The novels in the ''Elemental Masters'' series, by Creator/MercedesLackey, 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'' (Literature/SnowWhite)
* ''The Gates of Sleep'' (Literature/SleepingBeauty)
* ''Phoenix and Ashes'' (Literature/{{Cinderella}})
* ''The Wizard of London'' (Literature/TheSnowQueen)
* ''Reserved for the Cat'' (Literature/PussInBoots)
* ''Unnatural Issue'' (Literature/{{Donkeyskin}})
* ''Home from the Sea'' (Literature/TamLin)
* ''Elemental Magic'' - An anthology similar to the ones for the ''Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar'' series, except about Elemental Masters and Magicians.
* ''Steadfast'' (Literature/TheSteadfastTinSoldier)
* ''Elementary'' - Another anthology
* ''Blood Red'' (Literature/RedRidingHood)
* ''From a High Tower'' (Literature/{{Rapunzel}})
* ''A Study In Sable'' ([[Literature/ChildBallads The Twa Sisters]])
* ''A Scandal in Battersea'' (Literature/ThePiedPiperOfHamelin)

''The Fire Rose'' (Literature/BeautyAndTheBeast) 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[[note]] Essentially making it somewhat like a prototype [[/note]]), 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.

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!! This series provides examples of:

* ABoyAndHisX:
** Nan and Sarah from ''The Wizard of London'',''Home from the Sea'',''Study in Sable'' and ''Scandal in Battersea'' have familiars, Neville the raven and Grey the parrot, respectively.
** ''Reserved For The Cat'''s Ninette has Thomas, though that's a bit more complex since [[spoiler:he's not an elemental creature but her own father under BalefulPolymorph.]]
* AccidentalMurder: All Giselle and her Air Elementals planned to do was cut off the breath of the officer accusing her of DraftDodging (or raping her once he determined that she really was pulling a SweetPollyOliver in order to win sharpshooting contests) until he passed out. Despite the local Earth Mage confirming that the officer had been teetering on the edge of a stroke for years and wasn't liked by those that knew him, Giselle is still plagued by guilt throughout the book.
* AcquiredPoisonImmunity: 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.
* ActionGirl: 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 NoGuyWantsAnAmazon. Rosamund von Schwarzwald is the real champion of this though. She goes out and kills blood mages for a living.
** Then in ''From a High Tower'' she mentors Giselle through the last stages of her CharacterDevelopment from ActionSurvivor to full-fledged Action Girl.
** Several of the women in the series are this. Most of the rest fit under ActionSurvivor instead.
* AlchemicElementals: 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.
* AlcoholicParent:
** Nan's mother spends what money she manages to earn as a street walker or Nan can get by begging on gin (and sometimes other drugs).
** In ''The Fire Rose'', Jason Cameron's father became an alcoholic as a result of losing his wife and home to the Great Chicago Fire. He eventually abandons his son when Jason falls ill with typhoid, tying him to a house gate to keep him from following.
* AllTrollsAreDifferent:
** Alison drains the life energy from her daughters and solicitor to summon one to kill her stepdaughter Eleanor and Reggie Fenyx in ''Phoenix and Ashes''.
** 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.
** The standard fairy tale type of troll (made of rock, turns to stone when exposed to sunlight, guards bridges, and eats goats) appear in ''From a High Tower''. One, named Pieter, was apparently taught to be good, as he helps out the Bruderschaft.
* AmbiguouslyEvil: We don't know ''what'' is up with [[spoiler: Kali Durga]]. [[spoiler: 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 HumanSacrifice in the normal course of business; Shivani's death may be a case of EvenEvilHasStandards or GoodAllAlong.]]
* AnimalJingoism: Thomas may have been human-born, but he takes pride in being a cat and, at one point, is disgusted when the media portrays his saving Ninette as a TimmyInAWell situation.
* ArbitrarySkepticism: After having the existence of PsychicPowers proven to him, Sherlock Holmes very deliberately avoids finding evidence of ElementalMagic, and wants nothing to do with it. This is doubly funny because, while both kinds of magic run on MagicAIsMagicA and can be scientifically verified and studied, Holmes still sees one as scientific and the other...not so much.
* ArrangedMarriage:
** Arranged marriages are common in the series among upper-class mages. The reasoning is that it's best to marry someone you won't have to hide your Elemental magic from, and if you get along well with him/her that's a bonus.
** The generations-long pact between the Protheros and the Selch in ''Home from the Sea'' makes each Prothero part of an arranged marriage.
** 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. The villagers think that it's a forced marriage, which is why they absolutely have to close ranks behind Dafydd. They may not want to arrange their children's marriages, but the principle that an arrangement is a direct command from God has to be protected.
* BackAlleyDoctor: 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).
* BalefulPolymorph:
** Jason Cameron (though he [[IdiotBall did it to himself]])
** In ''Reserved For The Cat'' it turns out that [[spoiler: the titular cat, Thomas, is actually Ninette's cursed Earth Master father. He only tells Jonathon as a matter of trust and necessity and does not wish Ninette to know the truth.]]
** Wolfgang would probably count himself here as well, though he’s more of a changed-species {{Reincarnation}}.
* BeastAndBeauty: ''The Fire Rose'' is based on "Literature/BeautyAndTheBeast", and features a pretty female scholar hired by a magician who has been shifted into a half-wolf form.
* BedlamHouse:
** In ''Phoenix and Ashes'', [[WickedStepmother Allison]] intends to have her orphaned step-daughter [[Literature/{{Cinderella}} Eleanor]] locked up in an asylum like this in order to [[GoldDigger get control of her fortune]].
** Defied and Invoked in ''The Gates of Sleep''. Physician and Earth Master Andrew Pike tries to help the both the charity cases and the upper-class paying patients[[note]]mainly women burned out on social obligations, but he keeps a close eye out for worse issues[[/note]] he milks for operating funds to the best of his knowledge and [[PostModernMagik power]] at the sanitarium he set up, but when summoned to the bedside of half-trained Water Mage Marina Rosewood in a [[Literature/SleepingBeauty magical coma]] by her [[EvilUncle suspiciously unconcerned aunt]] he pretends he never met her[[note]]she had been helping him with a breakthrough in treating lead poisoning[[/note]] and plays a vaguely sociopathic experimenter stereotype to the hilt in order to get her out of there without arousing suspicion.
* BehindEveryGreatMan: 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.
* BigScrewedUpFamily: The Transylvanian [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent shifter]] clan in ''Blood Red''. All of them are the children of a sorcerer/shifter and [[ParentalIncest his daughters]]. The resulting genetic damage is more obvious than you would normally see with one or two inbred generations; Rosamund suspects the alpha's use of Blood Magic to ensure fertility is speeding up matters.
* BitchAlert: Alison, Carolyn, and Lauralee throw enough bitchiness to fill a kennel in the very first chapter of ''Phoenix and Ashes''.
* BlackMagic: The majority of villains are using some form of this. We don't see a systematic treatment of the subject, as (obviously) no protagonists practice the black arts, but we get some hints. It can be used by those without magical power of their own through BloodMagic (though full magicians can use that more easily), it can allow any mage to compel spirits regardless of their element, and also allows dealing with elementals of the Dark, such as ice elementals and trolls. Most (but not all) {{Necromancy}} is done through BlackMagic, with Richard Whitestone (a fallen Earth Master) being the standout example, able to raise the dead on an industrial scale.
* BlackWidow: Alison – Eleanor's father and the father of the stepsisters were merely the bookends of a long career of using and killing men.
* BlindWithoutEm: Rosalind Hawkins from ''The Fire Rose'' has to wear glasses. She isn't shown as ever losing them. However, she is required to take them off for a ritual to Summon (or rather cajole) a {{Unicorn}} (an Elemental of Spirit), and is annoyed that she can't see much of anything. (The Unicorn looks like a white, blurry shape when it appears.)
* BlowYouAway: Air Masters/mages such as Nigel Barrett (''Reserved for the Cat''), Reginald Fenyx (''Phoenix and Ashes''), Rosalind Hawkins (''The Fire Rose''), Lionel Hawkins (''Steadfast''), and Giselle Schnittel (''From a High Tower''). Wind mages, unless they are ''very'' powerful, aren't much good in combat, but they can feed energy to fire mages, who are ''excellent'' at it. They are, however, excellent for spying and surveillance.
* BookcasePassage: Richard Whitestone's secret library and Work Room are concealed this way.
* BookOnTheHead: In ''The Gates of Sleep'', Arachne's maid was told to make Marina walk with a book on her head. She doesn't, because Marina already has excellent posture.
* CandlelitRitual: In ''Phoenix and Ashes'', Alison uses modern (for 1918) flashlights to set up a ritual and to clean up afterwards, but during the ritual itself the only light comes from candles.
* CannibalismSuperPower: The Troll in ''Reserved for the Cat'' can and has eaten many people, which then allows her to take on the form of the person and access their knowledge. She can also take on the forms of animals, though it isn't stated if she had to eat them as well.
* CanonWelding: Mercedes Lackey wrote several stories about Sarah, Grey, Nan and Neville before she came up with the Elemental Masters series; at least two of these stories make up a large portion of ''The Wizard of London''.
* {{Catchphrase}}: When other people comment on the fact that raven Neville or parrot Grey can talk, they always respond with , "I can talk. Can you fly?"
* CatsAreSnarkers: Thomas the cat in ''Reserved for the Cat''. He's a victim of an InvoluntaryTransformation, not a native feline, but there seems to be a certain psychological MorphicResonance.
* CharmPerson: Ninette has a touch of this ability.
* ChessmasterSidekick: Thomas the cat in the "Puss in Boots" retelling ''Reserved for the Cat''.
* ChildProdigy: A minor character in ''The Gates of Sleep'' is a child chess prodigy who was driven into a mental breakdown by his father (who was [[FinancialAbuse living off the fees he charged for the kid's exhibition games]]).
* CinderellaCircumstances: Eleanor in ''Phoenix and Ashes'' is magically bound to the house so her stepmother can treat her as a slave and use her family fortune.
* ColorCodedElements: In the Western (Greco-Roman) tradition, Fire is red, Air is blue, Earth is yellow, and Water is green.
* CombatParkour: Nina from ''Reserved for the Cat''; she's a trained ballerina, and knows that jumps, spins, and kicks can be useful both in dancing and fighting.
* CombatPragmatist: Rosamund von Schwarzwald ''in spades''. When helping a Water Mage fleeing an Air Master who went to the bad, she gets them out of the way of innocents to lure the Air Master out. While the Air Master sneers at the Water Mage for having to hide behind a woman's skirts, Rosamund [[spoiler: kills the Air Master with a well-aimed throwing knife and calmly lectures the gawking Water Mage about the efficacy of physical, mundane attacks on magic-users.]]
* ConvenientSlowDance: In ''Phoenix and Ashes'', when Reggie and Eleanor step onto the dance floor, the band not only switches to a slow waltz, but wraps up the music as soon as Reggie needs to take a break from dancing. Probably justified; Reggie is still recovering from a leg injury, and ''can't'' dance fast dances or for very long. If he didn't warn the band ahead of time, his godmother (who hired them) most likely would have.
* CountryMouse: Rosamund comes across as this early in ''Blood Red'', being a forester from the Schwarzvald. Her patron the Graf enjoys this about her, but makes sure to give her a bit of an education in being a classy lady too, because her skills have earned her a continent-spanning reputation and she needs to be able to deal with White Lodges from Paris to Belgrade.
* CrazyPrepared:
** 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.
** Whenever Rosamund goes on an extended journey, she takes along a large trunk for her silver-lined armor, swords, knives, axes, mace, crossbows, morning-star, pistols, shotgun, [[SilverBullet ammo]]....
* CreepyGood: Spirit Mages and mediums, whose powers specialize in dealing with ghosts, but who focus on constructive activities like dealing with haunts and helping restless spirits find closure.
* CropCircles: In one of the books in the series, it's mentioned that while a non-mage can't see any of the Elementals, they can see the effects, among which are crop circles.
* CrossoverCosmology: 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''.
* CulturedBadass:
** 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.
** Nan likes Kipling's work and is a voracious reader. She's also an ex StreetUrchin who is, despite her age, capable of (temporarily) assuming her Warrior of Light aspect. And that's when she's a [[LittleMissBadass kid]]. Heaven help you if you anger her when she's an adult...
* CutLexLuthorACheck: 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 Jason did.
* DamnedByFaintPraise: 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."
* DanceBattler: In ''Reserved for the Cat'', the heroine, a trained ballerina, is being given some lessons in basic self-defense. Her strength and flexibility make her better than her teachers think she'd be, and in addition she is able to all on her own develop a self-defense application to at least one of her dance moves.
* DealWithTheDevil: In ''The Gates of Sleep'', Reginald Chamberten made a formal pact with His Infernal Majesty sometime in his backstory.
* DeathByChildbirth: ''Unnatural Issue'' begins with Richard Whitestone returning home mere hours after his wife Rebecca succumbs to this. He does ''not'' take it well.
* DepletedPhlebotinumShells:
** Ailse's aforementioned special bullets.
** In ''Reserved for the Cat'', the heroine carries a revolver loaded with two ColdIron bullets, two {{Silver Bullet}}s, and two Blessed Lead bullets, plus extra ammo of all three types. It's anyone's guess which type offed the mystical BigBad at the end of the novel.
** In ''Unnatural Issue'', the Kerridge family have similar bullets for their shotguns, and they along with their friend Peter and his valet Garrick also have shotgun shells filled with [[SaltSolution blessed salt to take down the undead]].
* DevourTheDragon: In the climax to ''Phoenix and Ashes'', [[spoiler:the wicked stepmother drains her lawyer/sidekick/future son-in-law completely of life, and drains her two daughters until they are aged, withered, senile husks of their former selves]].
* DidTheEarthMoveForYouToo: The back-cover blurb for ''The Fire Rose'' ends with the statement that the female lead comes to love the male lead, "And -- the earth moves..." Of course, this ''is'' 1906 in California, so along with any pleasure the two may take in one another, the earth is moving because of the big San Francisco quake.
* DishingOutDirt: Earth Masters, though a few use their powers more for healing than for combat.
* DomesticAbuse: In ''Steadfast'', Katie Langford runs away from the circus she works at to escape her abusive and brutish husband Dick, the circus strongman.
* DraftDodging: Warrick Locke's servant/bodyguard Robbie (''Phoenix and Ashes'') uses his ability to dislocate his shoulders at will to avoid the draft.
* DudeNotFunny: In ''The Serpent's Shadow'', Maya has to deal with catcalling UpperClassTwit observers when trying to remove [[RupturedAppendix an inflamed appendix]] on a pregnant Irishwoman without excising the uterus, respecting [[GoodGirlsAvoidAbortion her beliefs]] on the matter. However, when Simon Parkening says that "one less Irish bitch pumping out litters of whelps" won't matter anyway, the catcalls and mockery die down and one of his fellows calls him out of order.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: ''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 magick, which never happens again. Which brings into question whether it truly counts as part of the series, or is more like a prototype.
* TheEdwardianEra: Time period for most of the novels.
* ElementalEmbodiment: Several. Those with a touch of magic can see them; masters of the corresponding element can command them.
* ElementNumberFive: The element of "Spirit" is mentioned in ''The Fire Rose'' and later in ''Blood Red'' (and briefly in ''The Serpent's Shadow'', albeit from the perspective of a non-Elemental Indian mage). There aren't specifically any Spirit Mages, though there are [[PsychicPowers psychics]] that seem to be related to the element, and the Unicorn (a Spirit Elemental) is implied to be an [[OurAngelsAreDifferent angel]]. There are heavy implications that the element is linked to the Abrahamic {{God}} and to {{Heaven}}.
** A Spirit Master finally appears in ''A Study In Sable'' and they seem to be necromancers in the more traditional fashion - that is, those who speak and communicate with ghosts, as well as empower them and do limited magic to do with ghosts. The exact abilities - and what makes them different from mediums, aside from not being able to open "gates" to the after life - are not explained.
* ElementalPowers: Most magic in this series is based on the four Western elements.
* ElementalRockPaperScissors: It's more complicated than a simple rock-paper-scissors arrangement, but present. In particular, Earth and Air, and Fire and Water, are opposed - normally, a magician of one Element can't do anything with the opposing Element, but can work with the ones to the side to a limited degree. Rosamund von Schwarzvald is an exceptional case; she's an Earth Master, but Air elementals (even greater elementals) talk to her and work with her freely, and she can and does teach a fledgling Air Master.
* ElementalTiers: This is alluded to in ''The Wizard of London'' when Lady Cordelia is working on her plan to GrandTheftMe 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]."
* TheEmpath: Ninette (''Reserved For The Cat'') turns out to have this power. A very useful power for a ballet dancer; she can "feed" the audience and they "feed" her back. It also means, that if anyone has ill intent on her, she knows. [[spoiler: And the events that lead up to the climax suggest that if she knows someone enough her power can warn her when they are in danger.]]
* EvenTheGirlsWantHer: In ''From a High Tower'', Rosamund mentions that she had to deal with another girl who'd "gotten a pash" on her.
* EvilUncle:
** Maya's aunt Shivani.
** Marina's aunt Arachne in ''The Gates of Sleep''.
* EvilDiva: Magdelena in ''A Study In Sable''.
* EvilIsDeathlyCold: The ice elementals in ''The Wizard of London''. ''From a High Tower'' establishes that all forms of cold elemental are AlwaysChaoticEvil in a way that even ''trolls'' aren't.
* EvilIsEasy: 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".
* EvilTwin: 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 Literature/LordPeterWimsey. Early fan speculation was swiftly confirmed by WordOfGod.
* FairyTale: The plots of all the novels are based off different fairy tales:
** ''The Fire Rose''= "Literature/BeautyAndTheBeast"
** ''Serpent's Shadow'' = "Literature/SnowWhite"
** ''Gates of Sleep'' = "Literature/SleepingBeauty"
** ''Phoenix and Ashes'' = "Literature/{{Cinderella}}"
** ''Wizard of London'' = "Literature/TheSnowQueen"
** ''Reserved for the Cat'' = "Literature/PussInBoots"
** ''Unnatural Issue'' = "Literature/{{Donkeyskin}}"
** ''Home from the Sea'' = "Literature/TamLin" and "The Selkie of Skule Skerry"
** One of the stories from ''Elemental Magic'' is based on "Literature/{{Rapunzel}}"
*** Another example from ''Elemental Magic'': "The Glass Coffin".
** ''Steadfast'' = "Literature/TheSteadfastTinSoldier"
** ''Blood Red'' = "Literature/LittleRedRidingHood"
** In ''Elementary'', one story is based on "Literature/HanselAndGretel" (but in a good way), another on "Literature/SnowWhiteAndRoseRed", and a third on "Literature/LittleRedRidingHood" - this last is noteworthy as it has now become the first chapter of ''Blood Red''.
** ''From a High Tower'' features a retelling of '"Literature/{{Rapunzel}}"'s not-so-happily-ever-after ending. Also, at one point, Giselle and Rosa have to stop a "Literature/HanselAndGretel" story.
** ''A Study In Sable'' is [[Literature/ChildBallads The Twa Sisters]].
** ''A Scandal in Battersea'' is loosely based on "Literature/ThePiedPiperOfHamelin".
* TheFairFolk: Robin Goodfellow is a very benevolent example, but he's still a mercurial being who operates on BlueAndOrangeMorality.
* FairWeatherMentor: Jason Cameron is a downplayed example 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; he's completely honest with Paul about this, but he also knows that Paul won't believe the truth. 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.
* FallenHero: Richard Whitestone, the White Lodge's foremost necromancer-hunter, lost his mind after his wife's DeathByChildbirth and turned his interests to BlackMagic.
* FateWorseThanDeath: Jonathon Hightower warns Ninette that she may be facing this, "and I do not mean mere rape".
* FauxFlame: Part of Jonathon's magic act. Sometimes he doesn't bother to tell his assistants the flames aren't real. Ninette was ''not'' amused.
* FightsLikeANormal: This is Rosamund's favored tactic against evil wizards. As she explains, they're expecting to defend against magic, and a flying tackle followed by a dagger stab is not something they'll have a ward against.
* FinancialAbuse:
** [[spoiler: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.
** A minor character in ''The Gates of Sleep'' was a child chess prodigy whose father forced him to play exhibition games for money until the kid had a nervous breakdown. (After Dr. Pike brings the boy out of it, he teaches the boy how to pretend his breakdown removed his chess skills -- meaning the boy won't be abused this way again.)
* FireKeepsItDead: In ''Unnatural Issue'', when a Hunting Party finds that Richard Whitestone has killed and reanimated all his servants, the Fire mages in the group chase everyone else outside and summon salamanders to cremate the bodies.
* FlorenceNightingaleEffect:
** 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).
** Classic example with [[BetaCouple Doctor Amelia and Paul Jenner]].
** Susanne Whitestone hopes to invoke this on her crush, Charles, when she finds him in the London hospital she's volunteering at; unfortunately he turns out to already be engaged. Actually, it's ''fortunately'', because it turns out Charles isn't nearly as compatible with Suzanne as she previously thought, due to her CharacterGrowth from her frontline nursing duties in WWI.
* ForceFeeding: Learning that this was being done to the suffragettes is what prompted Maya to publicly join their cause in ''The Serpent's Shadow''.
* FourthDateMarriage: 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|Trope}} 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.
** To be fair, in Marina's case, her groom-to-be insists that she be introduced to society and have a proper Season in London, where she could have the chance to make another match (given their social differences). She ends up having two Seasons - and comes back to marry him anyways.
* TheFundamentalist: Shivani and her agents.
* GentlemanWizard: Pretty much everyone.
* GirlsWithMoustaches: Katie lives at a theatrical boarding house for ladies that is run by a bearded lady named Mrs. Baird, who was a former performer.
* TheGirlWhoFitsThisSlipper: Eleanor’s pinky finger gets chopped off by her WickedStepmother 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.
* TheGlassesGottaGo: 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.
* GodWasMyCopilot: In ''The Serpent's Shadow'', Maya's Indian pets are all avatars of Hindu gods and goddesses. They manifest powers in the finale; most notably, Charam the monkey turns into Hanuman himself, complete with spear.
* GoodGirlsAvoidAbortion: In ''The Serpent's Shadow'', this becomes an issue when Maya has to operate on a pregnant Irishwoman with an inflamed appendix. It's mentioned that most doctors would just remove the uterus and fetus to get them out of the way, but Maya respects her patient's Catholic beliefs enough to work around them, to the disdain of the watching students.
* GoodIsNotNice: Rosamund is a reasonably friendly woman when she's off the clock, but she's not off the clock very often. She is (at first) [[NobleBigot prejudiced against werewolves]] for understandable reasons, and even after that, she takes a fair amount of ''joy'', as well as pride, in killing bad magicians. She also doesn't ask permission before getting involved in things, such as attaching herself to Cody's travelling show on the off chance that it ends up kicking a hornet's nest (though in her defense, it's the ''[[TheLostWoods Black Forest]]'' and not a place for an untrained magician to be travelling unescorted).
* GrandTheftMe:
** Lady Cordelia's plan for David Alderscroft. Her primary aim is to gain the political power she can't claim in a female body, but it's indicated that she will also use this technique to become immortal (by moving into new bodies on a regular basis).
** An interesting variant in ''Unnatural Issue'': Richard Whitestone intends to summon his wife's soul from beyond death, and install it into their daughter's body... Grand Theft Her, maybe?
** The climax of ''A Study in Sable'' is a borderline example. [[spoiler:Johanna's ghost seizing her sister Magdalena's body upon helping send the murderess to her reward was clearly not planned ahead of time and surprised everyone, but it is unclear whether it was a complete accident or a 'might not work but what do I have left to lose' impulse.]]
* HadToBeSharp: "Gunther von Weber's" cover story. A young man who travels Germany's shooting competitions, "he" explains his phenomenal skill as coming from taking care of his mother, having to protect their animals and put game in the pot; "don't hit, don't eat." Actually, Gisette is...embroidering the truth a bit; her skill is largely from being a MageMarksman.
* HalfBreedDiscrimination:
** 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.
** Katie is half [[UsefulNotes/IrishTravellers 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.
* HateSink:
** Simon Parkening in ''The Serpent's Shadow'' is [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain racist, misogynistic]], an [[BadBoss abusive employer]], and [[EvilIsPetty spiteful to an extreme]]. While he has the rank and privilege to make life difficult for the good guys, he's also a TooDumbToLive SmugSnake who insults his (female, Indian) occult adviser when he ''knows'' that magic is real and that she's better at it than he is.
** Reggie's grandfather in ''Phoenix And Ashes'', due to his extremely abrasive personality (with no HiddenHeartOfGold in evidence) and complete lack of sympathy for Reggie's PTSD.
** The bullying constable Ewynnog in ''Home From The Sea'', who seems to function as this in-universe as well. Nobody respects him but he has too much authority for people to be able to dismiss him entirely.
** [[MeaningfulName Dick]] Langford, Katie's [[DomesticAbuse abusive]], [[TheAlcoholic drunkard]] [[LowerClassLout lout]] of a husband.
* HealItWithFire: Eleanor uses a fire spell meant to purify whatever it's cast on to "purify" her bloodstream of morphine.
* {{Heaven}}:
** [[spoiler: Exists, but isn't described; the one time it's seen, it's just a glorious light through a gateway. Sarah finds two [[ChildrenAreInnocent 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.
* HeManWomanHater: 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 eras (Victorian, Edwardian, World War I). But never considered a good thing in the narrative.
* HermeticMagic: 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.
* HermitGuru: In ''Phoenix and Ashes'', Eleanor's teacher is an Elemental spirit who takes the form of a hermit (specifically, The Hermit from the Rider-Waite Tarot) for purposes of dream-instruction.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: Peter Almsley gets a lot of elements of this in ''Serpent's Shadow'', with his work off-the-page on Maya and Peter's part, and the epilogue consists of a letter from him to his Grandmother. Becomes literally true in ''Unnatural Issue''.
** In fact, Peter Almsley is a clear pastiche of [[LordPeterWimsey Lord Peter Wimsey]]. He looks the same, has the same mannerisms, is a Duke's son who has a stupid brother, and the like. In fact, the final letters in ''Serpent's Shadow'' are almost exact duplicates of the letters which begin ''Busman's Honeymoon''.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Nan and Sarah, who are practically inseparable both personally and professionally. In ''A Study In Sable'' they're even [[HasTwoMommies raising their orphan protege together]].
* HistoricalDomainCharacter:
** UsefulNotes/AleisterCrowley is a disgraced Magician turned con man. The Elemental Masters positively loathe him, but consider him to be a useful idiot for keeping up TheMasquerade; as long as people associate Magick with him and his crowd of drug addicts, they'll be less likely to see it as real.
** William F Cody, AKA Buffalo Bill, is mentioned several times in ''From a High Tower''; his 'Buffalo Bill Wild West Show' (which really did tour Germany during the time frame of the novel) is referenced by Captain Cody Lee's show (as a reason why they aren't going to the same places that Buffalo Bill did, because when they did in France, it turned out to be a financial disaster).
* HistoricalInJoke: Constantly. One of the funniest is an offhand remark about "that incident at Loch Ness" which may give the lake a certain notoriety.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Alison's earth giant turns on her when she runs out of power.
* HolierThanThou: Characters in ''The Serpent's Shadow'' have a few sharp words for churchmen who think that charity should only be given to "the deserving poor" who adhere to middle-class values despite being unable to afford them. Maya is introduced to a bishop who turns out to be an [[AvertedTrope aversion]], being a genuinely kind man with a lively sense of humor.
* HomeschooledKids: 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.
* HonorRelatedAbuse: 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.
* HookedUpAfterwards: Suggested for Jonathon and Ninette.
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Norry from "Serpent's Shadow." She also moonlights as a pickpocket.
* HopelessSuitor: 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.
* HorrorHunger: The Troll in ''Reserved for the Cat''.
* HurtingHero: Reggie Fenyx starts ''Phoenix and Ashes'' with a combination of broken bones, shell shock, and psychic trauma from extended magical ColdBloodedTorture.
* AnIcePerson: In ''The Wizard of London'', after her pact with the Ice Dragon, Lady Cordelia is basically a mage version of this. David is well on his way to becoming one as well.
* IndustrializedEvil: Arachne's potteries are "Satanic mills" in the most literal sense, poisoning their workers as a form of HumanSacrifice.
* InterspeciesRomance: ''The Fire Rose'' deals with the romance between a human and an [[spoiler:involuntarily transformed sorcerer]] anthro [[WolfMan wolf]].
* IntoxicationEnsues: The fake medium in ''The Wizard of London'' uses hashish-laced incense during her seances. The unknowingly-drugged clients are much easier for her to fool.
* InVinoVeritas: 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.
* InvisibleToNormals: Only those with at least a touch of magic can see the Elementals (though normal people can see the effects of them).
* IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy: ''The Fire Rose'' features a double-barreled example in the same chapter when Jason Cameron and Rosalind Hawkins both realize that they have fallen for each other, decide that the other at best regards them as a respected friend, conclude that once Jason is restored to humanity they will be a millstone interfering with the lives that the other has earned and honestly enjoys (Railroad Tycoon and Scholar, respectively), and thus resolve to put on a brave face when they go their separate ways.
* JabbaTableManners: One of the side effects of Jason's transformation in ''The Fire Rose''. Rosalind eventually gets him to use a knife and fork.
* KickChick: Ninette from ''Reserved for the Cat'' borders on this when she kicks an attacker into a wall. Justifiable because ballet requires both strong legs and precise movements with them.
* LadykillerInLove: In his debut in ''The Serpent's Shadow'', Peter Almsley is shown to be quite contented with hired courtesans and not at all interested in love or marriage. Cue ''Unnatural Issue'', and this is quietly forgotten, because Susanne Whitestone needs a husband and Charles is a RomanticFalseLead.
* LifeDrain: 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.
* LightFeminineAndDarkFeminine:
** 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.
** Marina and Madame Arachne in "Gates of Sleep." Marina is kind and friendly, if somewhat stubborn and "positively lawyer-like" in her ability to stymie rules or orders she doesn't care for. Her notable exercises of Water Mastery are to seek out poison and eradicate it. She has to be forced into wearing mourning black - by virtue of having her wardrobe completely replaced. In contrast, Madame Arachne is cold, manipulative, and cruel but seductive and alluring. The base of her power is in poisoning - the environment, people, souls. Her entire wardrobe is expensive, impractical, and very, very black.
* LittleRedFightingHood: Rosamund "[[RedBaron Red Cloak]]" von Schwarzvald. A [[WhoYouGonnaCall Hunt Master]], ActionGirl, MagicKnight and [[CrazyPrepared walking armory]], she's practically TheDreaded to the werewolves (and other monsters) of the German forests, and the hooded cloak she once wore to her grandma's house has since become her trademark.
* LostWillAndTestament: ''The Gates of Sleep'' has a variation -- Madame Arachne doesn't destroy the will to keep Marina from inheriting from her parents, she destroys it because it assigned Marina's guardianship to her godparents. She then claims Marina's guardianship as the newly-orphaned girl's sole remaining relative.
* LoveAtFirstSight: Completely unremarkable in this series; it's repeatedly stated that magicians often recognize their True Love on sight and are married shortly after without so much as posting banns.
* LovelyAssistant:
** In ''Reserved for the Cat'', Ninette acts as assistant in some of Jonathan's magic act.
** In ''Steadfast'', Katie gets a job as the assistant in Lionel's magic act, replacing his previous assistant Suzie, who was QuittingToGetMarried.
* LowerDeckEpisode: ''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..
** could also be said about ''Return from the Sea'', at least socially. Mari is the daughter of a poor fisherman. Nan and Sara may have the backing of Lord Alderscroft, but they themselves are effectively Bohemians who dress respectably; Sara is a daughter of the middle-class at best, and Nan is a former street kid
* MageMarksman: Giselle, the heroine of ''From a High Tower'', is a skilled markswoman to start with and when she uses her [[BlowYouAway air magic]] to 'help' the shots she manages range from phenomenal (BoomHeadshot at nearly a mile) to near-impossible (slicing a playing card in two edgewise).
* MagicAIsMagicA: ElementalPowers, PsychicPowers, TheFairFolk, and Indian divine magic, among others.
* MagicalNativeAmerican: Downplayed in ''From a High Tower''. Medicine Chief (and former U. S. Army Scout) Leading Fox being an Air Master is totally justified by magicians occurring in just about every nationality; however the only other members of Captain Cody's Wild West Show aside from Cody himself (a low-level Fire Mage and longtime friend of Leading Fox) and their current announcer[=/=]manager (an Austrian who has relatives in the Brotherhood of the Black Forest) who knows anything about magic are the other Pawnee with the show.
* MagiciansAreWizards:
** 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.
** Lionel Hawkins in ''Steadfast'', is an Air Magician and has sylphs that help him with his magic acts.
* MagicKnight: Hunt Master Rosamund von Schwartzwald from ''Blood Red'' switches between her considerable Earth Magic and [[SilverBullet weapons of varying mundaness]] in her battles with various monsters and[=/=]or rogue wizards.
* MagicMirror: In ''The Serpent's Shadow'', the villainess has a magic mirror called a dark mirror (understandable, since this is an adaptation of the Snow White tale). Said mirror is horror of the AndIMustScream variety -- she uses it to imprison the ghost of a man she sacrifices and tortures him constantly to insanity then slavish devotion so he can be useful to her. And she planned to do this to the heroine...
* MagicMusic: One method of summoning.
* MakingASplash: Water Masters/mages, the main ones being Peter Scott (''The Serpent's Shadow''), Lord Peter Almsley (''Unnatural Issue'' and ''The Serpent's Shadow''), Marina Roeswood (''The Gates of Sleep'') and Mari Prothero (''Home from the Sea'').
* MaliciousMisnaming: After Alison magically binds Eleanor into slavery, she always refers to her stepdaughter as "Ellie". Eleanor definitely takes the new name as this trope; whether Alison meant it this way or was trying to emphasize "Ellie's" new status [[note]]or just didn't want to risk confusion with the "stepdaughter at Oxford" pretense[[/note]] is left up to the reader.
* MalignedMixedMarriage:
** 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...
** Bias against mixed-class marriages is brought up in ''Phoenix and Ashes'' -- when Reggie tells his godmother that he loves Eleanor, her first reaction is that Reggie's mother won't approve because Eleanor is "common".
* MasqueradeBall: There is a masquerade ball towards the end of ''Phoenix and Ashes''. Eleanor attends costumed as a fairy princess. Her stepsisters are dressed up as historical personages Empress Josephine and Madame de Pompadour, while her stepmother is the Queen of the Night from ''Theatre/TheMagicFlute''.
* MasterOfIllusion: Jonathon. Later Lionel as well.
* MaternalDeathBlameTheChild: In the prologue of ''Unnatural Issue'', Richard Whitestone returns home to find that his wife succumbed to DeathByChildbirth a few hours earlier. He blames the baby, Susanne, for the death.
* MeaningfulName: Marina in ''The Gates of Sleep'' is a Water Master. Mari is the Welsh form of Mary, which can mean 'beloved' and 'rebellious'. Mari Prothero certainly rebelled against the pact of ArrangedMarriage between her family and the Selch and only agreed to it with conditions, and is beloved to her father and husband. Also Maya's name means 'illusion' and she is very adept with spells to avert notice. Peter means stone and Peter Scott [[spoiler: marries Maya, an Earth Master]]. The other Peter [[spoiler: 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 ThePhoenix.
* MeaningfulTitle: ''Reserved for the Cat''; as lampshaded by Thomas in the ending scene, 'Reserved for the Cat' is actually a theatrical in-joke/double entendre: back when theatres had actual 'reserved for...' signs on the expensive private boxes, the phrase 'reserved for the cat' was used for people so important (often royalty) that they couldn't be openly identified. The novel's main location is a theatre/music hall, and it's a retelling of ''Puss in Boots''!
** ''A Study in Sable'' and ''A scandal in Battersea'' are slightly-adjusted versions of the titles of two of the most well-known Sherlock Holmes stories; these books both feature Sherlock Holmes, John Watson and Mary Morstan Watson.
* MentorMascot: Thomas the cat in ''Reserved for the Cat''.
* MentorShip: In ''Home from the Sea''. [[spoiler:Mari ends up falling in love with the Selkie sent to be her magic teacher, instead of the Selkies sent to court her.]]
* TheMourningAfter: Richard Whitestone does not take his wife's DeathByChildbirth well, refuses to set eyes on his daughter, and turns to necromancy.
* MuggleBornOfMages: In ''The Gates of Sleep'', Arachne Chamberten was born without Elemental magic, to parents who were both Elemental mages (and implied to be from long lines of mages). Unfortunately for her parents and mage-born brother, she found out that you don't ''need'' inborn mage-talents to use BlackMagic.
* MuggleFosterParents: 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.
** both played straight and inverted with Susanne Whitestone: she's raised collectively by the servants of the Whitestone manor house, but her magical tutor and metaphorical fairy godfather is ''Robin Goodfellow''.
* MundaneUtility: Mercedes Lackey is in love with this trope:
** Earth mages not only use their healing powers to become doctors or farmers (they prefer rural life since the soil is polluted in cities), but use Earth Magic to handle household tasks such as making cheese. They can also apply their talents to geology.
** Water Masters make their fortune in shipping, sailing, or navigation. They also tend to show up as physical (rather than performing) artists and priests - (at least more than the other types.
** Air Mages/Masters tend to be entertainers. This is a major plot point 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.
** Fire Masters have some ability to sense the movement of energy, which means they can do well in the commodity market. They can burn off foreign substances, as Eleanor did to overcome a dose of opiates, so they also provide quite a few doctors. They also tend towards entertainers (possibly from an inborn flamboyance??) in ''From a High Tower'', Captain Cody Lee, who owns and is a star act in a Wild West Show, turns out to also be a Fire Magician, and in ''Reserved for the Cat'' the star performer at Nigel's music hall is a stage magician who is also a Fire Mage. The heroine of ''Steadfast'' is an acrobat and dancer, who finds out she is a Fire Master. And of course, they never have to eat burned food.
* MysticalPlague: 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'' [[BeenThereShapedHistory Alison just created the 1918 pandemic]], but it's certainly implied.
* {{Necromancer}}: Richard Whitestone turns to necromancy following his wife Rebecca's DeathByChildbirth.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: After a close call involving her psychotic necromancer father, [[spoiler: 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 [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI June]] [[OhCrap 1914]].]]
* NinjaMaid: No kung-fu, but Ailse [=McKensie=] takes on a magical assassin with an iron cookpot.
* NobleBigot: 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 [[Theatre/MyFairLady 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.
* NoGuyWantsAnAmazon: The heroine of ''Reserved for the Cat'' is a ballerina who wins two fights, one with WaifFu and another with magical firearms. In both cases she downplays her involvement for fear of scaring off potential suitors.
* NoodleIncident : so what happened during Nan and Sarah's trip to Africa just prior to ''Home from the Sea''? More importantly, how exactly did they acquire their foster daughter between then and ''Study in Sable''?
* NoWomansLand: England in TheEdwardianEra is like this. An unmarried woman is just a second-class citizen without the right to vote and threatened by harassment, and who can be moved around like a game piece by her relatives, but a married woman is about one step up from a slave, and her husband has virtually the power of life and death over her. Women with magic can normally avert this, however, as they can normally support themselves without marrying and choose husbands who will be good for them. The only protagonist who faces the full force of this trope is Kate from ''Steadfast'', when her husband finds her; she's married to an [[DomesticAbuse abusive]] {{Jerkass}} and her mentors are [[ThouShaltNotKill unusually reticent to let her simply kill him herself]].
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Lord Peter Almsley acts like an UpperClassTwit most of the time, but is actually [[CulturedBadass anything but]]. The pose is a useful way to ensure that most of the people he meets will underestimate him.
* OccupiersOutOfOurCountry: One of Shivani's motivations is to throw the English out of India.
* OfCorsetHurts: 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.
* OneHeroHoldTheWeaksauce: Rosamund breaks the usual ElementalRockPaperScissors setup in that, while she's an Earth Master, she is able to communicate with Air elementals. In ''Blood Red'', this is because she's being aided by a god to right a terrible imbalance; in ''From a High Tower'', the Great Air Elementals choose to commune with her while she's teaching Giselle.
* OneRiotOneRanger: The Brüderschaft employ the realistic version. Their usual methodology is to send a single Hunt Master to a region to handle a developing situation, and then that Hunt Master organizes the local help into a Hunting Party if they need backup. At one point, this gets Rosamund and her two local allies in ''way'' over their head, because the arse end of Transylvania is without any magicians stronger than a kitchen-witch.
* OneSteveLimit: 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.
* OnlyInItForTheMoney: Ninette's entire motivation, at least at first. Played sympathetically as a matter of survival, not greed.
* OopNorth: Most of ''Unnatural Issue'' is set in Yorkshire.
* OpiumDen: Opium dens are depicted in all their squalor in ''The Fire Rose''.
* OurAngelsAreDifferent: In ''The Fire Rose'', [[spoiler: 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.
* OurGodsAreGreater: The pagan gods of Europe are essentially very powerful and humanlike Greater Elementals. Thunderbird, from America, is also a Great Air Elemental. Meanwhile, the Hindu deities seen in ''The Serpent's Shadow'' are ''not'' elementals, and appear to be linked to the Spirit element, and share more characteristics with the Christian {{God}}. God Himself hasn't personally shown up yet, though beings implied to be angels have, and holy Christian objects are [[HolyHandGrenade extremely lethal against evil beings]].
* OurWerewolvesAreDifferent: ''Blood Red'' has two different types of werewolf show up, and refers to two others. All of them are apparently vulnerable to silver and wolfsbane.
** Sorcerers can use BloodMagic and a wolfskin belt to become werewolves. They have superhuman strength and a hybrid man-wolf form, plus enhanced healing. They have to cast the shifter spell each time they take wolf form, but apparently can return to human form without another HumanSacrifice.
** Members of the werewolf bloodlines gain the ability to turn into wolves after they're weaned. They retain the same body mass whether wolf or human (youngsters turn into wolf cubs), their human intellect, and normal strength. If they spend too long in wolf form, they can lose themselves in the wolf's instincts. Their change is completely voluntary, and can take place at any time as long as the werewolf isn't in sunlight. They have supernatural healing (which includes healing diseases), but only when in wolf form. Their bite does ''not'' create other werewolves.
** It's possible for someone to be either infected or cursed with lycanthropy. We don't see an example of either on-page, but it's implied that they almost always "go bad" as the human mind loses itself in the wolf instincts as the shift occurs.
* {{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.
* ParasolOfPain: 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.
* ParentalAbandonment:
** In ''The Serpent's Shadow'', the death of the protagonist's magician mother quickly led to the death of her father (since she had concealed him from a common enemy who objected to their marriage). The story opens after the protagonist has relocated to VictorianLondon in the hopes of escaping her family's enemy.
** ''The Gates of Sleep'' starts with Marina's parents agreeing to let Marina be raised by three of her godparents in secret.
** ''Phoenix and Ashes'' opens when the now-orphaned protagonist learns of the death of her father, who was set up by her stepmother.
** In ''The Wizard of London'', Nan doesn't know who her father is, and her neglectful mother eventually tries to sell her for drugs or alcohol. Luckily, Nan gets rescued by the boarding school that is giving her their leftover food.
** In ''Reserved for the Cat'', Ninette's father disappeared when she was a baby, and her mother dies shortly before the novel starts. (Subverted when we learn [[spoiler:Thomas the cat is Ninette's father, transformed when he lost a magic duel. He did what he could for his wife and child, but there just isn't that much a cat can do]].)
** In ''Steadfast'', Katie's parents die when their caravan somehow catches fire. In the ensuing grief, Katie is easily convinced by the owner of the circus her family worked for to marry the circus strongman, who turns out to be abusive.
** In ''From a High Tower'', Giselle's father trades her to the Earth Master next door for a garden of vegetables to feed his large family. Later on, Giselle's kindly adoptive mother dies, and she has to go out into the world in order to earn money to live on.
* ParentalIncest: ''Unnatural Issue'' is based on the fairy tale "The King Who Wished To Marry His Daughter", and had a more disturbing version. [[spoiler:He wishes to use his daughter's body as a vessel for her dead mother's spirit, and marry her all over again, even making plans to dismiss all the servants who knew about the girl and return with his new 'young bride'. In a particularly creepy scene, the heroine overhears her father ruminating on the things he's going to do to her (well, her body anyway) and is as horrified as you might expect.]]
* PayEvilUntoEvil: Robin Goodfellow states it: "Evil to him who evil does, I say!"
* PervertDad: In ''Unnatural Issue'', the father, a necromancer, intends to call back the spirit of his dead wife, place it in the body of his grown-up daughter, and... he gets his comeuppance at the end, though.
* PhonyPsychic: In ''The Wizard of London'', one appears in it as a medium, pretending to help wealthy people connect with their dead loved ones. The main characters unmask her as the fraud she is when one of her clients tells her friend that she is seeing a medium for her lost son and the friend is suspicious.
* PoorCommunicationKills: or at least impoverishes. If Giselle's mother had thought to tell her [[spoiler: exactly what she was doing with Giselle's offcut hair, Giselle wouldn't have had to SweetPollyOliver in shooting contests to support herself... but then, if Giselle '''had''' known that, ''From a High Tower'' would have ended at about chapter 5.]]
* PostModernMagik:
** Dr Witherspoon's arcane talents and senses are invaluable in determining what new[[note]]for Edwardian values thereof[[/note]] medical theories actually ''work'', while her knowledge of anatomy and the process of the disease enables her application of HealingHands to properly cure a case of Tuberculosis.
** Arachne's method of HumanSacrifice is to take innocent young girls and [[IndustrializedEvil employ them in an Edwardian pottery/brothel]], causing them to slowly waste away from lead poisoning while their minds and souls are degraded from the sex work.
** Lead from a church roof is used to make [[ReligionIsMagic holy bullets]].
* PublicDomainCharacter:
** Susanne Whitestone gets magic lessons from no less than [[Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream Robin Goodfellow]]. Robin also makes appearances in ''The Wizard of London'', ''Home from the Sea'' and ''A Study in Sable''.
** Nan and Sarah work with John Watson and others members of the Franchise/SherlockHolmes cast in ''A Study in Sable'' and ''A Scandal in Battersea'' (Grey and Neville appear on the covers of both).
* QuittingToGetMarried: This is the reason why Lionel had difficulty keeping a permanent LovelyAssistant for his magic act. All of them, with the exception of an Elemental Mage that got called away by Lord Alderscroft, end up marrying men not in the theatre/entertainment business and leaving to be housewives. Suzie is the latest in a line of them, which leads to Katie being hired.
* RaceLift : Maya Witherspoon, the series' version of Snow White, is English-Indian mixed race.
* RagsToRoyalty: Rose Hawkins of ''The Fire Rose'', Eleanor Robinson of ''Phoenix and Ashes'', and Ninette Dupond of ''Reserved for the Cat'' are commoners who marry into royalty; Marina of ''The Gates of Sleep'' has a noble heritage she's raised in ignorance of; and Maya Witherspoon of ''The Serpent's Shadow'' and ''Phoenix and Ashes'' has a noble heritage that she has to give up and go into hiding.
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: 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 rapist[[note]]He's still paying for the use of the women, but he gets a discount[[/note]], turning poor Mexican and East Coast girls into properly-broken San Francisco prostitutes.
** The first sign that the man Giselle meets early on is a truly awful man is how he attempts to rape her and nearly succeeds. There are [[HumanSacrifice worse]] implications in what he wanted to do to her as well.
* RapunzelHair: Giselle's hair grows quickly, mostly due to her Air magic, and even more so when under stress. She has to cut it periodically, and by the time she leaves home, she has accumulated enough cut-off braids to fill a trunk. This ends up being a ChekhovsGun as it turns out [[spoiler: her hair, filled with Air magic, is very valuable to certain elementals as payment. So valuable, they leave ''change'' in the form of a lot of gold.]]
* RealEventFictionalCause:
** In ''Phoenix and Ashes'', an evil Earth Master engineers and sends out the flu strain of 1918 in order to prolong the War.
** Then there was backlash after that earthquake when the Fire Master was killed in California in ''The Fire Rose''...
* RealNameAsAnAlias: 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.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure:
** 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, [[ObstructiveBureaucrat 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.)
* RedOniBlueOni: Though they're both [[MakingASplash Water Masters]], Peter Almsey and Peter Scott from ''The Serpent's Shadow'' definitely count.
* ReligionIsMagic:
** 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 and elsewhere are also quite active, but they're seen as another variety of [[TheFairFolk Fair Folk]] or Elemental spirit, rather than something truly different.
** Subverted in one instance in ''Blood Red''. When Rosamund teaches a village elder to use a seeking spell, she instructs him to use blessed salt. The blessing is unnecessary, but it doesn't ''hurt'' anything and makes the magic seem more benign to her superstitious student.
* RevenantZombie: ''Phoenix and Ashes'' offers incorporeal revenants, distinct from true ghosts in that they are so obsessed with revenge that they cannot think rationally.
* RoguishPoacher: Several of the minor characters in ''Phoenix and Ashes'' poach the Fenix woods with the tacit permission of Reggie Fenix -- it's a source of protein that isn't affected by rationing.
* ARoundOfDrinksForTheHouse:
** 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 [[INeedAFreakingDrink could use a drink]] since many of them (like him) were sent home after being injured in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI.
** 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.
* SaintlyChurch: Whenever Christian churches or churchgoers are presented in the books, they nearly always are good people devoted to helping others (though HolierThanThou types do get an occasional mention), and the power and actions of {{God}} are nearly universally a good thing in the world. There is even some holy power invested in churches and Christian objects.
* SaltSolution: Salt and shotgun shells filled with salt are used to deal with Richard Whitestone's necromantic servants and revenants.
* SapientCetaceans: ''The Fire Rose'' mentions that whale and dolphin Water Masters are known to exist.
* {{Selkies and Wereseals}}:
** In ''Home from the Sea''. [[spoiler:The main character has to marry a Selkie to fulfill a bargain her family made centuries ago.]]
** The Selkies of Sule Skerry get a mention in ''The Serpent's Shadow''. With their way of life endangered by social and technological progress, things were looking bleak for them; then Peter Scott helped ten young Selkie men acquire brides (by [[NoodleIncident somehow finding]] ten [[HookerWithAHeartOfGold honest, clean-hearted girls]] among the streetwalkers of London), as well as acting as an intermediary to build houses for the girls and ensure they're well-provided-for in mortal coin. In return, the Selkies provide Peter with concentrated magical power upon request.
* SeriesContinuityError:
** ''The Serpent's Shadow'' cannot make up its mind about the name of Maya's father. He is mentioned by name twice. The first time his name is Nigel, the second time his name is Roger.
** In ''Reserved for the Cat'', Ninette's mother is named Marie or Maria almost interchangeably.
** In ''Unnatural Issue'', Susanna makes a charm bundle and uses it to create a doppleganger of herself so she can sneak off to practice magic. When she runs away from home she's specifically described as burning the bundle and scattering the ashes, as it could be used against her if it got into her evil father's hands. Yet towards the end of the novel it's said that the bundle could ''not'' be destroyed by mere burning as it was a magical object and Susanna still had it with her--conveniently, as the good guys could then use it in their plan to draw out dear old dad.
* SexIsEvil: Not generally the case, but [[ExploitedTrope exploited]] by Arachne's IndustrializedEvil. As the prostitutes working in her paint shops start to think of themselves as "fallen women," they stop trying to avoid vanity, unhealthy and degrading sex acts and spiritual decay. Some of the women avert this - because they never believed that SexIsEvil in the first place, they're able to maintain a healthy sexuality and [[HookerWithAHeartOfGold their prostitution causes them no spiritual harm]].
* ShapeshifterShowdown:
** Marina and Arachne throw down in the climax of ''The Gates of Sleep''.
** Alluded to in ''Reserved for the Cat''. [[spoiler:Thomas lost.]]
* SheCleansUpNicely: Eleanor Robinson, not surprising considering that ''Phoenix and Ashes'' is a "Literature/{{Cinderella}}" reworking.
* ShellShockedVeteran:
** Reggie Fenyx and his fellows in ''Phoenix and Ashes''.
** Jack from ''Steadfast'' has PTSD from his experiences in the Boer War.
* ShoutOut:
** Lord Peter Almsley is what Literature/LordPeterWimsey 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 Literature/AmeliaPeabody.
* ShrineToTheFallen: Alluded to in ''Phoenix and Ashes''. When Reggie Fenyx comes home on medical leave, he finds that his mother preserved his room as it was when he left for World War I (though at least it got cleaned regularly). He muses that had he died in France, the room would have become his memorial.
* TheShutIn: In the backstory of ''Unnatural Issue'', Richard Whitestone spends the bulk of his widowerhood in his chambers and library on the second floor of his country manor.
* SilverBullet:
** 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.
** Rosamund (''Blood Red'') keeps an assortment of silver, cold iron, blessed salt and so forth in ammunition form for her pistols and shotgun.
* SkepticNoLonger: Sherlock Holmes proves a downplayed example in ''A Study in Sable''. While he remains a stubborn disbeliever in things he cannot directly perceive[[note]](to the ongoing irritation of Water Master John Watson)[[/note]], Nan Killian convinced him of her PsychicPowers by the expedient of securing an interview and providing a running commentary as she summarily mind-probed him.
* SkinnyDipping: In ''The Gates of Sleep'', Marina goes skinny-dipping with undines once that we see, but it's clearly a common occurrence whenever the weather's warm enough.
* SmokyGentlemensClub: 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.
* TheSoulsaver: 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).
* SpookySeance: One is featured in ''The Wizard of London'', with Nan, Sarah, and Mem'sahib revealing the medium conducting the seance as the PhonyPsychic. The actual ghost (a young boy) that they were looking to contact appears at the end of it all and using Sarah as the vehicle, assures his mother that it's all right and to please stop crying as it's scaring his younger sister before having to leave for good.
* SpotMonkey: After Ninette's performance in ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Sylphide 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.
* StageMom: A minor character in ''The Gates of Sleep'' is a child chess prodigy whose father drove him into a breakdown by pushing the kid into more and more public exhibition games.
* StaircaseTumble: In his backstory, [[spoiler: Thomas killed the Elemental Master who trapped him in a cat's body]] by tripping her at the top of a steep marble staircase.
* StigmaticPregnancyEuphemism:
** Alluded to in ''The Gates of Sleep''. Doctor Pike does not treat cases of "nerves" that result in childbirth a few months later.
** Played with in ''Reserved for the Cat''. The BigBad cannot become pregnant [[spoiler:since it's not human]], but intends to let people ''think'' she was off giving birth during the time she was trying to kill Ninette.
* StraightToThePointe: Alluded to in ''Reserved for the Cat'' -- after ballet lessons for little girls becomes the latest fad in Blackpool, the local ballet master specifically does not teach the children pointe dancing, but demi-pointe.
* StrangerInAFamiliarLand: Reggie goes through this when he returns to the family manor in ''Phoenix and Ashes'' after being in the front lines of World War I.
* StreetUrchin: Nan in ''The Wizard of London''.
* {{Streetwalker}}:
** When Ninette is fired from the Paris Opera Ballet and unable to find employment, she is faced with the prospect that she will have to become one to pay the bills. Luckily Thomas steps in and prevents that from happening.
** In ''The Wizard of London'', the last that Nan has heard of her mother is that she has hit the bottom rung of a woman in Whitechapel by becoming this, roaming the streets with nothing but the clothes on her back and soliciting men to further her alcoholism and addiction to drugs.
* StrongFamilyResemblance: Susanne Whitestone looks almost exactly like her mother...which unfortunately attracts the ''[[ParentalIncest wrong]]'' kind of attention from her father.
* SuicideNotAccident: He doesn't go through with it, but Reggie Fenyx strongly considers an "accidental" high speed car crash as a way of dealing with his shellshock in ''Phoenix and Ashes''.
* TheSvengali: 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 [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness discard]] Paul the first chance he gets.
* SweetPollyOliver: Giselle disguises herself as a man named Gunther von Weber so she can enter sharpshooting contests and win money to provide a living for herself.
* TallDarkAndSnarky: Jonathon Hightower in ''Reserved for the Cat''. He loses some of the arrogance but keeps the snark.
* TalkingAnimal: Wolfgang, Maya’s seven "pets" [[spoiler:when possessed by the Hindu gods they’re associated with]], Neville and Grey. Thomas doesn’t qualify, as he can only speak [[{{Telepathy}} mind-to-mind]], and only to those with some degree of magical ability.
* TarotMotifs: Eleanor's magical instruction in ''Phoenix and Ashes'' occurs in a dream world where she encounters special beings that masquerade as the tarot cards.
* TimmyInAWell: 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.)
* TitleDrop:
** The last four words of ''Reserved for the Cat''.
** ''Home from the Sea'' does the same thing.
* ThouShaltNotKill: Good magicians and masters normally avoid using their Elementals to do harm, though this appears to be either a personal choice or dictated by their teachers' tradition. Evil ones practically revel in it, and make generous use of Dark Elementals that enjoy causing pain and death.
** This doesn't apply in ''The Fire Rose''. Both Jason Cameron (who is morally somewhat ambiguous) and Rosalind (who isn't) are willing to call Elementals for battle. America's magical society is far more violent than Europe's, however.
** Katie's teachers impress this rule on her to keep her from solving the problem of her [[DomesticAbuse abusive husband]] by [[KillItWithFire just burning him down]], because it would destroy the innocence of her Elementals and possibly [[MurderMakesYouCrazy lead her down the dark path]].
*** this could also be because one of her mentors [[spoiler: and eventual husband]] Jack, is suffering from either PTSD or serious depression from soldiering in the Boer War, due to participating (under orders) in a massacre of a native tribe. As for Lionel... Katie is a very new magician, and she's coming to it very late (most Elemental magicians start training either as a child, or early puberty); it's possible that murder by elemental could set a dangerous precedent as well, and her age means it will be very difficult to train out of her magic.
** Giselle, after reliving her accidental first kill, resolves never to ask her playful, friendly air elementals to harm anyone for her again. She doesn't apply this to herself, however, and by the end of her book is almost as formidable a warrior as Rosamund herself.
** Rosamund doesn't obey this rule, and freely asks Elementals' aid in battle and even for assassination. It helps that, given the nature of her duties, she has a couple of pagan gods of war and the hunt on speed-dial.
* TrainingTheGiftOfMagic: 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.
* TrickingTheShapeshifter: In ''Reserved for the Cat'', Thomas attempts to trick the shapeshifting villain into becoming something small and harmless, like the ogre in "Puss in Boots". The villain is more on the ball than that ogre, however, and shifts again to catch the cat by the throat when he pounces.
* {{Uberwald}}: Eastern Europe in ''Blood Red''. To a lesser extent, the Schwarzvald in ''From a High Tower''; while we see it from the perspective of a cheery Wild West show travelling through, we also see a couple glimpses of just how magically dangerous the place can get (such as stumbling over a haunted [[BedlamHouse Magdalene convent]] and waking up the ghosts of tormented girls).
* UnclePennybags: Lord Peter Almsley, who [[EstablishingCharacterMoment casually hands Dr. Maya Witherspoon enough money to fund the Fleet charity clinic for a month without a care.]] Apparently this is one of his hobbies.
* {{Unicorn}}: In ''The Fire Rose'', Unicorns are Elementals of Spirit, and the physical embodiment of Knowledge, Purity, and Wisdom. When they choose to answer a summons (which requires a virgin to carry out the request), they can take on various forms, such as how medieval artists depicted them, as a young boy or girl in white robes, as a burning bush, or as a white bird. The heroine has to summon one, and unfortunately all she sees is a white, blurry shape, since she can't wear her glasses during the ritual and she's BlindWithoutEm. The voice is described as "bell-clear, sweet, silvery, and sexless".
* UnscrupulousHero: 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 PragmaticVillainy taken to the point where he doesn't need to be a villain.
* TheVamp: Alison Robinson got where she is by using and destroying men. Her daughters try, but they lack her experience and are nowhere near as effective.
* VictorianLondon: The setting/period for ''The Wizard of London'', chronologically (though not in publication order) the earliest of the novels.
* VirginSacrifice: The rarity of male virgin sacrifices is mentioned in ''The Fire Rose''. The villain needs a virgin sacrifice, and remarks that while the gender doesn't matter, it's so much easier to verify a woman's virginity than a man's.
** The BigBad in [[spoiler:''A Scandal in Battersea'' requires virgin sacrifices in order to fully break into our world. It doesn't care if they're male or female, only that they have to be given in pairs, with one taken as a sacrifice and other (who has to be of high enough station to get sent by their family to a mental institution) removed of their souls and left alive for its own purposes.]]
* VomitingCop: In ''Unnatural Issue'', a squad from the White Lodge in London is sent to investigate the Yorkshire Manor of a reclusive former member that has [[FaceHeelTurn gone around the bend]]. When they find that he had killed all the household servants a couple of days ago (in high summer) Dr. Maya Scott (physician and Earth Master) bolts outside to become violently ill; which is understandable given that the victims were still [[OurZombiesAreDifferent going about their jobs]], she could tell that their souls were [[AndIMustScream locked into their rotting bodies]], and the perversion of Earth Magic the [[{{Necromancer}} renegade Whitestone]] had gone in for would sicken even a (sane) Earth Master inured to the filth and pain of London's slums. The Air Master in the squad follows her a minute later to do the same.
* WaifFu: Ninette. She's a ballerina, but, as she herself points out, ballet builds muscle.
* WainscotSociety:
** Magical society in London and America is generally hidden from the {{muggles}}, mostly because most supposed magicians are fakes like Aleister Crowley. There's no {{Masquerade}} in place, but magicians generally don't advertise themselves as magical to avoid standing out. Out in rural areas (and in India, according to Shivani), however, there's not so much separation between magical and nonmagical; most of the locals in Yorkshire practice the May Day rites and leave milk out for the brownies, and Charles Kerridge's manor openly uses Earth Magic in their cottage industry. Also, during World War I, there's secret collaboration between the mundane government and the White Lodge.
** In rural Germany and Eastern Europe, most magicians don't interact much with each other, but every magician knows a few others and the location of the local Brüderschaft lodge: {{Uberwald}} is too dangerous for a Magician to go completely solo. The Brüderschaft itself is a loose collection of lodges who [[WhoYaGonnaCall deal with monsters and Dark Magicians]]; the usual practice is to send out a Hunt Master and have them gather the local talent to help with the Hunts.
* WarIsHell: 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. Jack in ''Steadfast'' suffers from having gone through the UsefulNotes/BoerWar and having a massive guilt complex from the massacres that went on during that.
* WartimeWedding: There's a villainous twist to this in ''Phoenix and Ashes''. Alison intends to bespell Reggie into a Wartime Wedding to one of her daughters, magically ensure that an heir is conceived, then [[UriahGambit get Reggie back to the front to be killed]], leaving Alison controlling the Fenyx estate and its wealth through her daughter.
* WeirdHistoricalWar: ''Phoenix and Ashes'' and ''Unnatural Issue'' both refer to magic being used by spies on both sides of World War I. The latter also has a necromantic summoning in No Man's Land, which goes as well as you'd expect with all that raw material around.
* TheWestern: In ''From a High Tower'', Giselle, plus many other Germans, are fans of the ''{{Literature/Winnetou}}'' series by German writer Creator/KarlMay. After Giselle explains the books to Captain Cody, he immediately changes up his Wild West Show so that it will be more in line with the books and therefore appeal to German audiences.
* WhileYouWereInDiapers: 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 [[UsefulNotes/BritishEnglish nappies]].
* WhyDontYouJustShootHim: In ''Steadfast'', this becomes an issue for the heroes, because Kate could ''easily'' kill her [[DomesticAbuse abusive husband]] by just asking her Fire Elementals. Fortunately for the story, and unfortunately for Kate, the local mages believe in ThouShaltNotKill because it might damage the innocence of Kate's Elementals.
* TheWickedStage: In the series, particularly ''The Serpent's Shadow'' and ''Reserved for the Cat'', ballet dancing (and to a lesser extent other forms of acting) are seen as essentially vehicles for prostitution or stripping. Ballerinas are paid like crap but have opportunities to acquire male patrons, who pay very well indeed for their services; meanwhile, a can-can dancer lives off of tips from showing her legs. In an aversion, the viewpoint characters ''don't'' see this as dishonorable, but society as a whole finds the business rather skeevy (as well as the BackAlleyDoctor helping these women).
* WickedStepmother: Alison Robinson to her stepdaughter Eleanor, full stop. She even has two spoiled, cruel daughters to complete the picture.
* WidowsWeeds:
** 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 Arachne, 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.
* TheWildHunt: 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 [[FateWorseThanDeath worse than going to Hell]].
* WorthlessForeignDegree: Maya was a practicing doctor in India for several years, but when she moves to London she has to retake her medical exams and be interviewed by the head of the hospital she wants to practice at.
* WouldHurtAChild: 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''.
** The Troll in ''Reserved for the Cat'' sets up magical distractions powered by the misery of opium dens and orphanages, and toys with the idea of opening (or sponsoring) a few orphanages itself to exploit later.
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