cover image Elemental Magic: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters

Elemental Magic: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters

Edited by Mercedes Lackey. DAW, $7.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-0-7564-0787-2

Lackey opens up the sandbox of her Elemental Masters universe (The Fire Rose, etc.) to other writers in this slightly uneven and passionless historical urban fantasy anthology. A few tales have delightful sparks that facilitate immersion in the shared world, but most are more fluffy than memorable. Ron Collins’s “The Collector” stands out with passion and disquieting depth as an injured black veteran with slowly developing supernatural powers rages at the everyday racist injustices of civilian life in 1901 Georgia. In Michele Lang’s complex and evocative “The Phoenix of Mulberry Street,” a reporter investigating arson in 1885 New York’s tenements meets a very unusual little match girl. The repeated feminist themes are often too pointed and heavy-handed, but fans of Lackey’s work will easily slide back into the familiar universe while newcomers will find this an acceptable introduction. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (Dec.)