Friday, May 12, 2017

Reserved For The Cat by Mercedes Lackey

Ninette Dupond is a ballerina with the Paris Opera Ballet.  Not a headliner yet, but she is steadily working her way up the ranks.  That is, until she gets a review that puts the star ballerina's nose out of joint.  The star insists that Ninette be fired and the administration does what the star wants.  Ninette finds herself alone with no job and no money.

She casts about for work but finds none.  There seems to be no recourse except to become a woman who lives off men.  But then the stray cat who showed up a while back begins talking to Ninette.  At first she is sure she is crazy but the cat insists he has a way out of her predicament.  Soon she is on a train to a destination she knows nothing of with a ticket the cat has stolen.  Next is a channel crossing and she ends up in Blackpool, England.

The cat has plans.  He is in fact an Elemental Spirit who has taken on the task of protecting Ninette.  He knows that there is a music hall in Blackpool that is run by an Elemental Master and he feels that Ninette would be a success working there and safe with that much power around her.  He comes up with the idea of Ninette impersonating a fairly well-known Russian ballerina named Nina Tchereslavsky.  Since no one in Blackpool is that interested in Russian ballet, it seems logical that Ninette is Nina.  When the owner sees Ninette dance, he sees how good she is and decides she is just the person to help him move forward with a new form of entertainment he has been planning.  Things go well, with Ninette becoming a star attraction.  Then trouble starts to occur.  The real Nina Tchereslavsky finds out about her imposter and is determined to put things straight.  Even worse, it turns out that she is also an Elemental and an evil one.  Now Ninette is her sworn enemy and she is determined to destroy her.

This is the fifth novel in Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series.  Each novel retells a familiar fairy tale, in this case it is that of the cat that manages to outwit all of his enemies.  Lackey is well known in the fantasy world, having written over one hundred and fifty novels.  This was my first read of a book by her, and I was interested to see what her writing was like.  This book is recommended for fantasy readers.

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