The Fire Rose (Elemental Masters, Bk 1) by Mercedes Lackey (library copy) -
This is the first in this series, but I hadn't read it before. I really liked Rosalind, and while Jason isn't very likeable at first, that changes. Like the Beauty and the Beast story this parallels, Rosalind find the kindness of Jason under his outer appearances. Beyond this, the the world of Elemental Masters is being introduced, including how the elements fire, earth, air, and water relate to the rules of magic. In addition, the book is set around the time of the 1906 San Fransisco quake. So the time adds an extra element to the story.
The Serpent's Shadow (Elemental Masters, Bk 2) by Mercedes Lackey (personal copy via PaperBackSwap) -
I've actually read this multiple times, but of course I had to read it again as I work my way through this series. Maya and Peter are both great characters. Maya is a female doctor in London during a time when that's hardly heard of...women still don't even have a vote. But not only is she female, she's also of mixed blood. Her father was English, her mother was Indian. This "half-breed" status is another huge point of prejudice. Peter Scott is a water master, but not of the usual aristocratic blood accepted by the circle of Masters in London. So when it comes to trying to face the darkness recently come to England, Maya's aunt who practices a foreign and dark magic, Maya and Peter struggle to get any help. This one has some parallels with Snow White.
The Gates of Sleep (Elemental Masters, Bk 3) by Mercedes Lackey (personal copy via PaperBackSwap) -
I'd only read this one once before. Probably because I have trouble with stories where characters are essentially trapped, which Marina certainly is through part of the book. Anyway, it has a Sleeping Beauty twist to it. Something I noted upon my most recent reading of it... The phrase "the thought was parent to the deed" was repeated about 5 times give or take once. I do like Lackey's books, but this isn't a favorite.
Phoenix and Ashes (Elemental Masters, Bk 4) by Mercedes Lackey (personal copy via PaperBackSwap) -
I've read this before, but I didn't remember it at all. I didn't even recognize the story as I re-read it. Speaking of the story, this one is a twist on Cinderella. Eleanor's father comes home one day with a new wife and two step-daughters. Not long after her father goes off to fight in the war (World War I) and promptly dies, leaving Eleanor at the mercy of her stepmother and stepsisters. Big twist? Eleanor is magically held captive in the house. (Well, there's a little more to it than that, but I don't want to retell the story.) Despite the captive thing (uh- I'm seeing a theme here), I liked this one better than The Gates of Sleep.
The Wizard of London (Elemental Masters, Bk 5) by Mercedes Lackey (personal copy via PaperBackSwap) -
This was a new-to-me read. It's a bit different from the previous books in the series. Instead of focusing on an Elemental Master (though the Wizard of London is one), it focuses on Talents. That is people with things like clairvoyance, mediums, etc. These talents include a husband and wife that run a school to help children like this, and two young children recently come to the school. This story, I believe, takes place prior to the other books in the series. It may come fifth in publishing order, but chronologically I believe it would be first. It is apparently based on The Snow Queen, but I wouldn't know anything about that.
Anyway, on to an overall impression while reading this series...
I've noticed (and if you read my post on Intrigues and Changes, this is the point I couldn't remember) that Mercedes Lackey's characters including (or maybe especially) the children are much wiser than I would ever be. The teachers always ask questions intended for the the students to come to some deep revelation. The student then proceeds to do so. The teacher responds with pride and praise. This is done over and over through series after series. There are other similar characteristics as well. I guess it's part of her "voice."