Review: The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey

the fire rose

The Fire Rose
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Published: 1995
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Elemental Masters #1
Rating: A

The Fire Rose is the first book in Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series, which re-imagines classic fairy-tales. This one is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but is set in the early 1900’s in California.

Rosalind Hawkins is screwed. She had been in the middle of getting her masters degree when her father died; leaving behind a mountain of debt and no way to pay it all off. Now all Rose has to her name is a couple of ratty dresses and a handful of worthless mementos. And, since this is 1905, her options of employment are pretty limited. So, when Rose receives a job offer to be a governess for the railroad baron, Jason Cameron, she accepts it and moves to San Francisco.

When Rose arrives at Cameron’s estate, she finds the place strangely devoid of human life except for Cameron’s creepy valet. She also discovers that the governess position was a hoax and that what Cameron really needed was someone who could read some ancient languages. This is fine with Rose, seeing as she never wanted to deal with a bunch of kids anyway and at least she’ll be able to use her college education. Plus, there’s also the added bonuses of a big check, a new wardrobe and plush living quarters. All for just reading to a guy, via a speaking tube, every night.

While I loved this book, there were too many things going on all at once. Between Rose and Jason’s developing relationship, the mission to find a way to reverse Jason’s curse, the valet creeping around and a fire master trying to take Jason down, things got a little overwhelming.

Despite a ton of stuff going on, all the characters are awesome. Both Rose and Jason were extremely well fleshed out. I loved that Rose was smart and didn’t freak out over every little thing that Jason pulled with her. I also liked the creepy valet, who you develop a good hatred for as the story progresses. As for Jason, he had a great back story and was a fun character.

If you’re a fan of Beauty and the Beast retellings, you should give this one a shot. Especially, if you don’t like how the story usually ends.

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