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The beloved Elemental Masters series moves to America for the first time in a rich retelling of The Queen of the Copper Mountain, set against the backdrop of Tennessee coal country. Anna May Jones is the daughter of a coal miner. When her father succumbs to Black Lung, the coal company wastes no time in turning the family out of their home. In desperation, Anna May's mother The beloved Elemental Masters series moves to America for the first time in a rich retelling of The Queen of the Copper Mountain, set against the backdrop of Tennessee coal country. Anna May Jones is the daughter of a coal miner. When her father succumbs to Black Lung, the coal company wastes no time in turning the family out of their home. In desperation, Anna May's mother sends her to live with her Aunt Jinny, a witchy-woman and an Elemental Master, in a holler outside of Ducktown. As she settles into her new life, Anna May finds herself falling for a stonemason with such a talent for stonecarving that people come all the way from Memphis to commission statues and tombstones from him. But he's not content with his current skill—he wants to learn to carve stone so well it looks real. When the stonemason disappears on a quest to fulfill his ambition, it is up to Anna May to follow and find him, armed with the new abilities Aunt Jinny has taught her. To save the man she loves, Anna May must journey into the mountain—and confront the horrors that lurk in the darkness of the mine.


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The beloved Elemental Masters series moves to America for the first time in a rich retelling of The Queen of the Copper Mountain, set against the backdrop of Tennessee coal country. Anna May Jones is the daughter of a coal miner. When her father succumbs to Black Lung, the coal company wastes no time in turning the family out of their home. In desperation, Anna May's mother The beloved Elemental Masters series moves to America for the first time in a rich retelling of The Queen of the Copper Mountain, set against the backdrop of Tennessee coal country. Anna May Jones is the daughter of a coal miner. When her father succumbs to Black Lung, the coal company wastes no time in turning the family out of their home. In desperation, Anna May's mother sends her to live with her Aunt Jinny, a witchy-woman and an Elemental Master, in a holler outside of Ducktown. As she settles into her new life, Anna May finds herself falling for a stonemason with such a talent for stonecarving that people come all the way from Memphis to commission statues and tombstones from him. But he's not content with his current skill—he wants to learn to carve stone so well it looks real. When the stonemason disappears on a quest to fulfill his ambition, it is up to Anna May to follow and find him, armed with the new abilities Aunt Jinny has taught her. To save the man she loves, Anna May must journey into the mountain—and confront the horrors that lurk in the darkness of the mine.

30 review for Jolene

  1. 4 out of 5

    Liz (Quirky Cat)

    I received a copy of Jolene in exchange for a fair and honest review. Jolene is the fifteenth novel in Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series, only, there's a pretty major twist this time around. This novel is set in America. Anna May Jones has never exactly been healthy. The daughter of a coal miner, growing up in a small town with little access to clean food and water, Anna May got used to this life. Until the day she was sent to live with her aunt, with the hopes of finally getting bett I received a copy of Jolene in exchange for a fair and honest review. Jolene is the fifteenth novel in Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series, only, there's a pretty major twist this time around. This novel is set in America. Anna May Jones has never exactly been healthy. The daughter of a coal miner, growing up in a small town with little access to clean food and water, Anna May got used to this life. Until the day she was sent to live with her aunt, with the hopes of finally getting better. From that moment onward, Anna May's life changed forever. It turns out that her aunt is a witchy-woman and an Elemental Master, both of which Anna May herself has plenty of potential in. This is the setting for her adventure, as she falls in love and takes great risk to save those she cares about. “Ain't my fault I'm sickly. Not like I did this t' m'self.” There are a few things I really want to start this review off with. First, I just want to say that I absolutely adored the fact that Mercedes Lackey included a warning at the beginning of this book. It went into detail warning readers about some of the triggering subjects contained within. Honestly, I wish more books were this self-aware. Then again, this is Mercedes Lackey we're talking about, so I'm not surprised that she thought it through this far. Second, Jolene is written with a very strong dialect, specifically an Appalachian accent. I'm far from an expert on that dialect, so I'm not going to comment on the accuracy. But I do know that not all readers love it when strong dialects make their way into books. For what it's worth, it isn't as intrusive as one might imagine. It gets better over the course of the novel, as we learn more about Anna May, her life, and her adventures. Overall I think that Jolene was a wonderfully written novel – Mercedes Lackey is a talented author, and it really shows here. The detail put into describing everything from the food to the land is simply beautiful. It does, however, slow down the book by quite a lot. I'd say that the main plot isn't introduced until about the halfway mark, which should give you a solid idea of what you're in for here. Still, it was a worthwhile read, especially for fans of the author or the series. Check out more reviews over a Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elley Murray

    For sure the book isn't perfect. The entire book is written in an Appalachian sort of dialect, with the dialogue being much heavier but the text itself having that same twang. It was not my favorite, but I got used to it pretty quickly and it fit the feel of the book. Also, basically the entire conflict/resolution, or the part that was the fairy tale retelling bit, took place in the last 10% of the book. That's no exaggeration, Anna finally gets to a place where I'm like "Here we go! The fairy t For sure the book isn't perfect. The entire book is written in an Appalachian sort of dialect, with the dialogue being much heavier but the text itself having that same twang. It was not my favorite, but I got used to it pretty quickly and it fit the feel of the book. Also, basically the entire conflict/resolution, or the part that was the fairy tale retelling bit, took place in the last 10% of the book. That's no exaggeration, Anna finally gets to a place where I'm like "Here we go! The fairy tale part!" and I looked and I was 92% of the way through the book. I wish there'd been more pages given to that part of the story, but it didn't feel rushed or incomplete so I guess Mercedes Lackey knows what she's doing! I'm just SO RELIEVED to finally get another book in the Elemental Masters series that's not about Nan and Sarah! Psychic Nan and Medium Sarah play a major role in the fourth book in the series, The Wizard of London, and I really didn't care for them. "Oh well," I thought, "each story is about new people so at least I won't have to see them again." But alas - books 11-14 in the series deviate from the fairy tale retelling format and all follow Sarah and Nan on their adventures helping solve mysteries with Sherlock Holmes (or something, I haven't read them, I disliked Nan and Sarah that much...) Jolene is the 15th book in the series and FINALLY returns to the roots of being based on a fairy tale, with an exciting move to America in the late 19th century! Jolene is based on the Russian fairy tale "The Mistress of the Copper Mountain." I hadn't previously read the fairy tale, but going in with a character named "Jolene" I assumed eventually Anna would be begging of her please don't take her man. (And if you haven't ever listened to Dolly Parton's "Jolene," PLEASE go do so!) I think Mercedes Lackey took as much inspiration from the song as she did from the fairy tale, and it made me SO HAPPY to read. The real conflict and action of the book doesn't take place until the last 10-15%, but it still never felt slow to me. I was content just to "set by an' watch Anna May git her some learnin'." If you're not familiar, the Elemental Masters series is a collection of stand-alone but interconnected fantasy books that take place in a world that's much like ours, except secretly some folks have elemental magic. There's some interconnection between the books, like Dr. Maya from The Serpent's Shadow shows up as a side character in some of the later books, and Lord Alderscroft shows up in a few books before eventually getting his own in The Wizard of London. The characters in Jolene are entirely new, and I'm hopeful the series will continue with fairy tales and myths from some different cultures. This is book 15 in the series, but can be read as a stand alone. A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own. Like this review? Check out more of my reviews on my blog, Elley the Book Otter

  3. 4 out of 5

    Riayl

    Um...wasn't The Fire Rose set in San Francisco? Is that no longer in America? *confused* Um...wasn't The Fire Rose set in San Francisco? Is that no longer in America? *confused*

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ann Brookens

    A return to my favorite Lackey style! Jolene is a wholehearted return to the style of Lackey's early entries in the Elemental Masters series: the wonder and delight of a new magician learning their powers, the fresh characterizations, the traces of a classic fairy tale, all bound up in her delectable writing. I raced through this book, and may reread it tomorrow, it was so delicious! I must confess that I haven't read the last few Elemental Masters books. There has recently been a strong focus on A return to my favorite Lackey style! Jolene is a wholehearted return to the style of Lackey's early entries in the Elemental Masters series: the wonder and delight of a new magician learning their powers, the fresh characterizations, the traces of a classic fairy tale, all bound up in her delectable writing. I raced through this book, and may reread it tomorrow, it was so delicious! I must confess that I haven't read the last few Elemental Masters books. There has recently been a strong focus on the thoughts and psychology of the villains and I HATE getting into their cramped, warped, and twisted minds. With Jolene, we only see the villain from the perspective of the heroine, and I much prefer that view. When I preordered Jolene, I hoped that it would fulfil my desire for the sort of book she wrote 10 years ago...and it did! Thank you, Mercedes Lackey; I loved your book!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nik

    I'm about 1/3 of the way through, and I am enjoying the book, but the dialogue is driving me nuts! I'm from Tennessee, and "y'all" is used when talking to SEVERAL people, or in place of the generic "you". It is NEVER used to talk to one, single, person. "Y'all" as the singular "you" is done consistently throughout the book, and it's REALLY jarring. Otherwise I am enjoying it, I just wish Ms. Lackey or her editors (whoever is responsible for this serious error in dialect) had actually talked with I'm about 1/3 of the way through, and I am enjoying the book, but the dialogue is driving me nuts! I'm from Tennessee, and "y'all" is used when talking to SEVERAL people, or in place of the generic "you". It is NEVER used to talk to one, single, person. "Y'all" as the singular "you" is done consistently throughout the book, and it's REALLY jarring. Otherwise I am enjoying it, I just wish Ms. Lackey or her editors (whoever is responsible for this serious error in dialect) had actually talked with someone from the area, or a historian about the area, to set her/them right.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alex Hughes

    A quiet, soft book with a good ending. Heavy dialect, which took some getting used to in the beginning. Lovely for pandemic reading when the world feels rough and you need it all to be simple again.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Davie

    Sixteenth in the Elemental Masters paranormal fantasy series and revolving around magic-users. The focus is on the young Anna May Jones, and is the first story to take place in America. My Take I had to concentrate on this being part of the Elemental Masters series, as I'm so used to it being set in Victorian England. Lackey does keep true to her working class roots for her teen protagonist, using a mountain dialect for the principal characters. Thankfully, it's very easy to follow her spellings. T Sixteenth in the Elemental Masters paranormal fantasy series and revolving around magic-users. The focus is on the young Anna May Jones, and is the first story to take place in America. My Take I had to concentrate on this being part of the Elemental Masters series, as I'm so used to it being set in Victorian England. Lackey does keep true to her working class roots for her teen protagonist, using a mountain dialect for the principal characters. Thankfully, it's very easy to follow her spellings. That beginning is certainly an excellent example of how the wrong setting can affect a magic-user. Poor Anna May. Thankfully, her aunt knows what she's doing, even if Lackey uses third person protagonist point-of-view from Anna May's perspective. In describing the Jones family's life in a mining town, Lackey touches on all those negatives of being a miner and the effects the pollution and lack of safety equipment has on miners and their families. The debt the Company forces their employees and families into. Yep, pollution. Lackey worked her views in very nicely. Those were some handy bears a'helpin' to keep Union and Rebel soldiers from wiping out the holler. As usual, you can warn the young, but they have to experience it for themselves. At least Anna May is a fast learner. She does have a lot to deal with. Learning about her genetic heritage. Reconciling it with what the preacher said was in the Bible as well as her pa's declarations. Uncovering her bigotries. Anna May's dreams about being viewed as her true age are sweet. Josh has his own dreams. So does his Ma with her love of Blue Willow. A love I can understand *grin*. It's a cute story Josh relates to Anna May about So Ling, Kong-see, and Chang. I gotta say, I do get confused trying to figure out Anna May's genealogy with all those granpappies and grannies and whether they're greats or great-greats. Take it with a grain of salt. That Aunt Jinny. She is a caution and too smart for them. All in all, it was a fun read even if it was rather tame with that unexpected ending. The Story Anna May Jones continues to weaken, and in desperation, Anna May's mother sends her to live with her Aunt Jinny, a witchy-woman and an Elemental Master, in a holler outside of Ducktown. As she settles into her new life, Anna May finds herself falling for a stonemason with a talent for stonecarving. But he's passionate to carve more than just the work for which he's commissioned. When the stonemason disappears on a quest to fulfill his ambition, it is up to Anna May to follow and find him, armed with the new abilities Aunt Jinny has taught her. To save the man she loves, Anna May must journey into the mountain — and confront the horrors that lurk in the darkness of the mine. The Characters Anna May Jones has been sickening since puberty. Ma, May, isn't the most motherly woman; she loves her husband too much. Pa, Lew Jones, is a miner in Soddy. Aunt Virginia "Jinny" Alscot, Ma's sister, has a fearsome reputation as a healer, a Root Woman, thanks to her Earth magic. She lives in Lonesome Holler, in the mountains outside Ducktown. In her childhood, the Alscot family had lived in Shady Holler, near Soddy. Anna's maternal grandmother, was supposed to have married Parnel Parry, Granpappy's best friend; she died after birthing Maybelle, who was then spoiled beyond belief. Pavel Ivanov Lebedev (could be Pavel Lebedev Ivanov??), was Jinny's Great-granpappy. Coby is a hob who tends the yard. Pavel has a fascinating journey. Sally Lacey, known for her healing ways, was his wife, Jinny's Great-granny, whom Pavel met on Squire Thomson's farm in Devon, England. Jinny's neighbors, Maddie and Matt Holcroft, bought the farm from Jinny's Pa. They have a lot of children, starting with Joshua, Sue, Jacob, Gertie, Seth, Becky, and Ned. Susie is their mule. Hope Sue is okay with that! The Earth Elementals are... ...Jinny's friends. The Domovoy came from Russia with Jinny's Great-granpappy. Grandmother Spider will help teach Anna May. Other Great Elementals include Bear, Deer, Badger, Wolf, Fox, and Panther. Medicine Bear is the Chief of all Bears. The Cherokees are... ...not supposed to exist in the holler, but they hide behind a magical barrier on land bought by Jinny's Russian Granpappy, specifically for the Cherokee. It kept them safe from the Removal. Granny learned to be a Root Woman from Elder Raven's grandpappy and granny. Elder Raven is the father? of Young Raven. It could be that Old Raven is the father with Elder Raven the grandfather... Or they're the same person?? Dawn Greeter may be Old Raven's wife. Moon Daughter is Young Raven's wife. Eagle Sight, a chief, was the Cherokee whom Pavel first met. Ducktown, Tennessee, is... ...where the Burra Burra mine is located. Caleb Strong has a cartage business with his son between Cleveland and Burra Burra. Mary is his wife. Cavenel runs the Company store and is the undertaker who commissions tombstones and such from Josh Holcroft. I'm not sure how to reconcile Thomas Cooper running the Burra Burra Company Store with Cavenel's. Mrs Hopper lost a baby. Clay's Main Mercantile is where Jim and Abby work. Billie McDaran, the mine foreman, is a bad man, a powerful Earth master. Sheriff Tailor comes with the bailiffs. Cleveland Jeb Sawyer is a teamster who makes the run between Cleveland and Soddy with goods for people and the mine. Daisy is his mule. His kids include Hal, Sue, and Bobby. Cap'n Clem runs a ferry. Soddy is... ...the mining community where the Joneses live. And suffer. Daisy. Anna May's contemporaries include Sally Macray. The Malachite Maid is... ...also known as Jolene and Hozjajka Mednof Gory, a.k.a. The Queen of Copper Mountain, with Earth magic. Pavel first knew of her in Russia, but she can travel anywhere. She likes to collect craftsmen. The Three Sisters are corn, beans, and squash. The Ani'-Tsa'guhi was a clan that took up an immortal deal. Aunt Jinny has a powerful hate on for President Andrew Jackson. The Glory is how Aunt Jinny refers to their magic, the Elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. A Lodge is like a union of local Elemental Masters. Rufous Taylor is a master over in Asheville. The Cover and Title The cover is is both soft and bright. The background is a grayed-out graphic of the blond Josh in black knotted neckerchief, white shirt, and brown leather full apron, concentrating on a long-stemmed cup? against which he's handling a black tubular object. He's standing in his barn studio surrounded by carved statues, plinths, and tombstones. The author's name is in white at the very top. Immediately below it is the bright with a black-and-clay framed rectangular inset framing the orange tones of Jolene from bust to her long red hair studded with colorful jewels, scarabs, lizards, and an entwined snake as a crown. She's staring out at us with those emerald green eyes above a brown silhouette of the dying town of Ducktown. In the bottom left of the inset is the series information in black. At the very bottom is the title in a gradation of clay to dark brown in the same gothic font as the author's name. The title is all about the questionable Jolene.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    Dear Misty, this is TRASH. Lackey Lacks Originality. Ive been reading your work since I was 15. I was a WRITE IN PEN PAL FAN CLUB MEMBER thirty years ago. I remember Judith. I remember the bullshit fanfic release forms. I REMEMBER THE ACCUSATIONS. This is not a new fiction release. This is a rehash of decades old work, MIXED UP WITH A STOLEN, INTERNATIONALLY FAMOUS IP BELONGING TO A WORLD FAMOUS LYRICIST AND SONGWRITER. You should be fucking ashamed of yourself Lackey. This is a new fucking low. Dear Misty, this is TRASH. Lackey Lacks Originality. Ive been reading your work since I was 15. I was a WRITE IN PEN PAL FAN CLUB MEMBER thirty years ago. I remember Judith. I remember the bullshit fanfic release forms. I REMEMBER THE ACCUSATIONS. This is not a new fiction release. This is a rehash of decades old work, MIXED UP WITH A STOLEN, INTERNATIONALLY FAMOUS IP BELONGING TO A WORLD FAMOUS LYRICIST AND SONGWRITER. You should be fucking ashamed of yourself Lackey. This is a new fucking low. I hope Dolly sues the shit out of you, and i hope all of Fantasy fandom finally finishes turning their collective back on you, you washed up, plagiarizing, unoriginal insulting has-been.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    DNF. I hate it when authors try to write dialogue in a dialect, especially an Appalachian dialect. What would have been an enjoyable book was ruined. An ARC was provided to me by Netgalley for my honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Scratch

    Standard disclosure for a Mercedes Lackey book these days: She has been phoning it in for about 15-20 years, so the quality of her novels has gone way down. That being said, this particular installment to the Elemental Masters was a little better than most. The obvious worst part about this novel was the Appalachian, Tennessee dialect. It's nearly identical to the "church speak" used by Nell in the Soulwood Novels by Faith Hunter, so at least it's familiar to us fantasy buffs. But the dialect was Standard disclosure for a Mercedes Lackey book these days: She has been phoning it in for about 15-20 years, so the quality of her novels has gone way down. That being said, this particular installment to the Elemental Masters was a little better than most. The obvious worst part about this novel was the Appalachian, Tennessee dialect. It's nearly identical to the "church speak" used by Nell in the Soulwood Novels by Faith Hunter, so at least it's familiar to us fantasy buffs. But the dialect was persistent throughout the whole novel, with words spelled phonetically to approximate the weird dialect. It's readable, but you have to flip a switch in your head to make it understandable. If readers can't easily flip that switch, this book could be a chore. Beyond that, I'm pleased that Lackey allowed herself to include a proper goddess in this work, though she hesitated to actually use the word. Normally, she is reluctant to include gods as characters at all, and she often will say that they're some sort of fae instead. But Jolene is a beautiful, powerful goddess I legitimately had never heard of before. I found her aesthetics very pleasing. Copper and malachite? She's the kind of mineral goddess my geology-loving husband might worship. Otherwise, this novel was much the same as any other Lackey novel. Lots of attention paid to food and chores, with the main characters learning that they will only succeed in life by embracing simple practicality, and setting aside whatever neurotic qualities they might have started out with. Here, the main character Anna didn't really have any personality problems. She just suffered from poverty, malnutrition, and the usual negative side effects Earth mages feel when they live in cities. She moved in with her aunt and did a bunch of chores, focusing on food the whole time, and got much better. Along the way she learned magic. Normal. Standard Elemental Masters book. However, there were two possible "villains" to this novel, one of whom was --arguably-- this "Jolene" character, a type of Russian goddess. The other was pure evil, and as such was a very two-dimensional character. There was just enough intrigue that I didn't feel like Lackey phoned in this novel quite as much.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    When I saw that Mercedes Lackey had released a new Elemental Masters book on Dec. 1, I had to find it. While the rest of the series is based on fairy tales, this one is based on a song: Dolly Parton's "Jolene." Anna May Jones lives in Shoddy, a Tennessee mining town. Her father has black lung, and she's sickly herself. So, when her mother's sister insists that she come live in Lost Holler, her parents send her -- against her will. There, she discovers that Aunt Jinny is the local Root Woman, maki When I saw that Mercedes Lackey had released a new Elemental Masters book on Dec. 1, I had to find it. While the rest of the series is based on fairy tales, this one is based on a song: Dolly Parton's "Jolene." Anna May Jones lives in Shoddy, a Tennessee mining town. Her father has black lung, and she's sickly herself. So, when her mother's sister insists that she come live in Lost Holler, her parents send her -- against her will. There, she discovers that Aunt Jinny is the local Root Woman, making medicines that help the townsfolk. She also meets several interesting folk along the way, including the titular Jolene. Most importantly, she meets Josh Holcroft, a stonemason of particular skill. The two fall in love, but before long, Jolene takes an interest in Josh ... and then things become difficult. If you know the song, you know the problem. I don't want to deliver spoilers if I can avoid it; the twists and turns of this tale are half the fun. Suffice it to say that the ending is entirely satisfactory and I enjoyed the book thoroughly. It's part historical fiction, part urban fantasy, and completely delightful.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Megan C. Staples

    I purely love pretty much anything Mercedes Lackey writes, and this chapter of the Elemental Masters was the same pleasure to read as all the others. Turning the Russian folk tales to new purposes is a brilliant idea! The research for "The Firebird" and the inspiration for writing "Fortunes Fool" may have played into developing the plot. But Dolly Parton's song played in the back of my mind as I was reading "Jolene." And like the story ballad, this novel commanded my attention until I was done! I purely love pretty much anything Mercedes Lackey writes, and this chapter of the Elemental Masters was the same pleasure to read as all the others. Turning the Russian folk tales to new purposes is a brilliant idea! The research for "The Firebird" and the inspiration for writing "Fortunes Fool" may have played into developing the plot. But Dolly Parton's song played in the back of my mind as I was reading "Jolene." And like the story ballad, this novel commanded my attention until I was done! (Yes, I really did read it in the space of a day!)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Brown

    Wonderful book with great new characters with a compelling story. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. I really enjoyed the new setting and different ways of doing magic at different times. The story was relatable and reminded me of old history lessons I had nearly forgotten. A great book to get into the series or for long time fans.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    What if? I imagine the author listening to the Dolly Parton song Jolene and saying what if and coming up with this incredible story. This tale takes us to a place and time I’d not gone before; the mining towns of the 1890’s. Life is hard and the income divide is cruel. Anna May and her Aunt Jinny are fascinating and strong each in their own way. I was pulled into this story and got lost in it from the fabulous cover through the very last page. Though this is a part of a series it can be read sta What if? I imagine the author listening to the Dolly Parton song Jolene and saying what if and coming up with this incredible story. This tale takes us to a place and time I’d not gone before; the mining towns of the 1890’s. Life is hard and the income divide is cruel. Anna May and her Aunt Jinny are fascinating and strong each in their own way. I was pulled into this story and got lost in it from the fabulous cover through the very last page. Though this is a part of a series it can be read standalone. I loved it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Harless

    Masterfully done! (Pun intended) It is clear that Ms. Lackey took her inspiration from Dolly Parton's song of the same name. But then she went & made it her own interpretation in her own inimitable way. A Lovely homage to both Dolly & the folk of the "hollers"! Masterfully done! (Pun intended) It is clear that Ms. Lackey took her inspiration from Dolly Parton's song of the same name. But then she went & made it her own interpretation in her own inimitable way. A Lovely homage to both Dolly & the folk of the "hollers"!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Mercedes Lackey and her Elemental Masters series aim to please and are very hard to put down. Enjoyable to read as always exploring the different masteries: earth, air, water, fire, and spirit. Anna May learns about and how to control her earth powers. If you like these, you will the many novels of Valdemar.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    I wonder if Dolly Parton has read this? Loosely based on her song. The dialog/accent this is written in is kind of hard to understand even if you're familiar with how it sounds. That's why I gave it 4 stars. Wish there were more details on other US masters and the Cherokee. I wonder if Dolly Parton has read this? Loosely based on her song. The dialog/accent this is written in is kind of hard to understand even if you're familiar with how it sounds. That's why I gave it 4 stars. Wish there were more details on other US masters and the Cherokee.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eloisa

    She does it again. Wow. Nice twist to bring the elementals to the United States. I like how she uses the historical background to enrich the story. And it is a very, very good story. Love Jinny, Anna, and Josh. Now I have to go and listen to that song Jolene.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lyssa Sue Shaffer

    Yes!! It is good to have an old style Misty book to gobble for the holidays. A comfortable read, thick with the flavor of the Appalachian Mountains.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gillian Wiseman

    Fairly predictable but very readable. A standard Lackey, nothing exceptional, but nothing wrong with it either.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    I got to read a ARC of this and it’s not too long until the book comes out so here’s a not spoiler opinion of the book. If you’ve liked the rest of this series you’ll probably like this one too! I really liked that this one could stand alone despite being a book 15. The main girl is likable, plucky and good natured despite her circumstances which always goes well for one in a fairytale! Like the others in this series a great deal of attention is lavished on the food, clothes and surroundings to r I got to read a ARC of this and it’s not too long until the book comes out so here’s a not spoiler opinion of the book. If you’ve liked the rest of this series you’ll probably like this one too! I really liked that this one could stand alone despite being a book 15. The main girl is likable, plucky and good natured despite her circumstances which always goes well for one in a fairytale! Like the others in this series a great deal of attention is lavished on the food, clothes and surroundings to really give a sense of time and place. The magic is lighter in this one than some of the others but it suits the story and works well. The one thing I didn’t like was the dialogue. It’s all written in dialect and it’s thick back country no formal book learning for anyone dialect. If you just read it all phonetically it does start to flow more easily once you get used to it. It’s somewhere between a three and a four star book. I had fun reading it but it’s not brilliantly good. However I’ve always loved the positivity of Mercedes Lackey books so I’m rounding up to 4. Anything positive in 2020 deserves rounding up right?

  22. 5 out of 5

    PlotTrysts

    This book feels like a return to form for Mercedes Lackey. Her Elemental Masters series has long been a standout, with a fun take on magic set in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Note that most of the Elemental Masters books can be read as standalones, with the only connecting feature being the system of magic. That continues with this novel, which takes us to the US. Set in post-Civil War Appalachia, we meet Anna May when she's sixteen and living in a mining town with her coal mining father a This book feels like a return to form for Mercedes Lackey. Her Elemental Masters series has long been a standout, with a fun take on magic set in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Note that most of the Elemental Masters books can be read as standalones, with the only connecting feature being the system of magic. That continues with this novel, which takes us to the US. Set in post-Civil War Appalachia, we meet Anna May when she's sixteen and living in a mining town with her coal mining father and her mother who works to make every cent stretch as far as it can. Anna is a sickly young woman, partly through malnutrition, but partly because of her latent Earth Magic powers. (If you've read any of Lackey's previous Elemental Masters books, this becomes obvious very quickly.) Anna soon moves to live with her Aunt Jinny, a "Root Woman" who makes and sells potions, where she comes into her own. She begins to learn how to use her magical abilities and makes friends outside of her family. She also meets a beautiful woman named Jolene (who, as you have probably guessed if you know the Dolly Parton song), has "flaming locks of auburn hair, ivory skin, and eyes of emerald green").. The final conflict of the book is inspired by the song Jolene, and we loved how the book worked with the meaning of the lyrics to both flesh them out but also make them a little more palatable for a modern reader. Although the book suffers from some pacing issues (it's exposition heavy, with the plot and antagonist entering the scene after the halfway mark), it's an extremely enjoyable read. We also really enjoyed the unconventional setting. Recommended for young adult and fantasy lovers, and especially for anyone who has read previous Elemental Masters books. This objective review is based on a complimentary advanced reader copy provided by NetGalley and DAW.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    What did I just read?! I got this and was really excited as the fairy tale it is suppose to be based on was The Queen of Copper Mountain. Based on the blurb I thought there were also be an intermix of the myth of Pygmalion as well. However, this was NOT what the book was and frankly the blurb lies. This book describes pretty much EVERYTHING the characters eat... all the time. If you took out all the descriptions of meals and eating the book would be significantly shorter. Then there are the chor What did I just read?! I got this and was really excited as the fairy tale it is suppose to be based on was The Queen of Copper Mountain. Based on the blurb I thought there were also be an intermix of the myth of Pygmalion as well. However, this was NOT what the book was and frankly the blurb lies. This book describes pretty much EVERYTHING the characters eat... all the time. If you took out all the descriptions of meals and eating the book would be significantly shorter. Then there are the chores, I get it it, its historical and they aren't wealthy so there are lots and lots of chores... but it felt like 90% of the book is food and chores. Pretty much all of the rest is either Anna (the protagonist) either reading about her grandfathers journey, getting lessons on her power or hanging out with her crush. The actual "fairytale" elements and PLOT are only about 20-30 pages right at the end. The "villain's" of the story appear so little there is no real tension or threat from them. The burb just isn't accurate... (view spoiler)[ The love interest/stonecarver doesn't really obsess over his skill level - they basically have one or two conversations about how he can't afford tools of his own or how he wishes for better material. Also, disappear? No not really, he gets kidnapped but not to worry the "villain" shows up right then (for the third time in the book and the FIRST time he actually interacts with the heroine). When running from him the spirits basically dump her at the mine entrance, she goes in, sees the carver but he's alseep so she talks to the Queen, five pages later the queen has dealt with the villain AND let them go. So... facing down the horrors and darkness of the mine? Not so much. (hide spoiler)] Let me save you the read: (view spoiler)[ Girl goes to live with aunt, does chores and eats well. Falls in love with the first boy to notice her and learns a bit about magic. Parents die, she finds out they left a debt and then the love interest is missing. Villain shows up to "claim" her. She runs, finds help from the spirit creatures and find the missing love interest. Yells at the goddess/spirit for setting her up for the villain, goddess realizes villain is evil and kills him. Solves the heroines debt problem. The end. (hide spoiler)] I felt like all of characters in the book were two dimensional and could be summed up in one or two characteristics. This is nothing like the earlier books in the series to the point where I'm not even sure Lackey wrote this. In short, there isn't much a story here, there is no tension, no real threat and everything just works out for Anna in the end with little to no effort (view spoiler)[ save for a page of yelling (hide spoiler)] by the heroine. Don't even get me started on how the characters talk... on top of everything else they talk in a 'southern' way that makes you have to decode the speech as you go.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kingtchalla83

    I love Mercedes Lackey, but I haven't read her books in 10 + years. When I saw the cover and title "Jolene," I bought it right away. To set the mood, I listened to various Dolly Parton songs - Jolene, Tennesse Homesick Blues, My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy, Joshua, The Bargain Store, Do I Ever Cross Your Mind, Two Doors Down, Coat of Arms, Here You Come Again, Baby Come Out Tonight, Mule Skinner Blue (Blue Yodel No. 8) and Blue Smoke to name a few. Dolly is an entire vibe. 🦎 What's it about: Jolene re I love Mercedes Lackey, but I haven't read her books in 10 + years. When I saw the cover and title "Jolene," I bought it right away. To set the mood, I listened to various Dolly Parton songs - Jolene, Tennesse Homesick Blues, My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy, Joshua, The Bargain Store, Do I Ever Cross Your Mind, Two Doors Down, Coat of Arms, Here You Come Again, Baby Come Out Tonight, Mule Skinner Blue (Blue Yodel No. 8) and Blue Smoke to name a few. Dolly is an entire vibe. 🦎 What's it about: Jolene reimagines the Russian Fairytale The Queen of the Copper Mountain, Dolly's titular character from her famous song, and a mythological creature from Slavic mythology. The book takes place in a Tennesse coal mining town in 1890. Anna May Jones lives in abject poverty in Soddy, TN, and looks 12 even though she is 16. Anna's chronic illness does not improve with time, and she is sent to live with her witchy, Aunty Jinny, an Elemental Master. In Ducktown (where her Aunt lives), she discovers her powers, "The Glory," and draws unwanted attention.  🦎 1)Lackey sets the tone using an Appalachian dialect. The accents did not impeeded my reading, but I had to concentrate on the dialogue a bit more.  🦎 2)Jolene is the slowest of burns that ever burned in the history of burning (think of heating a pot with one coal). The conflict doesn't kick-off until about page 125. The action doesn't happen until the last chapter.  🦎 3)The romance is sweet and insta-lovie, but I enjoyed it. 🦎 4)The lore of the Cherokee is fire. They were brilliant side characters.  🦎 5) Joelene is so much fun! I'd loved to see the legendary character introduced into other works of fiction. 🦎 6) The villain felt like a GI Joe bad guy and was introduced too late into the story. The text needed more tension. 🦎 7)I love diaries in novels that reveal character history. 🦎 8)Loved the relationship she built with her Aunt Jinny.  🦎 It's a decent read to pass the time. I'll always remember this book because it made me listen to Dolly in-depth.  🦎 Favorite quote: "But wise men keeps their mouth shut, and gets wiser."  ⭐⭐⭐ 3 stars

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christi Upson

    A slightly different flavor to this book from the previous Elemental Masters books. Not surprised it's a retelling of a Russian legend since it's not the first time Ms. Lackey has done so. The setting is Tennessee in the USA and a young girl is living with her miner father and her mother in a town that is suffering from the coal mine and smelter business based there. The girl is doing "poorly", as they would say, but her mother finally prevails on her father to send Anna, the protagonist, to her A slightly different flavor to this book from the previous Elemental Masters books. Not surprised it's a retelling of a Russian legend since it's not the first time Ms. Lackey has done so. The setting is Tennessee in the USA and a young girl is living with her miner father and her mother in a town that is suffering from the coal mine and smelter business based there. The girl is doing "poorly", as they would say, but her mother finally prevails on her father to send Anna, the protagonist, to her Aunt Jinny out in the country. By the time she arrives, Anna is feeling much better than she had been, which tells us loyal readers of the series that she's at least an Earth magician. Jinny's grandfather had come from Russia when the boyar that owned the land he lived on chased all that were living in the area to leave so he might have a hunting preserve. He is passed to the New World via many Elemental Masters who teach him what he needs to know to master his own Earth element. Before reaching the New World, he meets his soul mate, another Earth magician. Together, after several years in the new world, they are confronted by the Queen of the Copper Mountain who is known for abducting miners and artisans she takes a fancy to. Fortunately, Jinny's grandfather documented all his studies and travels and the meeting with the Queen, which helps Anna learn more about her own training as an Elemental Master. Unknown to her, she is also being taught by the Queen of the Copper Mountain, who saw the name "Jolene" on a gravestone and liked it, so she adopted it as her own. She is beautiful and mysterious and, yes, the Dolly Parton song of the same name comes into play. In this book, Ms. Lackey not only touches on the Russian legend, but also on the Cherokee legends/traditions of Grandmother Spider and the greater spirits that protect the Earth and those that respect it. Well blended mix of traditions in this book. Loved the book!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book, in return for a fair and honest review. I always enjoy Mercedes Lackey's books, in all her myriad universes, and this was no exception. Jolene is the most recent book in the Elemental Masters series (although not, as the blurbs say, the first set in the US, unless you're going to ignore The Fire Rose and San Francisco). This book does have a different feel to it than the previous books in the Elemental Masters series. To begin with, I was surprised to Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book, in return for a fair and honest review. I always enjoy Mercedes Lackey's books, in all her myriad universes, and this was no exception. Jolene is the most recent book in the Elemental Masters series (although not, as the blurbs say, the first set in the US, unless you're going to ignore The Fire Rose and San Francisco). This book does have a different feel to it than the previous books in the Elemental Masters series. To begin with, I was surprised to find that the main character was not Jolene (I kept waiting for Anna May to get renamed, until Jolene showed up). Once again, we have a main character who is strongly gifted, yet unaware of her gifts or even the existence of gifts. She's fortunate enough to fall into the hands of her aunt, who is an apparently moderately gifted earth witch, and who is ready to care for her and teach her. We have a villain - a strong magic user who wants Anna May. It's not altogether clear that it's totally for her magic that he wants her, but regardless - nothing good will come of it if he gets his hands on her! And then there's Jolene, an intriguingly ambiguous character. We know that she's an incredibly strong magician, presumably earth magic, since she's noted as being a protector of miners. But there's also the Snow Queen type activity, as she tries to pull aside young creative men to live in her domain. I seem to recall most of the elemental masters in the earlier books being either good or bad. I enjoyed this - definitely worth reading as an entry in the Elemental Masters series.

  27. 4 out of 5

    annapi

    I have never read the fairy tale of The Queen of the Copper Mountain, so I went into this blind, not knowing or expecting anything except the usual good story that Mercedes Lackey provides. And she did not disappoint. This is set in the days after the American Civil War in Tennessee. Anna's father is a miner trapped in effective indentured servitude to The Company, and the years of breathing coal (which the mining company said was good for your health!) have taken their toll. Living in the sooty I have never read the fairy tale of The Queen of the Copper Mountain, so I went into this blind, not knowing or expecting anything except the usual good story that Mercedes Lackey provides. And she did not disappoint. This is set in the days after the American Civil War in Tennessee. Anna's father is a miner trapped in effective indentured servitude to The Company, and the years of breathing coal (which the mining company said was good for your health!) have taken their toll. Living in the sooty town has also affected Anna's health, and in their poverty, Anna's mother finally sends Anna to live with her stepsister despite her husband's animosity towards the "witchy" woman who lives alone and makes herbal concoctions. Anna eventually learns there is nothing to fear from her Aunt Jinny, and indeed she finally learns that she has the same kind of earth magic her aunt does, only more powerful. But more powerful still is the beautiful and dangerous woman around town known as Jolene, whom everyone admires and Jinny fears. As with most of Lackey's books, this story starts out slowly at first, building the characters and developing them before the action gets going. But characters are Lackey's strength so I was never bored, and the story's pace was a steady beat until the conflict arose, and then it took off and was over more quickly than I expected. I only wish she'd continued the story longer so we see how Anna's life settles, because I just didn't want to leave that world and those characters so soon.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This is a bit different from most of the other Elemental Masters books, and I didn't think it was an improvement. Although the story still captured me early on, as do all of Lackey's books, I didn't feel as engaged, somehow, and it was easy to put the book down. For one thing, it is set in the rural south and everyone talks with a very "rural south" accent, which gets a bit annoying. (I kept stumbling over "I thank..." when they meant "I think", and "Wall" instead of "Well".) Minor things, to be This is a bit different from most of the other Elemental Masters books, and I didn't think it was an improvement. Although the story still captured me early on, as do all of Lackey's books, I didn't feel as engaged, somehow, and it was easy to put the book down. For one thing, it is set in the rural south and everyone talks with a very "rural south" accent, which gets a bit annoying. (I kept stumbling over "I thank..." when they meant "I think", and "Wall" instead of "Well".) Minor things, to be sure, but they build up. Anna, the young heroine, is sent to live with her Aunt Jinny, who is an Earth master, primarily for her health. Living with her parents in a coal mining town full of soot and coal dust, Anna is ill all the time. As things progress, we realize that she is also an Earth mage and is sick because the earth around her is also sick from the mining ravages. At her aunt's, she improves rapidly, meets a neighbor boy with whom she falls in love, and also meets a strange and beautiful woman named Jolene. Her aunt warns her against Jolene, but Anna is attracted anyway, especially as Jolene offers to teach her magic. Some Cherokee hiding in the area help her and her aunt when disaster strikes and a local bully goes after them. When her boyfriend disappears, Anna fears he has been stolen by Jolene and goes in search of him. The plot was all over the place, but wrapped up fairly nicely in the end. I enjoyed it, but I don't think it is on a par with her other Elemental Masters books.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Freida Cameron

    As usual, Mercedes Lackey did not disappoint! Living in TN and having actually been to/heard of the places mentioned in this story added much to the reading. I knew that Soddy and Daisy were once two towns, that joined and became Soddy Daisy. I had never heard of a copper mine in Ducktown, so I had to research and found out all about the copper mine, how it left that area as the largest man made desert that was even visible from space, and then how the land was recovered. I loved the confirmation As usual, Mercedes Lackey did not disappoint! Living in TN and having actually been to/heard of the places mentioned in this story added much to the reading. I knew that Soddy and Daisy were once two towns, that joined and became Soddy Daisy. I had never heard of a copper mine in Ducktown, so I had to research and found out all about the copper mine, how it left that area as the largest man made desert that was even visible from space, and then how the land was recovered. I loved the confirmation that Ms. Lackey had researched and done well in putting together the framework of the story. I also researched the Queen of the Copper Mountain and found how well this all fit together with Ms. Lackey's story. Of course, the use of Dolly Parton's song "Jolene" to tie all the pretty pieces together was epic. The characters are realistic- and make you care about them. The story, while simple, draws you in and keeps you entertained. I am hoping there might be a story forthcoming on the Ravens and the story of the Removal. It does seem there is meat there for maybe even more than one story! These are all reasons Ms. Lackey remains one of my most enduring favorites as an author. Her craftsmanship is excellent and she easily crafts a story that is woven into a historically accurate background, with her fantasy bits fitting into so many realms of 'possible' that it never feels farfetched or overreaching.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shilo Quetchenbach

    Who knew that the song Jolene and the fairy tale of the Queen of Copper Mountain would go so well together? This is an excellent tribute to Dolly Parton (though near the end it did get a little pointed, what with the echoing "Jolene Jolene Jolene Jolene" and Anna's plea), and I'm thoroughly convinced that Dolly's Jolene is, in fact, a Great Elemental. The most striking thing about this book (aside from Jolene) is the writing. It's written entirely in dialect - late 1800s/early 1900s Tennessee - Who knew that the song Jolene and the fairy tale of the Queen of Copper Mountain would go so well together? This is an excellent tribute to Dolly Parton (though near the end it did get a little pointed, what with the echoing "Jolene Jolene Jolene Jolene" and Anna's plea), and I'm thoroughly convinced that Dolly's Jolene is, in fact, a Great Elemental. The most striking thing about this book (aside from Jolene) is the writing. It's written entirely in dialect - late 1800s/early 1900s Tennessee - and it is scrupulously consistent. It's easy enough to read once you get into it, but at first glance, it has little in common with today's English. As for the story, it reminded me a lot of Anne of Green Gables but with magic. I never got bored - the pace moves along steadily as Anna settles into life on her Aunt Jinny's homestead and grows into her magic. I appreciated that while this is an Elemental Masters novel, it doesn't rely on knowledge of the previous novels, except for some basic world-building. I have read most of them, but not all, and not in the past few years. Luckily this proved no hindrance. I also had some prior knowledge of the tales of the Queen of the Copper Mountain, but while this allowed me to anticipate some plot points, I don't think it's necessary to follow the story. *Thanks to NetGalley and DAW for providing an e-arc to review.

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