There is a lot to like about the latest installment in the Elemental Masters series. I am pleased that the last two books have taken place in Germany, and thrilled that the heroine from the last book appears in this one. I'm also pleased that the emphasis for both young women is on friendship, responsibility and personal growth rather than romance. And as a German by name and a tiny bit by heritage, Lackey's use of Karl May's books delighted me.
Where I dropped a star from the rating was the new-to-the-reader (if not the author) information that a man's power can be stolen by murder, but for a woman, it must be rape. That was jarring for me. I don't demand that my modern fairy tales be sanitized, but I do object to what seems a fairly glaring double standard. Kill everybody or rape everybody (or do something more creative to steal power, just to make me happy), but don't kill the men and rape the women, because that standard should have been thrown out years ago.