This is a lovely series set in a world where every person has a special affinity for a particular element: water, fire, air, earth, and wood. The individual who can control and… speak is not the right word… communicate with (?) the element in question is called the Prime. In Welce, the kingdom where most (but not all) of these stories take place everyone has a trait associated with one of these elements. So someone associated with coru (water) is always changing, always in motion while someone whose personality is hunti (wood) is strong and stubborn as an oak. It seems like the elements are such opposites that they can never get along and yet every element (and every person) needs one another.
Indeed, that is one of the main themes of this series: how only when people (and elements) combine can we be truly happy.
Which isn’t to say these are simply lovey-dovey books. They deal with some complicated issues. Some of our characters deal with homosexuality, others have to come to terms with their parents infidelity and lies, still others have to try to reconnect with an illegitimate child they’ve abandoned. And sometimes the romance is not one between a young girl and an only slightly older man; in one book the romance is between two older people.
In other ways, these are very conventional novels. Court intrigue? Check. Princess (or noble) falls in love with someone entirely unsuitable and it turns out they just happen to be of exact same social standing? Check. Characters coming of age with the help of unexpected friends? Check.
And yet these books are so well written and the characters and the world so well developed that I did not notice either the conventional aspects or the complicated issues. I just accepted everyone as they came and could not stop turning the pages. (Which unfortunately meant I stayed up way too late reading these books.)
So if you are in the mood for well-written fantasy books, I highly recommend Sharon Shinn’s The Elemental Blessings series.
Product Name: Elemental Blessings (4 Book Series) by Sharon Shinn
Price: $3 - $22
Troubled Waters (An Elemental Blessings Novel Book 1) Royal Airs (An Elemental Blessings Novel Book 2) Jeweled Fire (An Elemental Blessings Novel Book 3) Unquiet Land (An Elemental Blessings Novel Book 4)