Phil Parker (tigertoy) wrote,
Phil Parker

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.
Tags: anthology, book review, fantasy, mercedes lackey
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