It’s taken quite a few books, but I think Lackey is back on her stride with her long-running Valdemar series. While I still noticed a few editorial discrepancies, I enjoyed this novel a lot more than any of the previous books that featured Mags and Amily. This particular story acts as a culmination to what both characters have been working toward for years. Now, they are full Heralds who have come into their own, both in the work that they do and in their relationship.
Valdemaran courtly and political intrigue are some of my very favorite things, and I got both of those in spades in this novel. As an added bonus, Lackey also introduces us to other religious elements in the world, proving that just because a series has literally dozens of books doesn’t mean that the readers (and the author) aren’t always learning new things.
This novel definitely acts as a form of liberal resistance in 2017, focusing on gender issues. Some aspects get a bit preachy, but I have to remind myself that as a woman in her mid-thirties, I’m not necessarily the intended audience for this series anymore. The version of me first introduced to this world in high-school could have stood to learn from this novel, especially regarding the issues of bullying and self-worth.
I hope very much that my next visit to Valdemar involves a character other than Mags and his companions, so that we leave his occasionally dragging story on a much-needed high note.