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Literature: Elemental Masters
The novels in the Elemental Masters series, by Mercedes Lackey, are a mix of historical fiction and fantasy, with a big scoop of fairy tales stirred in. Most of them are set in the late 1800s-early 1900s.

The books “officially” in this series are:
  • The Serpent’s Shadow
  • The Gates of Sleep
  • Phoenix and Ashes
  • The Wizard of London
  • Reserved for the Cat
  • Unnatural Issue
  • Home from the Sea
  • Elemental Magic - An anthology similar to the ones for the Heralds of Valdemar series, except about Elemental Masters and Magicians.
  • Steadfast
  • Elementary -Another anthology
  • Red As Blood
  • From a High Tower - Forthcoming in June 2015

The Fire Rose uses the same pattern and tropes as the official books (though with minor differences, including a slightly different magic system and being set in America instead of Britain/Europe), but was published by a different company so isn’t normally included in a list of the series. However, it will be included on this page.

This series provides examples of:

  • A Girl and Her X: Nan and Sarah from The Wizard of London and Home from the Sea have familiars, Neville the raven and Grey the parrot, respectively.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: Reggie has developed a resistance to opiates, thanks to the large doses he's been taking in order to get any sleep. When Alison tries sedating him near the end of the novel, it wears off much sooner than she'd expected.
  • Action Girl: In their "Warriors of the Light" aspects, both Isabelle Harton and Nan can pull this off. Ninette Dupond manages this as well, and then immediately lies about it because No Guy Wants an Amazon. Rosamund von Schwarzwald is the real champion of this through. She goes out and kills blood mages for a living.
    • Several of the women in the series are this. Most of the rest fit under Action Survivor instead.
  • Alchemic Elementals: Sylphs, Gnomes, Undines, and Salamanders all show up. They will serve those who have a talent for their respective elements, and cooperate with mages with a complementary element, but dislike and avoid those with opposing elemental affinity.
  • All Trolls Are Different: The troll in Reserved for the Cat is an evil earth elemental with the ability to shapeshift into many different forms, including humans. Trolls also show up briefly in Unnatural Issue, serving under necromancer Richard Whitestone.
  • Ambiguously Evil: We don't know what is up with Kali Durga. She does eventually kill Shivani for the crimes the priestess commits in her name, but it's not clear whether She approves of the thugees and Human Sacrifice in the normal course of business; Shivani's death may be a case of Even Evil Has Standards or Good All Along.
  • Arranged Marriage: The pact between the Protheros and the Selch.
    • Played with after Mari chooses her Selch husband. Since she has to have a marriage license if she's not going to be treated like a whore by the village, Dafydd Prothero pretends he's forcing Mari into an arranged marriage with a cousin (the Selch fiance) to ensure that she'll be able to keep their cottage after Dafydd eventually dies.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Dr. Maya Witherspoon fits the "highly trained and well-equipped criminal" version. She’s a fully-qualified doctor and surgeon, with a perfectly respectable clinic. She also volunteers at a clinic in one of the rougher neighborhoods of London, holds late office hours for the convenience of several courtesans/mistresses among her patients, and is willing to provide any female patient with contraception (illegal at the time).
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • Jason Cameron (though he did it to himself)
    • Thomas the cat
    • Wolfgang would probably count himself here as well, though he’s more of a changed-species Reincarnation.
  • Beast and Beauty: The Fire Rose is based on "Beauty and the Beast"
  • Behind Every Great Man: At one point, Rose thinks back to a fellow student who stole her research while courting her. She had wondered at the time if it would really be so bad to have her work published under her husband's name. In the event, he was only courting her for her family's money; when a scammer drove her father to bankruptcy, the student dumped Rose.
  • Bitch Alert: Alison, Carolyn, and Lauralee throw enough bitchiness to fill a kennel in the very first chapter of the "Phoenix and Ashes."
  • Black Magic: Arachne and Reginald Chamberten. Reginald has gone all the way to Deal with the Devil, not that it helps him at the end.
  • Black Widow: Alison – Eleanor's father and the father of the stepsisters were merely the bookends of a long career of using and killing men.
  • Blessed Are the Cheesemakers: Unnatural Issue spends a fair bit of time talking about cheesemaking.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Rosalind.
  • Bookcase Passage: Richard Whitestone's secret library and Work Room are concealed this way.
  • Cannibalism Super Power: The Troll.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Thomas.
  • Charm Person: Ninette has a touch of this ability.
  • Cinderella Circumstances: Eleanor in Phoenix and Ashes.
  • Color-Coded Elements: Fire is red, Air is blue, Earth is yellow, and Water is green.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Ninette's maid Ailse. Originally hired as someone who wouldn't freak out at elementals running around, it turns out she carries a revolver loaded with Cold Iron, Silver, and Blessed Lead bullets. At all times.
  • Crossover Cosmology: All religions have some truth to them; both the Christian afterlife and the Druidic Summer Country are shown to exist, for example, though the Christian version isn't as all-encompassing as it claims to be. Also, the divine magic of the Hindu pantheon plays a significant part in The Serpent's Shadow.
  • Cultured Badass: Lord Peter Almsley, a young gentleman and scholar, proves that he's this when he comes up against the (much larger) town bully in Unnatural Issue. The bully gets pulped, Peter's only injury is sore knuckles from hitting the bully so many times.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Jason Cameron from The Fire Rose is contemptuous of his apprentice's use of magic to cheat at gambling games (in the specific mentioned incident, a cockfight). A genuine Fire Master (which Paul theoretically could become if he actually put some work in) could make a fortune in a few years through completely legal means like he did.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: In Reserved for the Cat, other than the review from La Figaro, the matinee reports focus on the star ballerina's injury and Ninette's performance rated only, "Sujet Ninette Dupond was called upon to replace the etoile and managed a creditable, if sometimes naïve, interpretation." One of the other sujets (soloists) laughs at this and says, "You are damned with faint praise, Ninette."
  • Death by Childbirth: Unnatural Issue begins with Richard Whitestone returning home mere hours after his wife Rebecca succumbs to this. He does not take it well.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Ailse's aforementioned special bullets.
  • Devour the Dragon: In the climax to Phoenix and Ashes. Karmic Death? Oh yeah.
  • Domestic Abuser: Katie Langford's husband, Dick, in Steadfast.
  • Draft Dodging: Warrick Locke's servant/bodyguard Robbie (Phoenix and Ashes) uses his ability to dislocate his shoulders at will to avoid the draft.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The Fire Rose is the only book set in America, includes a Unicorn as a spirit elemental (and includes spirit as an element, for that matter, instead of having psychics), mentions only satyrs, undines, salamanders, and sylphs instead of the multiple kinds of elementals for all four elements, and doesn't distinguish between Light and Dark elementals. The magic system is slightly different—the main character must pass a "test" by summoning and making a pact with an elemental to begin her magical training, and during this the sylph she summons tries to trick her into madness, when in later books no one begins by calling an elemental and sylphs are wholly benevolent unless provoked. It also spells magic as magik, which never happens again. Which brings into question whether it truly counts as part of the series, or is more like a prototype.
  • The Edwardian Era: Time period for most of the novels.
  • Elemental Embodiment: Several. Those with a touch of magic can see them; masters of the corresponding element can command them.
  • Elemental Powers: Most magic in this series is based on the four Western elements.
  • Elemental Tiers: This is alluded to in The Wizard of London when Lady Cordelia is working on her plan to Grand Theft Me David; she thinks that after stealing David's body and powers, "instead of the weak Power of Air [Cordelia's element] behind the Power of Ice, she would have the immense strength of Fire [David's element]."
  • Evil Aunt: Maya's aunt Shivani.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: The ice elementals in The Wizard of London.
  • Evil Is Easy: Paul duMond in The Fire Rose is convinced there's a shortcut to magical power, and turns to the novel's villain when Jason refuses to teach him that "shortcut".
  • Evil Twin: Shivani was Surya's evil twin. She may have killed Surya, definitely killed her husband, and spends the whole book trying to track down and kill Maya as well.
  • Expy: Lord Peter Almsley for Lord Peter Wimsey.
  • Fairy Tale: The plots of all the novels are based off different fairy tales:
  • The Fair Folk: Robin Goodfellow is a very benevolent example, but he's still a mercurial being who operates on Blue and Orange Morality.
  • Fair Weather Mentor: Jason Cameron to Paul du Mond. He knows that this is because Paul simply isn't willing to put in the effort to actually master Fire, but he is meanwhile just taking advantage of Paul's services as a secretary while withholding lessons that Paul wouldn't be able to master anyway. Paul sees him as a full-blown case of this, of course, and turns to another master for lessons; one who is far less scrupulous than Jason.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Jonathon Hightower warns Ninette that she may be facing this, "and I do not mean mere rape".
  • Faux Flame: Part of Jonathon's magic act. Sometimes he doesn't bother to tell his assistants the flames aren't real. Ninette was not amused.
  • Financial Abuse: When Katie's husband Dick finally catches up to her, he lives off of the good salary she gets from her job at the music hall and keeps close track of the money she spends so that she can't hide any away.
    • Alison forgot to make Eleanor's father change his will before she got him killed. She pockets the regular allowance Eleanor gets from the estate, and forces Eleanor to write regular letters to the law firm in charge of the estate asking for additional money for extra expenses.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Doctor Pike has enough female patients falling for him during psychotherapy that he routinely uses his magic to make them fall out of love (or infatuation, at least).
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Maya, Marina, Mari, and Katie fall in love and are engaged within a few months of meeting their love interests, while Charles falls in love and is engaged to an old childhood friend the day after meeting her again at a party. Justified in that they are all Elemental Masters and Mages, which means that they can tell really quickly if someone is right for them or not. Lionel in Steadfast even thinks to himself that he's heard of Mages/Masters meeting for the first time and then eloping the next week in Gretna Green, not having the patience to get a license and post banns first.
  • The Fundamentalist: Shivani and her agents.
  • Gentleman Wizard: Pretty much everyone.
  • The Girl Who Fits This Slipper: Eleanor’s pinky finger gets chopped off by her Wicked Stepmother in the first chapter as part of a binding spell, so when she leaves her gloves behind at the masquerade ball, there's no question about who they belong to. Doesn't stop her stepsister Lauralee from trying, though, and coming out to the hero to claim her gloves still loopy from the painkillers.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: Averted in The Fire Rose — when one of Jason's Salamanders comments that Rosalind is nice-looking despite her glasses, Jason immediately declares that glasses are just another accessory.
    • Inverted as well—without her glasses, Rosalind says that Jason merely looks like a man with a remarkable beard.
  • Grand Theft Me: Lady Cordelia's plan for David Alderscroft.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Maya Witherspoon's mother ran away from her wealthy Brahmin family to wed an English doctor and army officer, so she gets it from both sides.
  • Heal It With Fire: Eleanor uses a fire spell meant to purify whatever it's cast on to "purify" her bloodstream of morphine.
  • Heaven:
    • Exists, but isn't described; the one time it's seen, it's just a glorious light through a gateway. Sarah finds two ghost children, who believed that they were destined for Hell for being bad kids, and opens the road to Heaven for them.
    • The pagan Summerland also serves this function. It's primarily for the dead who followed the old Druidic religion, but in some situations where a Christian ghost can't make it to Heaven but doesn't deserve Hell, the Puck arranges for them to go to Summerland as well.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Richard Whitestone is absolutely convinced that women are mentally inferior to men.
    • Maya Witherspoon, being a doctor in an era when women were seldom encouraged to aspire to anything apart from marrying well and keeping a household, gets a lot of this as well.
    • In fact, it's a recurring theme in the entire series; appropriate considering the era.
  • Hermetic Magic: Several Masters, most notably Fire-aligned Jason, Jonathon and Eleanor, use drawn circles and runes, either to actively work magic or as a means of mental focus.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Aleister Crowley is a disgraced Magician turned con man. The Elemental Masters positively loathe him, but consider him to be a useful idiot for keeping up The Masquerade; as long as people associate Magick with him and his crowd of drug addicts, they'll be less likely to see it as real.
  • Historical In-Joke: Constantly. One of the funniest is an offhand remark about "that incident at Loch Ness" which may give the lake a certain notoriety.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Alison's earth giant turns on her when she runs out of power.
  • Homeschooled Kids: The backstories of several characters in the series include being taught at home by tutors who were themselves Elemental magicians. Considering the time period, this is normal, since many wealthy families hired tutors for their children if they weren't being sent to Eton or some other boarding school.
  • Honor-Related Abuse: Shivani kills her sister Surya and Surya's English husband, as well as trying to kill their daughter, in order to cleanse the shame of Surya's mixed marriage from the family line.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Susanne spends most of Unnatural Issue carrying an intense torch for Charles Kerridge, until she finally has to acknowledge that a) he's in love with someone else and b) he has absolutely no interest in her.
  • Horror Hunger: The Troll in Reserved for the Cat.
  • Hurting Hero: Reggie Fenyx starts Phoenix and Ashes with a combination of broken bones, shell shock, and psychic trauma from extended magical Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Industrialized Evil: Arachne's pottery of Human Sacrifice.
  • In Vino Veritas: Alluded to in The Serpent's Shadow, when Maya Witherspoon brings a young man injured on the orders of one of the book's villains to the Fleet Street Clinic. The head nurse is worried about the attraction he shows to a female medical student/clinic volunteer, until Maya points out that there's just as much truth in a quarter-grain of morphine as there is in wine.
  • Invisible to Normals: Only those with at least a touch of magic can see the Elementals (though normal people can see the affects of them).
  • Irish Travellers: Katie is half Traveller, her mother being a Traveller that was cast out from her clan when she fell in love and eloped with Katie's father, a non-Traveller acrobat that she met at a fair.
  • Life Drain: Alison does it to her solicitor in order to increase her magical power, also to her two daughters. Possibly Shivani, since Peter Scott notes that she looks too young for her twin sister to have a twenty five year old daughter and there are only so many ways to preserve youth.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: The twins sisters in "The Serpent's Shadow". Surya was gentle, loving and maternal (light). Shivani is vicious, vindictive and cruel. Maya as well is light being a doctor and healer.
  • Lower Deck Episode: Steadfast is about lower-level Mages in the seaside city of Brighton, with no Master in sight (though Lord Alderscroft and Lord Peter Almsley are mentioned) until after the whole problem is cleaned up.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Elemental Powers, Psychic Powers, The Fair Folk, and Indian divine magic, among others.
  • Magicians Are Wizards: Jonathon Hightower, an Elemental Master of Fire, is also a skilled stage magician. Most of his stagework is sleight of hand, but he enjoys using "real magic" at least once in each show. Also Lionel Hawkins in Steadfast, who is an Air Magician and has sylphs that help him with his magic acts.
  • Magic Knight: Hunt Master Rosamund von Schwartzwald from Blood Red switches between her considerable Earth Magic and weapons of varying mundaness in her battles with various monsters and/or rogue wizards.
  • Magic Music: One method of summoning.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Maya's parents. Maya and her mother were looked down as inferior by the British ex-Pats in India and barred from pretty much all of the social institutions. And for all that, the British were still more accepting of the marriage than Surya's family was...
  • Master of Illusion: Jonathon.
  • Maternal Death? Blame the Child: In the prologue of Unnatural Issue, Richard Whitestone returns home to find that his wife succumbed to Death by Childbirth a few hours earlier. He blames the baby, Susanne, for the death.
  • Meaningful Name: Marina in The Gates of Sleep and Mari in Home from the Sea, both Water Masters. Also Maya's name means 'illusion' and she is very adept with spells to avert notice. Peter means stone and Peter Scott marries Maya, an Earth Master. The other Peter follows him in Unnatural Issue, with his love interest being also an Earth Master.
    • Eleanor's nickname Ellie is quite similar to Ella for Cinderella, and Reggie's surname Fenyx evokes The Phoenix.
  • Mentor Ship: In Home from the Sea. Mari ends up falling in love with the Selkie sent to be her magic teacher, instead of the Selkies sent to court her.
  • The Mourning After: Richard Whitestone is this in the worst way.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: Inverted with Marina Roeswood – the three godparents who raise her (and the fourth who is brought in to help teach her) are all Elemental Masters.
  • Mundane Utility: Mercedes Lackey is in love with this trope:
    • Earth mages not only use their healing powers to become doctors, but use Earth Magic to handle household tasks such as making cheese.
    • In The Fire Rose, a Fire Master is able to divine fluctuations in the commodity market, while his apprentice bets on a cockfight, then drives his chosen bird berserk to ensure an easy win. Other magical means of acquiring wealth are mentioned; Water Masters make their fortune in shipping, Earth Masters can predict gold strikes, and Air Masters become entertainers.
      • Air Mages/Masters as entertainers are major plot points in Reserved for the Cat and Steadfast. In Reserved for the Cat, Air Master Nigel is the impresario of a music hall and Air Magician Arthur composes and directs the orchestra (with help from Wolfgang). In Steadfast, Lionel is an Air Magician who uses Air Magic to enhance his illusions as a stage magician.
  • Mystical Plague: Alison calls up a disease elemental at one point, and basically tells it to go nuts infecting people. Mercedes Lackey doesn't come out and say Alison just created the 1918 pandemic, but it's certainly implied.
  • Necromancer: Richard Whitestone turns to necromancy following his wife Rebecca's Death by Childbirth.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: After a close call involving her psychotic necromancer father, Susanne Whitestone was bundled off to safety by the White Lodge. To be precise, she was evacuated to a country estate in the Ardennes department of France... in late June 1914.
  • Ninja Maid: No kung-fu, but Ailse McKensie takes on a magical assassin with an iron cookpot.
  • Noble Bigot: Lord David Alderscroft can never quite override his biases against those of lower social classes. He gets manipulated like a puppet by a commoner (and Dark Magician) who did the Henry Higgins thing and took elocution lessons to speak like an upper-class lady.
    • He also tends to treat "women with brains" as rare creatures, as noted in Home From The Sea by Nan. Most of the time he dismisses them and it took a lot to shake him up in that regard to allow ladies into the Lodge.
  • Occupiers out of Our Country: One of Shivani's motivations is to throw the English out of India.
  • Of Corset Hurts: In The Gates of Sleep, after Madame Arachne carries off Marina, her maid forces Marina into tight lacing with the comment "You've never been properly corseted". (Marina eventually figures out how to tense her abdominal muscles to keep her corset from being laced too tightly.) Maya in The Serpent's Shadow and Rose in The Fire Rose also show dislike for wearing corsets, and never laces theirs as tightly as fashion would dicate.
  • One Steve Limit: Lampshaded aversion. Peter Scott and Peter Almsley share the name, Water Mastery, and temperament, and they're thick as thieves, jokingly referring to each other as "twins" because of the shared name and mastery.
  • Only in It for the Money: Ninette's entire motivation, at least at first. Played sympathetically as a matter of survival, not greed.
  • Oop North: Most of Unnatural Issue is set in Yorkshire.
  • Our Angels Are Different: In The Fire Rose, the Unicorn is strongly implied to be this. At the very least, it's a spirit of something other than the four elements, it cannot be coerced by any kind of magic, and it's apparently speaking and acting on behalf of some kind of higher authority.
  • Oxbridge: Several characters have attended or are attending either Oxford or Cambridge. Eleanor Robinson goes to Oxford to study literature at the end of Phoenix and Ashes. In Home from the Sea, a minor character mentions that he is being sponsored at Cambridge by Lord Alderscroft, and when Sarah asks, "What, not Oxford?", he replies that his father was a Cambridge man and the idea of his son attending Oxford made him turn puce.
  • Parasol of Pain: Custom made umbrellas with sharpened tips, reinforced shafts comparable to crowbars, and hidden compartments in the handle are mentioned in more than one book as discreetly martial accessories for ladies.
  • Parental Abandonment: All over the place. But then, it's also common in the source material.
    • Subverted with Thomas, who is actually Ninette’s missing father.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Robin Goodfellow states it: "Evil to him who evil does, I say!"
  • Post Modern Magic: Dr Witherspoon's arcane talents and senses are invaluable in determining what newnote  medical theories actually work, while her knowledge of anatomy and the process of the disease enables her application of Healing Hands to properly cure a case of Tuberculosis.
  • Public Domain Character: Susanne Whitestone gets magic lessons from no less than Robin Goodfellow. Robin also makes appearances in The Wizard of London and Home from the Sea.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Paul du Mond from The Fire Rose is a bad man, and one of the ways that this is made abundantly clear is that he essentially works as a professional rapistnote , turning poor Mexican and East Coast girls into properly-broken San Francisco prostitutes.
  • Real Name as an Alias: When Peter Almsley goes undercover as a gamekeeper in order to befriend Susanne, with his friend and valet Garrick pretending to be his scholarly half-brother, Peter uses his middle name Devlin as his last name, while Garrick uses his middle name Clive as his first.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • When forced to be, Lord Alderscroft is this, being the stern patriarch of the Exeter Club and the one man who's most responsible for keeping rogue mages from running wild in England and maintaining good relations with the local elementals. However, while he can be trusted to do the right thing in the end, until then, he's often not much help.
    • Unnatural Issue explains that this is in a gamekeeper's job description. Theoretically, a gamekeeper is supposed to prevent all illegal poaching on his lord's land, but actually enforcing this just leads to a messy, covert war that benefits nobody. Both Robin Goodfellow and Peter Almsley, when they take on the job, instead confine themselves to ensuring that nobody overhunts the land they're responsible for. (Of course, in Robin's case, it helps that he couldn't care less about game laws, only about the good of the land.)
  • Religion Is Magic: The Hindu gods are very active in The Serpent's Shadow. Furthermore, Christian holy relics (such as lead from a church roof) are effective against dark magic. The pagan gods of England are also quite active, but they're seen as another variety of Fair Folk or Elemental spirit, rather than something truly different.
  • A Round of Drinks for the House:
    • In Reserved for the Cat, Jonathan pretends to be someone who just won a lot of money and is buying rounds to celebrate as a way to keep a reporter occupied while Thomas and Wolf search the reporter's apartment.
    • In Phoenix and Ashes, Reginald routinely offers to buy rounds at the local pub. He's loaded and knows that the guys he befriended there could use a drink since many of them (like him) were sent home after being injured in World War I.
    • In Unnatural Issue, when Lord Peter Almsley is masquerading as a gameskeeper, it is mentioned that he endeared himself to the regulars at the local pub in the proper manner by buying the house a round.
  • San Francisco: Primary setting of The Fire Rose.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: The Fire Rose mentions that whale and dolphin Water Masters are known to exist.
  • Selkies and Wereseals: In Home from the Sea. The main character has to marry a Selkie to fulfill a bargain her family made centuries ago.
  • Shapeshifter Showdown:
    • Marina and Arachne throw down in the climax of The Gates of Sleep.
    • Alluded to in Reserved for the Cat. Thomas lost.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Eleanor Robinson, not surprising considering that Phoenix and Ashes is a "Cinderella" reworking.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Reggie Fenyx and his fellows in Phoenix and Ashes.
  • Shout-Out: Lord Peter Almsley is what Lord Peter Wimsey would be like if Dorothy Sayers had given him magical powers.
    • In Home from the Sea, when Nan and Sarah are telling their former teacher about their trip in Africa, they mention that they were helped in Egypt by a lady who is known as "Sitt Hakim" and from the rest of her description is clearly Amelia Peabody.
  • Silver Bullet: Ninette's maid Ailse carries with her at all times a revolver loaded with Cold Iron, silver, and Blessed Lead bullets. Ninette later gets a revolver of her own with those bullets and learns how to shoot it.
  • Smoky Gentlemen's Club: The Exeter Club passes itself off as one of these (going so far as to hire pensioned-off male servants to sit in the padded leather chairs and read the newspaper or nap) as a cover.
  • The Soulsaver: Part of Sarah's job as a medium is to help ghosts, who are shown to exist in a gray, dreary limbo, move on to Heaven or the Summer Country (depending on their religion).
  • Spot Monkey: After Ninette's performance in La Sylphide at the beginning of Reserved for the Cat, one reviewer compliments her for avoiding this trope and making the Sylph's death scene brief. The injured ballerina Ninette was filling in for was notorious for dragging the death out so long the orchestra had to start repeating measures.
  • Stigmatic Pregnancy Euphemism: Alluded to in The Gates of Sleep. Doctor Pike does not treat cases of "nerves" that result in childbirth a few months later.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Susanne Whitestone looks almost exactly like her mother...which unfortunately attracts the wrong kind of attention from her father.
  • The Svengali: Jason Cameron is a mild example of this to Paul du Mond. He's using Paul as an agent while theoretically teaching him Fire Magic, but he knows damn well that his teaching isn't doing Paul any good because the man won't apply himself. While he doesn't lie to Paul, he's happy to let him lie to himself, and he's planning to discard Paul the first chance he gets.
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: Jonathon Hightower in Reserved for the Cat. He loses some of the arrogance but keeps the snark.
  • Talking Animal: Wolfgang, Maya’s seven "pets" when possessed by the Hindu gods they’re associated with. Thomas doesn’t qualify, as he can only speak mind-to-mind, and only to those with some degree of magical ability.
  • Tarot Motifs: Eleanor's magical instruction in Phoenix and Ashes.
  • Timmy in a Well: Thomas the cat alerts Nigel and Arthur that his mistress Ninette is in trouble. The sensational account makes the papers, with the story changed so that the cat runs for help, finds the two men, and leads them to her, as per the trope. (Thomas is disgusted to be portrayed so doggishly.)
  • Title Drop: The last four words of Reserved for the Cat. Home from the Sea does the same thing.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Katie's teachers impress this rule on her to keep her from solving the problem of her abusive husband by just burning him down, because it would destroy the innocence of her Elementals and possibly lead her down the dark path.
  • Training The Gift Of Magic: Marina specifically points out in The Gates of Sleep that while she may have the potential to be an Elemental Master, she doesn't have the training to claim that title.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Jason Cameron's worldview in The Fire Rose, inherited from his own Master. He's not exactly a good person, but he believes in being a good shepherd to the lower classes because well-fed poor work better and don't start riots. It's essentially Pragmatic Villainy taken to the point where he doesn't need to be a villain.
  • The Vamp: Alison Robinson, she got where she is by using and destroying men. Her daughters try but they are nowhere effective enough.
  • Victorian London: The setting/period for The Wizard of London, chronologically (though not in publication order) the earliest of the novels.
  • Waif-Fu: Ninette. She's a ballerina, but, as she herself points out, ballet builds muscle.
  • War Is Hell: This is a major theme in Phoenix and Ashes and Unnatural Issue. WWI has severe negative effects on the characters who are soldiers, as well as those on the home front.
  • While You Were in Diapers: In Reserved for the Cat, Thomas loses patience with Jonathon's snarking.
    Do not mock me, Jemmie Hightower. And keep a civil tongue in your head. I knew your uncle, and I knew you when you were still in nappies.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Alison Robinson to her stepdaughter Eleanor full stop, she even has two spoiled, cruel daughters.
  • Widow's Weeds: Maya is introduced wearing mourning for her recently deceased parents, and plans to prolong the year of mourning as long as possible, since even a brute would hesitate to insult a woman of mixed race if she's in mourning. Marina is provided with an all-black wardrobe by her aunt, Madam Arachnia, and thinks to herself that she would end up looking like Queen Victoria or a would-be Gothic poetess by the time her period of mourning ends. Technically, as a young unmarried woman, she could wear mauve, lavender, or violet during mourning without offending anyone, but her aunt obviously thinks otherwise.
  • The Wild Hunt: Puck calls for it to take an evil ghost in The Wizard of London. It's never properly described, but some characters refer to becoming its prisoner as worse than going to Hell.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Lady Cordelia doesn't settle for simply hurting orphans and street children—that would be far too crude. She kills them, then enslaves their souls.
  • World War I: Setting/period for Phoenix and Ashes and Unnatural Issue.

Eighth Doctor AdventuresLiterature of the 1990sElianto
The Turning PointBallet    
Elemental LogicFantasy LiteratureThe Elenium
Eighth Doctor AdventuresUsefulNotes/World War IDracula
Elemental AssassinUrban FantasyEveryman
The EgyptianHistorical Fiction LiteratureThe Emigrants

alternative title(s): Elemental Masters
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