Book: Unnatural Issue

Mercedes Lackey
Daw / 2011
Hard Back / 361 Pages
Series Elemental Masters 7 (Donkey Skin)

Susanne Whitestone had always lived in Whitestone Manor, her ancestral home in North Yorkshire. She was the daughter of a country squire, but life for Susanne was no different than it was for any of the many servants in her father's great house. For though she was Richard Whitestone's only child, she had never set eyes on her father, who lived as a recluse in a sectioned off wing of the manor. But Susanne was happy; raised by her father's warm and loving servants, it suited her to do simple household chores, work in the dairy, and tend to the extensive grounds that lay beyond her father's private inner gardens. For Susanne was an Earth Master, and liked nothing more than to keep the land itself and all of its animal inhabitants--both mundane and fae--well nourished and thriving. And Susanne was surprisingly well-trained as a mage of the Earth, despite her father's neglect, because for the last eleven years, she had had a special friend in the forest--a powerful fae being known only as Robin. Robin had taught Susanne since she was ten, and he had given her such a thorough education that Susanne doubted that any mortal Master could find fault with her practices.

Richard Whitstone was also an Earth master, but since his beloved wife's death in childbirth with Susanne, he had lived a kind of half-life in his secluded and isolated section of the great manor. He hated even the thought of the child who had ended his wife's life, and had refused to acknowledge or care for his daughter. His life had withered, and his spirit had contracted into a hard, cold thing. As he had grown bitter, twisted, and blighted, so had everything he could see from his windows--his once-beautiful gardens were now as stark and withered as his own heart. But as the years passed, Richard found that there was one thing that gave him solace--the thought, first just a fleeting thing, then later an obsession, that he could bring his Rebecca back to life through the dark practice of necromancy. He would need an appropriate vessel for her spirit, a young woman, preferably one who looked like she did and was approximately the same age that Rebecca had been at the time of her death--twenty-one.

Meanwhile, in London, Lord Alderscroft, Head of one of the oldest and most powerful White Lodges of Elemental Masters in the Empire, had serious worries. There were intimations of trouble on the continent--not of just a small conflict, but war on a scale that had never been seen before. Alderscroft had dispatched many of his Masters to the continent to try to avert this coming disaster, and was functioning with a fraction of the support he usually had at his disposal when reports of Blood Magic came to him from one of his mages in Yorkshire. With his lodge depleted, Alderscroft had no choice but to send Lord Peter Almsley, one of his most powerful operatives, up north to find and dispatch this mysterious necromancer. But will Lord Peter get to Susanne in time?

I picked this book up because Series

What I liked the Most? Peter (The “Rich” Twin) is back – I really like him

What I liked the Least? Biggest issue the phony fake illusionary romance that’s not a romance and what’s up with Rose.

Review: The opening chapter shows us Earth Master Richard Whitestone returning home from a dastardly necromantic battle only to discover that his beloved wife has died in childbirth. He dramatically blames the child and tells the help to rid him of it and then locks himself away in his dusty, magic filled tower.

Dun-dun-duuuuun - 20 years & the story takes off – the baby (Susanne) has grown up and matured into a feisty country lass unsure of her position (neither staff nor family), but very sure of her magical knowledge due to her very interesting teacher. One day, Richard sees her walking out of the woods and latches onto the idea that his wife has come back from the dead. When that fails to be proven true he becomes what he once hated & turns to necromancy to return his wife to him via his daughters body.

I did not care for Richard’s misogynistic notations – finding them to be simplistic and utterly boring, but the father as the villain – well played.

I do feel that the "love triangle" was a complete waste of time & paper – it should have either been more of the story or left out, I don't really care which.

All in all a fun read that delighted me.

Recommended to: Everyone

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