%% ZeroContextExamples have been commented out. Please rewrite them to show how the trope fits.

[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/shinn_troubled_waters_combo.jpg]]
A series of novels by Creator/SharonShinn.

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.

The third novel, ''Jeweled Fire'', follows ''sweela'' Princess Corene as she runs away to the neighboring country of Malinqua, where the empress is gathering foreign princesses as potential marriage candidates for her three nephews. As the nephews vie for the throne, the appearance of a new, long-lost grandson of the empress complicates the succession. And as Corene and her faithful guard discover, there may be a darker reason she and the other girls were brought to court...

The fourth novel, ''Unquiet Land'', follows the ''torz'' woman Leah, a character who was introduced in the previous book. Returning to Welce after five years, Leah has to pick up the pieces of the life she left behind, including her infant daughter, Mally. In Malinqua, Leah spied for Darien; now that she's home, he asks her to do it all over again to investigate the Karkans, whose extreme philosophy soon puts the city's poor in danger. Balancing this, the friend she made in Malinqua, Chandran, has come to Welce too, with his own mysterious past.
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!! Elemental Blessings contains examples of:

* AbusiveParents: Alys is quite happy to let her husband try to rape Corene or even marry her off to an old man if it furthers her own ambitions.
* AerithAndBob: Compare Zoe, Darien, Vernon, and Natalie to Josetta, Elidon, Seterre, Alys, and Corene.
* AmbiguouslyGay: Mirti Serlast, the Hunti prime and Queen Elidon are noted to be very close and there are rumours they're sleeping together [[spoiler: after Vernon's death.]]
* ArrangedMarriage: Vernon and Elidon arrange this with the Viceroy of Soeche-Tas for [[spoiler:twelve-year-old Corene.]] Zoe was [[{{Understatement}} not]] [[{{BerserkButton}} amused.]]
* AttemptedRape: Corene has been terrified of Dominic Wollimer since he tried to force his way into bed with her.
* BelligerentSexualTension: Zoe and Darien in ''Troubled Waters''. By ''Royal Airs'', they're married with a daughter. They still bicker, but of course, they knew that would happen going into the relationship.
* BerserkButton: Go ahead, threaten anyone under Zoe's care. We dare you.
* BitchInSheepsClothing: Alys ''tries'' to hide her bitchiness. By the second book, no one's buying it.
** Josetta's mother Seterre is a less nasty, more juvenile version in the first book, by the second book she's mellowed out having got some distance from the royal court.
* BiTheWay: [[spoiler:Melissande]] casually brings this up near the end of the book in which she appears. Her outrageous flirtations with men and women apparently caused a scandal back home; oddly enough ''not'' because she's bisexual, but because she's unmarried.
* BodyguardCrush: It initially appears that Foley has one on his charge, Josetta. Ultimately subverted: ''Josetta'' was interested in him, but he refused. [[spoiler: ''Jewelled Fire'' reveals that he actually has feelings for Corene and vice versa, though he's resistant initially.]]
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Kayle Dochenza. If all elay people are {{Cloud Cuckoolander}}s to an extent, Kayle as the elay prime takes it up a notch. People's first reaction to him tends to be "he's certainly a madman." However, he's also a brilliant inventor, responsible for bringing both cars ("elaymotives") and airplanes to Welce.
* TheButlerDidIt: [[spoiler:Lorian, Filomara's steward]] turns out to have a body count of at least three.
* TheChessmaster: Darien Serlast "knows everything"--or so he makes everybody think. Even [[spoiler:before Vernon dies,]] Darien is pulling most of the strings.
* CloudCuckooLander: Kayle Dochenza. It's implied that all ''elay'' people are this to a certain degree.
* DumbMuscle: Taro Frothen ''looks'' like he's this.
* ElementalPowers / PersonalityPowers
** BlowYouAway: Kayle Dochenza, the ''Elay'' Prime.
** DishingOutDirt: Taro Frothen, the ''Torz'' Prime. His young heir [[spoiler:Mally]] demonstrates this same power to an astonishing degree.
** GreenThumb: Mirti Serlast, the ''Hunti'' Prime.
** MakingASplash: Christara Lalindar, the late ''Coru'' Prime. Later [[spoiler:Zoe]].
** PlayingWithFire: Nelson Ardelay, the ''Sweela'' Prime.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Chandran, the merchant Leah thought she would be bribing to help her, poisons her in order to find out whether her motive in gaining access to Corene are ill- or well-meant.
* FieryRedhead: Alys, full stop. Her daughter, Corene is a kinder version. Bonus points for them both being sweela, making them "fiery" in more than one sense.
* FoolishSiblingResponsibleSibling: Corene and Josetta, respectively. Nelson's sons Rhan and Kurtis, with the former sleeping and flirting his way around Welce while the latter is the mature Ardelay heir.
* ForcedOutOfTheCloset: Jiramondi didn't come out by choice; he was revealed when Filomara's steward caught him in a compromising position.
* TheGoodChancellor: Darien Serlast. So good that by the end of ''Royal Airs'', [[spoiler:he's king in all but name, soon to receive the name too.]]
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: Alys, King Vernon's cruel and manipulative third wife.
* GreenEyedMonster: Alys is unpleasant 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.
* HiddenBackupPrince: [[spoiler: Rafe Adova, twice over.]] Naturally this makes [[spoiler:Steff, his brother]] one too.
* ILoveYouBecauseICantControlYou: Darien's attraction to Zoe. Highlighted by the fact that he's ''hunti'' (unyielding), and she's ''coru'' (contrary).
* InterClassRomance: Josetta, Princess of Welec, and Rafe Adova, a penniless gambler [[spoiler: although they discover he's actually a Prince of ''both'' Malinqua and Berringey.]]
** [[spoiler: Corene and Foley are a straight example, as he's her bodyguard and initially refuses to admit his feelings for her because of the massive class difference.]]
* LikeBrotherAndSister: Foley and Josetta eventually settle into something like this.
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: The people trying to kill Josetta in ''Troubled Waters'' invoke this to cover their trail.
* NotBloodSiblings: In a completely nonsexual example, [[spoiler:Josetta, Corene, and Natalie don't share a single drop of blood.]]
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Taro Frothen, although it's less ''acting'' stupid, and more ''looking'' stupid and not bothering to correct anyone who buys it.
* PairTheSpares: ''Jewelled Fire'' seems set up like this with four potential heirs (Garameno, Greggorio, Jiramondi and Steff) and four potential brides (Corene, Melissande, Liramelli and Alette) and just a question of who is paired with who. [[spoiler: However it's only played half straight. Steff and Liramelli are the only pair to get together romantically and Jiramondi and Melissande marry out of convenience, agreeing they'll both have other relationships. Corene and Alette end up with completely different people from their home countries (their bodyguard and old friend respectively), while Greggorio is killed and Garameno remains single.]]
* PapaWolf: Darien Serlast to Josetta and Corene from ''Royal Airs'' onward. [[spoiler:Of course, he actually ''is'' Corene's father.]]
* ParentsAsPeople: Zoe adored her father and struggles to find a man who can match up to his force of personality, while also realizing that he lied to her almost her whole life. [[spoiler: He forced her to go into exile with him so he wouldn't be alone, made her believe her mother's family wanted nothing to do with her and cheated on his wife.]] She even admits that had he lived she might have cut off contact with him because of those discoveries, but because he's already gone she has to make peace with his memory.
** To a lesser extent Seterre - Josetta's mother - can be petty and self-absorbed, but genuinely loves and supports her daughter.
* PeoplePuppet: There's compelling evidence that the ''coru'' Prime has this power, and it's implied that the other Primes do as well.
* PoliticallyActivePrincess: 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. Corene ''does'' discover an interest in diplomacy, despite her dislike of court intrigue.
* PrinceCharmless: Prince Ghyaneth of Berringey, who spends his visit in Welce criticizing every aspect of the country and boasting about how many other heirs he's killed.
* ProfessionalGambler: Rafe Adova when we first meet him.
%% * TheProfessor: Kayle Dochenza
* PuppetKing: [[spoiler: King Vernon has become increasingly weak-minded due to the effects of the medicine keeping him alive, and the true power behind the throne is Darien. A positive example as Darien is incredibly capable, has the best interests of Welce at heart and takes on the role out of necessity rather than personal ambition.]]
* RagsToRiches: Zoe constantly zigzags this trope. She grows up in a wealthy family as the daughter of the King's advisor, is forced to go into exile with almost nothing, then she's chosen to be one of the King's wives, ''then'' she runs away, lives in the slums on the river flats and works as a shop girl and [[spoiler: finally discovers she's head of one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in the country, and marries the regent.]]
* RebelliousPrincess: Both Josetta and Corene, albeit in different ways.
* RedOniBlueOni: Zoe and Darien, respectively. Corene and Josetta in a sibling example.
* RoyalBrat: 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.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Several examples.
** Elidon, in contrast to the other three Queens, is heavily involved in the running of Welce and is one of the King's closest advisers beside Darien. [[spoiler: And is the only wife to stay on at court after Vernon's death.]]
** 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.
** Corene in ''Jewelled Fire'' discovers she's far more adept at policy and negotiation than she thought, and [[spoiler:decides to serve as Welchin ambassador. ]]
** Darien inverts this, as he was a non-royal who governed the country for years and [[spoiler: was so effective the Primes named him King despite not being a direct heir, making it a case of actually doing something to become a royal.]]
* SettledForGay: [[spoiler: Jiramondi (who is gay) and Melissande (bisexual)]] agree to marry out of convenience: He gets to live somewhere more accepting while she gets control over who she marries and a degree of respectability, knowing that they're both actually going to be seeing other people.
* SingleTargetSexuality: 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. Nope, he's just a very devoted bodyguard. [[spoiler: Played straight with his feelings for ''Corene'' however.]]
* SuccessionCrisis: A lot of Welce's political problems stem from this. There ''are'' heirs [[spoiler:even if three out of four of them aren't actually the king's children]], but choosing the ''right'' one is giving the Primes an ungodly number of migraines. [[spoiler:Then, when they finally get a legitimate heir, she winds up having a mental disorder that renders her incapable of functioning in society, much less ruling it, starting the whole mess all over again.]]
** Berringey has a uniquely bloody approach to avoiding these. Once the king has an heir, his siblings, cousins and their children are expected to commit suicide or be murdered.
** Malinqua is suffering a succession crisis of its own, as the empress's direct descendants are all dead [[spoiler:until her grandson shows up]] and none of her nephews have been officially named heir. Each nephew has a "flaw" that makes the choice a fraught one: Garameno is in a wheelchair, causing people to look down on him as not a "whole" man; Jiramondi is gay, making him an "abomination" to homophobic Malinquan society; and Greggorio is charming but none too bright.
* SuddenlySuitableSuitor: [[spoiler: Rafe agonizes over falling for Josetta, as he's sure an aimless gambler would never be allowed to court a Princess. Luckily it turns out he's a lost Prince of Malinqua ''and'' of Berringey.]]
%% * SugaryMalice: Alys, again.
* TranquilFury: 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 BerserkButton, her rage goes from fiery-hot to icy-cold, and she will calmly and serenely [[spoiler:completely flood your city. Or boil your blood. Or rupture an aneurysm in your brain. Whatever strikes her fancy.]]
* UnSorcerer: Rafe is the one individual in Welce with no Elemental Blessings - his draw is consistently three ghost blessings or, if ghosts aren't an option, the three unaligned blessings.
* TheWomanWearingTheQueenlyMask: Elidon, King Vernon's chief wife, has shades of this.