I haven’t been a huge fan of the first two Valdemar collections starring Mags, but I’ll admit that he’s a lot less annoying as an adult. Luckily, his son Perry is completely different and much easier to handle despite his young age. I enjoyed this adventure featuring both characters, especially the parent-child dynamic aspect.

Despite creating such an expansive world, Lackey continues to add new facets with each new story. The villain of this piece expands upon things we have seen before while still bringing something new to the table. The non-human allies (beyond the ever-present Companions) are also races we have seen before, but they are presented as three-dimensional characters in and of themselves. I especially liked the subtle ways in which Lackey reminds the reader that these characters are not human, and might not always have human ideals or values.

There are occasional “too stupid to live” moments for all of the characters, but overall, Perry grew on me and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him as a full adult and where he ends up. I think the rest of this trilogy will focus on his siblings, which also makes me happy, because this particular book had little in the way of well-rounded female characters — which is the only reason it has four stars instead of five.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Published by steelvictory

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Her debut novel, STEEL VICTORY, was her thesis novel for Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was one of the co-editors for FAR WORLDS, a speculative fiction anthology. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (www.jlgribble.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jlgribblewriter), and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits). She is currently working on more tales set in the world of Limani.

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