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Book review:  Crossroads - Phil's Rambling Rants — LiveJournal
March 28th, 2006
02:24 am


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Book review:  Crossroads
Today's (actually Sunday's but I'm late) book review is Crossroads And Other Tales of Valdemar, edited by Mercedes Lackey.

I usually skip these "stories in the world" anthologies, even when they're worlds I'm a big fan of, but I made an exception because I know so many of the authors personally.  There's a Tanya Huff story -- I didn't know she did Valdemar.  There's a story by Michael Longcor -- I didn't know he wrote fiction at all, much less that he'd been published (though the introduction claims it's not his first Valdemar story).  There's a story by "Mad Mike" Williamson -- again, didn't know he did Valdemar.

All of these stories are at least pretty good.  Some of them don't seem to have much to do with Valdemar, but oddly enough the only one that struck me as troublingly inconsistent with the canon is the one by Larry Dixon (Lackey's husband and co-author on some of the newer books).  The stuff he does with magic doesn't feel right.  The Tanya Huff story is a lighthearted breath of fresh air that nonetheless provokes a little thought about authority relationships -- and the title "All the Ages of Man" does make sense, after you finish the story.  The Longcor is an interesting study of how some of the cool magic stuff we read about Valdemar for might really mix with the mundane reality of a battle.  The Williamson story seems to have no real connection with Valdemar at all, but it does tackle an interesting problem: fantasy (and SF) stories frequently include mercenaries who are good guys -- so what are they supposed to do if they end up in the employ of the bad guys?

For some reason, even though all of the individual stories are decent and some of them are definitely good, the book as a whole didn't leave me terribly excited.  7 out of 10.

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[User Picture]
Date:March 28th, 2006 09:11 pm (UTC)
I've done stories in all the Valdemar anthologies -- that's three now. Micheal Longcor is in the second one as well as this one and he's done at least one other of Misty's anthologies that I know of (only because we talked about his story one year at FKO) but may well have written lots more I've never run into.

And thank you for the good review. "a lighthearted breath of fresh air" was pretty much exactly what I was trying for since these anthologies can get a little... overyly well-intentioned sometimes. *g*
[User Picture]
Date:March 29th, 2006 12:44 am (UTC)
As I said, I don't usually read anthologies like this, and I don't believe I've actually read or even looked at the table of contents for the previous ones.
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