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Stop Making Sense

I read anything that's nailed down, or even just moving slowly. Cereal boxes, candy wrappers, all genres, etc., and I don't always have much time for arbitrary distinctions like literary fiction vs. genre fiction.

Phoenix and Ashes

Phoenix and Ashes - Mercedes Lackey Take one part Cinderella (with hints of Harriet Potter), one part All Quiet on the Western Front, one part Downton Abbey, and one part alchemy, and mix well.

This is the story of Eleanor (Ellie) Robinson, a girl who has been enslaved by her evil stepmother upon her father's death, and of Reggie Fenyx, a gentleman pilot who has become severely damaged from service in World War I. Reggie and Evil Stepmother are Masters of earth elements--air and earth, respectively--and Ellie is just starting to realize that she can control another (fire). The battle lines are drawn among these three as Stepmother tries to get Reggie to marry one of her hideous daughters while keeping Ellie enslaved. You can guess the ending, I'm sure.

The strengths of this book include strong, resourceful female characters (good and bad) who pass the Bechdel test and accurate portrayals of posttraumatic stress disorder (from domestic abuse and war). The weaknesess are that some of the characters lean toward caricatures (Locke, in particular), and the story is light--it really is Cinderella. I would like to see stories of the Elementals interacting with real-world evils: criminals, war, bullies, corruption, etc. That would be something new, not a retread.

And, as others have pointed out, the copyediting was horrendous. I'm a professional editor, and I can ususally "turn it off" while reading for pleasure. Not this one--omitted words, typos, misspellings, etc. Come on, Daw, spring for a real copyeditor.