cover image Reserved for the Cat: The Elemental Masters, Book Five

Reserved for the Cat: The Elemental Masters, Book Five

Mercedes Lackey, . . DAW, $25.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-7564-0362-1

A fantastic cat-and-mouse game among a shape-changing troll, Elemental Masters and a gifted dancer in Victorian England makes Lackey's latest Elemental Masters installment (after 2005's The Wizard of London ) a charmer. When young, impoverished Ninette Dupond is fired from the Paris Opera Ballet after upstaging its star, her Elementally gifted cat, Thomas, reveals his extraordinary skills and urges her to flee France. Once in Blackpool, Thomas shows her how to assume the identity of Nina Tchereslavsky, a Russian prima donna, and brings her to the attention of Elemental Master Nigel Barrett and his theatrically inclined cohorts. Soon, “Nina” is dancing happily in their latest theatrical production, until the real Nina—or rather, the troll that long ago possessed the real Nina's body—learns of the imposter and rushes to unmask her. This is Lackey at her best, mixing whimsy and magic with a fast-paced plot. (Nov.)