[Book Review] Creepy cover horse says you should read this

Book Review: Tempest: All-New Tales of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey

tempest

I’m falling behind, guys. Of the 34-or-so Valdemar(ish) books out there, I’ve read only 20 to date. So when I saw an anthology set in the world of Mercedes Lackey, it was a no brainer. Of course I had to read it.

Creepy cover notwithstanding, this was a 387-page anthology full of 22 feel-good story resolutions via 23 different authors (the last story being Lackey and Dixon’s work). The tempest theme appeared throughout, both as physical and emotional storms, as each author made that light nod to the world of Velgarth. The stories included heralds, healers, bards, companions, and even a couple non-human characters.

Except, remember how I said there were 22 stories in this anthology? At that number, each story averaged about 15 pages (around 3,500 words), which kinda gets me to my big complaint. I’d get to the end of a story and start scrolling back and forth, sure my computer just glitched me out of a couple pages: “Wait, that’s it?”

The stories tended towards the no-story-arc-but-the-character-learned-something end of the spectrum of resolution. Not necessarily bad, but as I read, it felt like many of the stories didn’t have the elbow room or confidence to build standout characters and story arcs. It didn’t help that guest authors had to focus on nonessential stories; they had to slink along the periphery of the vibrant universe of characters that is Mercedes Lackey’s world of Velgarth.

And that is the ultimate difference between this short story anthology and the last two I read, in which authors owned their stories and used them to flesh out their existing plots and characters.

Still, this anthology did make me hungry for more. For anyone following the latest books, now that we’ve hit the third Herald Spy book, there’s hope that Mag’s trilogy (and storyline) is finally wrapped up and we can move to bigger and better things. Like finding out what’s at the center of Ma’ar’s great crater, say. Or seeing what the Empire is up to. Come at me, Valdemar sequels!

Verdict:

(Really underwhelming, but I’m gonna get myself a Mercedes Lackey novel the next time I’m out, so…)

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