The Fire Rose is not considered to be an official member of the Elemental Masters series, I suspect mostly because it has a different publisher. (The first “official” book of the series is The Serpent’s Shadow.) It is also set in Chicago and the San Francisco area rather than England, and the relationships among the Elemental Masters is somewhat different—the inability of two fire masters to co-exist in the same city is certainly out of line with the White Circle of the later books. But the basic structure—magicians of the classical Greek elements, historical setting sometime between the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a strong female protagonist before women had the vote, and a plot based on a popular fairy tale—is similar. I suspect The Fire Rose was Lackey’s first experiment using this form, later refined into the Elemental Masters series.
The plot is a variation of “Beauty and the Beast,” the two major characters are a Master of fire (the Beast) and an apprentice of air (Beauty), and the setting is the West Coast near the time of the San Francisco Earthquake. If you like werewolves, part of the book is the tragedy of a man caught between the wolf and the human forms by his hubris in trying to apply an incompletely learned spell, and the mental and physical pain he must endure as a result.
I read this book long before publication of The Serpent’s Shadow, and thought enough of it then to replace it when my original copy was lost in a fire. An enjoyable book, and one I’ve read several times.
(I was going to review the fair today, but I suspect you’ve had more than enough of that. I will have something to say about the horse shows Thursday, when I’ve had time to go over all of the pictures I took.)