Review: Pathways (Tales of Valdemar #11) edited by Mercedes Lackey

PathwaysWhile I usually call out two specific stories in anthologies, my favorite and the one I’d most like to see expanded into a novel, I’m unable to do that with this Valdemar collection. I enjoyed most of the stories, but none of them jumped out to me as amazing. A few of the stories also dragged, and one I stopped reading altogether.

One thing this anthology did well was the fantastic representation of diversity in sexual orientation and even gender identity. I’d love future anthologies to explore farther beyond the realm of Valdemar for more representation of people of color (beyond Karsites being a little more brown).  Continue reading

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Review: Closer to the Chest (Herald Spy #3) by Mercedes Lackey

Closer to the ChestIt’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.  Continue reading

Review: A Scandal in Battersea (Elemental Masters #12) by Mercedes Lackey

Scandal in BatterseaThe novels of Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series take two forms. The first is re-imagined fairy tales set in Edwardian England (and Europe beyond). The second is a more of a traditional (historical) urban fantasy series that centers around a group of magicians, psychics, and mediums in London, starring two plucky young women and their avian familiars. They hang out with Sherlock Holmes sometimes, which is why his star-power gets him on the cover of the book.

A Scandal in Battersea is the latter style, which is not my preference of the two, but it was still a quick and enjoyable read. It was a solid, magical mystery adventure filled with comforting characters familiar from earlier in the series. Watching Nan and Sarah grow up has been a lovely ride, and I do enjoy checking in on them.  Continue reading

Review: TEMPEST edited by Mercedes Lackey

tempestFavorite story: “Harmless as Serpents” by Rosemary Edghill & Rebecca Fox

Perhaps because they are such alien creatures, stories where a point of view character is a Companion always intrigue me. Throw in tantalizing details about the mysterious land of Iftel, the realistic aftereffects of Karse’s religious upheaval, and multiple laugh-out-loud moments, and this was easily the most memorable book in this anthology for me. The story stands alone nicely, but I’d love a follow-up just to meet the Herald who matches Kenisant’s personality. Continue reading

Review: A STUDY IN SABLE by Mercedes Lackey

study-in-sableI was excited by both the return of Nan and Sarah in Lackey’s Elemental Masters series and the introduction of this universe’s version of Sherlock Holmes and the Watsons. The aspect of this novel that I was most impressed with was that my brain never once tried to “cast” my mental images of the characters as Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Robert Downey Jr., or Jude Law. Lackey made these characters totally her own while staying true to the spirit of Arthur Conan Doyle’s creations. Continue reading

Review: FROM A HIGH TOWER by Mercedes Lackey

from-a-high-tower

I was thrilled that Lackey once again broke the mold with this installment of the Elemental Masters series. Some things were the familiar, such as a modern (well, Victorian-era) retelling of a traditional fairy tale featuring a strong heroine with elemental magic powers. However, like in Blood Red before it, this novel also transported us outside of England and only hinted at a burgeoning romance at the end rather than making it a centerpiece of the plot. Both of these differences have made for stronger books, in my opinion, rather than having the novel be “yet another romantic fantasy.” Continue reading