She's perfectly capable of giving you a verbal smackdown if she thinks you deserve one, but if you're stupid enough to go so far as to press her Berserk Button, her rage goes from firey-hot to icy-cold, and she will calmly and serenely completely flood your city. Or boil your blood. Or rupture an aneurysm in your brain. Whatever strikes her fancy.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Elidon, King Vernon's chief wife, has shades of this.
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