Book Review: Unnatural Issue

Twenty-year-old Susanne Whitestone has lived at Whitestone Manor since her premature birth without ever seeing her embittered father Richard who became a recluse after his wife’s death in childbirth. Raised by the servants, Susanne who is an Earth Master like her father tends to the needs of the land under the tutelage of the puck, Robin Goodfellow who she accidentally summoned as a child. Although Susanne’s place in the Manor was barely more then an unpaid servant, she was happy enough taking care of land and its inhabitants until the fateful day when Richard decided to accept his daughter. Susanne could feel something sinister at work but until she overheard Richard’s lurid conversation in front of her picture, had no idea of his depravity.

Rightfully alarmed, Susanne flees the only home she has ever known and through a stroke of good fortune, ended up at Branwell Hall where she came to the attention of Charles Kerridge. As a member of London’s White Lodge of Elemental Masters, Charles immediately recognized Susanne’s ability as an Earth mage. Lord Alderscroft, head of the White Lodge has been troubled by reports of Blood Magic coming out of Yorkshire and sends Lord Peter Almsley to investigate but it is not until his return to London that they realize the full extent of Richard’s evil plan. Susanne must hone her magic skills and work in close concert with Robin, Peter and others if she is to thwart her father, putting an end to the vilest of Blood Magic. 

Lackey has delivered another fine entry to the Elemental Masters series with this tale of an abandoned child suddenly thrust into the center of a very class conscious London at the start of WWI. Readers cannot help but admire Susanne’s pluck, determination and desire to do right while building a new life and experiencing her first serious crush. The storyline and subplots are smoothly woven together and as usual, Lackey’s character development is delightful. The climax offers a small surprise as assistance comes not from a magical source but from something even scarier.


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