Kirsten Reviews: From a High Tower by Mercedes Lackey
From a High Tower by Mercedes Lackey
Elemental Masters #10
When a man is caught stealing from a walled garden owned by a strange woman, he bargains away his youngest daughter in return for food for his family. The woman, rumored to be a witch, takes the golden-haired child and locks her away in a high tower. Sixteen years later, Giselle has lived an isolated life, but her adoptive mother has trained her in Air magic, and Giselle must use her new skills to keep herself and her new friends safe...
From a High Tower by Mercedes Lackey is the eleventh book in her Elemental Masters series and like the others it blends magic with a familiar story. In this case the fairy tale of Rapunzel is the basis of the protagonist’s story. As a baby, Giselle’s father stole food from a walled garden. The garden’s owner is rumored to be a witch and in exchange for food to feed his family, the man trades his youngest daughter, who happens to have long golden hair. In the next sixteen years, Giselle is kept isolated from the world in a high tower while her adopted mother teaches her Air magic.
However, Giselle is assaulted by a young man who ascends Giselle’s tower and is saved by Mother, who happens to be an Earth Master. It’s with the Foresters and Earth Masters of the Black Forest that Giselle stays for the next four years. They teach her their fighting skills and she becomes an expert markswoman and uses this ability to survive when Mother dies. Giselle eventually cuts off her long blond hair and pretends to be a boy in order to enter shooting competitions and supports herself with these winnings.
In spite of her success, Giselle can’t forget the man who attacked her, and that trauma manifests in another violent incident when her secret is discovered and she kills a man who also tries to assault her. Giselle’s escape is assisted by an Earth Master and she winds up in an American traveling show and her marksmanship earns her a job there. But she remains haunted by the spectre of the man who attacked her in the tower as his body was never found.
As a variation on the Rapunzel tale, this book is interesting, and there are a few new characters who would be welcome additions to future stories, and the return of a familiar one. However as a whole the story feels rambly rather than suspenseful and the villain is dispatched without much fuss, making the book feel rather uneven and new readers to the series should start at its beginning rather than with this book.