I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Crucible: All-New Tales of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey
Published by DAW on December 1st 2015
Number of Pages: 352
Genres: Fantasy, Short Stories
Purchase: At Amazon
In March 1987, Mercedes Lackey, a young author from Oklahoma, published her first novel, Arrows of the Queen. No one could have envisioned that this modest book about a magical land called Valdemar would be the beginning of a fantasy masterwork series that would span decades and include more than two dozen titles.
Now the voices of other authors add their own special touches to the ancient land where Heralds “Chosen” from all walks of life by magical horse-like Companions patrol their ancient kingdom, dispensing justice, facing adversaries, and protecting their monarch and country from whatever threatens. Trained rigorously by the Herald’s Collegium, these special protectors each have extraordinary Gifts: Mindspeaking, FarSeeing, FarSpeaking, Empathy, Firestarting and ForeSeeing, and are bonded for life with their mysterious Companions. Travel with these astounding adventurers in these original stories.
This book felt less like Valdemar to me than some of the previous collections. I have read nearly every Valdemar book Mercedes Lackey has written, and all of the collections she has edited. So I’m familiar with all the people and time periods that were represented here. Unfortunately, not all the stories resonated with me. A number of them were decent, but didn’t feel like they were part of Valdemar.
And then there were those that managed to get it so right they deserved 5 stars all on their own. There is a broad collection of characters here. Everything from the Gryphons and the Mage Storms, to Healers and Bards. As well of course, as Heralds and Companions. The vast majority seemed to center around Healers and Bards though.
My favorites in this collection (in no particular order) are: Feathers In Need, Down the Line, The Note, and Vexed Vixen.
The full list of stories included are:
Feathers In Need by Jennifer Brozek
The Highjorune Masque by Stephanie D. Shaver
Lost Song by Dylan Birtolo
Unresolved Consequences by Elizabeth A. Vaughan
Gifts of Rage and Despair by Ron Collins
A Bellowing of Bullfinches by Elizabeth Waters
She Chooses by Michele Lang
The Harvest by Kristin Schwengel
Before a River Runs Through It by Fiona Patton
Hertasi and Wyrsa and Magpies, Oh My! by Louisa Swann
A Fire in the Grass by Michael Z. Williamson and Jessica Schlenker
Never Alone by Dale A. Dermatis
Down the Line by Brigid Collins
Ghosts of the Past by Angela Penrose
The Quiet Gift by Anthea sharp
Healing Home by Kerrie L. Hughes
The Note by Phaedra Weldon
Vexed Vixen by Mercedes Lackey