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: CLOSER TO THE HEART (Herald Spy #2) by Mercedes Lackey

closer-to-the-heartThis book had the awkward job of pushing along a trilogy plot that I don’t quite understand and a relationship that is already solid. I keep reading Valdemar books because this world has such a special place in my heart, but at this point the drama and intrigue is no longer there for me in this particular section of the world with these particular characters. 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

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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

Review: BLOOD RED by Mercedes Lackey

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BLOOD RED by Mercedes Lackey

It’s always fun to return to one of my favorite series, and it’s even better when that series manages to consistently surprise you. Though there have been some departures,  Lackey’s formula for her Elemental Masters series has been “Traditional fairy tale retold in historical (mostly British) urban fantasy setting and concludes with female elemental master living happily ever with male elemental master of appropriate opposing element.”

Blood Red, though it happily exists in the same world as the rest of the series, takes that formula and happily shakes it around a bit. In this retelling of the “Little Red Riding Hood” story, Rosamund is a badass earth master who hunts monsters for a living and has a particular grudge against werewolves. But the fairy tale allegory ends early on in this novel, and we’re left with the story of the main character growing up and coming into her own. Continue reading

Review: CRUCIBLE edited by Mercedes Lackey

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CRUCIBLE, edited by Mercedes Lackey

Favorite story: “The Note” by Phaedra Weldon. While many of the stories in this anthology rated between 3 and 4 stars for me and were cute and enjoyable but not amazing, this penultimate tale punched me right in the feels. There are so many things about the life of a Herald that are explored in this tale, even though the story’s point of view is the mother of a (deceased) Herald. Reading this story is worth the cost of the anthology alone.

Story that I wish would be expanded into a novel: “Never Alone” Dayle A. Dermatis. Valdemar has been my go-to escape world since I was 12 years old, which is over half my life at this point. Though the books are marketed as adult fantasy, there was so much that spoke to my teenage and young adult self that definitely shaped who I am as a grown-up. But as an adult today, it was lovely to see the tale of a very nontraditional Herald in the form of Herald trainee Syrriah. The story itself is sweet and delivers a strong message in itself, but the underlying implication that it’s never too late for any of us to be Chosen is what stayed with me.

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

Currently reading: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews (0%)

The Real World Returns…

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Can’t beat the view! Photo credit: Husband.

My husband and I are home safe from our amazing vacation. We spent a great 10 days aboard Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas, which sailed out of Baltimore to tool around the Caribbean for a few days. The time was well-spent relaxing and recharging and just spending some quality time together before the husband leaves for 5 months of training in May.

Though I brought my computer along, I wrote a whopping 250 words. But as you can see by the above picture, I was never without a book to read. (After about a week, one guy would shout “The reader!” every time we crossed paths. He was not intoxicated each time, but still found himself to be hilarious.) I tore through the trilogy that a television show I’m enjoying is based on, caught up on stories by a few favorites, introduced myself to a new author, and goaded my husband into reading his Star Trek books faster.

My final reading tally, in no particular order:

Tomorrow, it’s back to the real world–including the first day at my new job! Check back regularly as I post reviews of the books listed above.

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Bare feet and reading make every vacation perfect.

Currently reading: Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles #2), by Ilona Andrews (37%)

Review: CLOSER TO HOME by Mercedes Lackey

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CLOSER TO HOME by Mercedes Lackey

I think my biggest complaint about this book is probably the fact that the back cover text has very, very little to do with the actual plot of the novel. And if that’s my biggest complaint, I will definitely call this book a win. I’ve read every Valdemar book by Mercedes Lackey, many of the multiple times, and I have to admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of the previous series that starred Herald Mags, mostly because I felt little to no new ground was covered in regards to world-building or character creation. So it was with some trepidation that I began the next incarnation of his adventures–but I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed this installment tremendously! Continue reading