From a High Tower (Elemental Masters) - Mercedes Lackey

Like most Grimm's Fairy Tales, Rapunzel isn't necessarily the cheeriest of stories, though the level of darkness depends on the telling.  But, they tend to stay true to several points; a mother with an irresistible craving for rampion or other greens growing in someone else's garden, the thieving father trading away their unborn child, the child growing into a young woman with very long hair who lives in a tower, and a young man climbing the tower and then falling from it.

More or less, that is the opening of From a High Tower, an introduction to the chosen fairy tale inspiration.  Some notable differences exist, such as the benevolence of the "witch" who raises "Rapunzel," the elemental mastery they both possess, and the villainous nature of the "prince" who comes a courting.

The real literary tribute is to that of a German author who wrote fantastical stories of the Wild West with a very loose grasp on actual American frontier life.  The story continues the Elemental Masters story arc started (I believe) in Blood Red, taking place in German with a strong connection to the Schwarzwald Lodge.

There's a good emphasis on the friendships in this story, which is always good.  I feel like the elementals have become increasingly magical-fairy helpers, and I liked them more when they were less human, but that's a personal opinion.  I am however pretty damn fed up with the casual threat of rape to go "HERE is the villain."  Quibbles aside, it fits well within the newer Elemental Masters books (past few years vs. the earlier less defined as a series books).

Advance Reader Copy courtesy of DAW (Penguin RandomHouse) in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.