Sun in Glory and Other Tales of Valdemar
Another collection of short stories set in Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar universe. There are 12 new stories, as well as a novella by Lackey. Another good collection of tales, the majority were enjoyable to read.
‘Errold’s Journey’ by Catherine S. McMullen wasn’t a great short story to start this lot off. The dialogue and style seemed awkward and I wasn’t engaged at all. Too passive, too much stating and not enough showing. The ending has a slight twist, but I didn’t feel what Errold had achieved was worth his reward. Relevant to the Darian’s tale Valdemar trilogy.
‘The Cat who Came to Dinner’ by Nancy Asire was excellent. I really enjoy reading about Valdemar. Reulan was a great priest and I could understand why the glorious ending was the way it was. I did want to see the aftermath though! Those who have read the Storm Warning triology will be familiar with a similar cat.
‘Winter Death’ by Michelle West is a little depressing really. The dream sequences I found confusing, and the reader is left in the dark for a long period. However it is touchingly painful and worth reading. The reader is held in anticipation. This story is slightly longer than some of the others and the ending to me was a little bit of a let down.
‘A Herald’s Rescue’ by Mickey Zucker Reichert is a tricky one! You think you know what is going to happen (particularly if you read ‘The Demon’s Den’ in Sword of Ice), but indeed you don’t really know! I really liked it, and I didn’t even remember it from the first time I had read it – a real surprise.
‘In the Eye of the Beholder’ by Josepha Sherman is short and decidedly not sweet. It’s adrenaline pumping as you feel along with the protagonist. You have to wonder what happens to the beast at the end though – I see the potential for more mischief. The romance seemed a little out of place…
‘Trance Tower Garrison’ by Fiona Patton is another twisty tale. Initially the style of language didn’t do anything for me but ruin my ability to get into the story. Ah, but it was worth continuing reading! It has a certain kind of symmetry – although it’s no always apparent why things happen, they do happen for a reason – particularly Companions choosing a Herald.
‘Starhaven’ by Stephanie Shaver is a pure Herald story that is right with the vein of Lackey’s own woks in my opinion. A pleasure to read, well-written and with just a hint of humour. The kind of Herald I like.
‘Rebirth’ by Judith Tarr is very very strange. I’m not sure it fits with the chronology of Lackey’s universe. I’m really not in favour of creating an afterworld for Herald and Companions when they die, as I feel that Lackey has already done that (particularly in Vanyel’s own trilogy – The Last Herald Mage). It’s not bad, but it’s not the best I have read either.
‘Brock’ by Tanya Hill depicts a Herald who is not a Herald. As in the first short story collection, this has Jors and his companion in it. I think they behave consistently across both, which is great! Brock is a MoonChild, which I think is somewhat similar to having Down’s Syndrome. Touching.
‘True Colors’ by Michael Longcor shows how many people are needed to make up Valdemar. I liked Rin, and I half expected him to be chosen on the spot!
‘Touches the Earth’ by Brenda Cooper was a little odd, in that I didn’t know Healers could do killing for a job at all. Anyway, Anya was someone to relate to, although the humour of this short story seemed strained.
‘Icebreaker’ by Rosemary Edghill is another that shows that people may have satisfaction in their lives even if they aren’t a Herald. It is the job of Heralds to look after their people through anything.
‘Sun in Glory’ by Mercedes Lackey is an excellent new novella. Excellent excellent excellent. It takes place between the Arrows of the Queen trilogy and the Storm Warning trilogy. Just what I would expect. It is even linked in with ‘The Cat who Came to Dinner’.
All in all, these stories are good in their own right as a whole, but most of them are not what I feel is true to the Valdemar world as created originally by Lackey. The majority are well written and enjoyable, and I particularly liked those with humour (‘Starhaven’ for example).