Crossroads and Other Tales of Valdemar
Another collection of short stories edited by Mercedes Lackey. They encompass a wide range of topics, some tastefully sexy, some very sad. Overall a remarkably good collection that adds to the Valdemar world.
“Transmutation” by Larry Dixon is extremely well written and seamlessly fits in with the rest of the novels by Lackey (fitting since he’s her husband!). I’ve never liked the way griffins spoke; I find it hard to read. It’s a long story, and Dixon makes the most of it to tell his tale. Very good.
“The Feast of the Children” by Nancy Aspire goes along with the idea of the burnings of children in Karse. The God is able to act in small ways, particularly through his cats!
“Death in Keenspur House” by Richard Lee Byers is strange, I didn’t like it and I think it’s by the same author that I didn’t like in one of the other anthologies. The murder mystery type thing. It doesn’t fit in with the rest of the stories for me.
“Dawn of Sorrows” by Brenda Cooper is touchingly sad. The story takes place after the Storm Warning trilogy, and depicts what the back story is for those that are left behind after a Choosing.
“Horse of Air” by Rosemary Edghill is also rather sad. I didn’t get into the story (perhaps it was the use of first person), but I don’t think I was meant to either. It was a bit of a story within a story actually.
“A Change of Heart” by Sarah A. Hoyt and Kate Paulk concerns Ree and Jem. I’ve never really liked the style, although the idea of it is interesting. It does fit in with the Valdemar world convincingly enough, although I naturally would have liked to see more Heralds.
“All the Ages of Man” by Tanya Huff has the return of Herald Jors! Yay, Jors! This time he is required to act as a mentor, but it’s not working out for him because he feels that he isn’t old enough. The writing is engaging, and I’m always happy to hear more. I’m glad Huff stuck to expanding the same character throughout her short stories for these collections.
“War Cry” by Michael Longcor is touching. I guess a purpose of these stories is to dispel the myth that everyone who has Gifts will be chosen. Others have a different role to play. This story fits in neatly with Exile’s Valor.
“Strength and Honor” by Ben Ohlander is the return of Tregaren and a part of Vkandis’ army in Karse from the first set of short stories. The perspective has changed slightly, but it’s just as good as the first one. Another bit of background on Solaris.
“The Blue Coat” by Fiona Patton is surprisingly good, I enjoyed the storyline, if not entirely the execution.
“Safe and Sound” by Stephanie D. Shaver is a story for twins. A young Bard is chasing a song, and is willing to do anything to get it. Written just as I would imagine Lackey would – very enjoyable.
“Song For Two Voices” by Janni Lee Simner is about a lifebonding in the Holderkin. It isn’t a surprise for me that this is the way the Holderkin live, and although I didn’t like the splitting of the two parts, I could understand why it was written that way.
“Finding Elvida” by Mickey Zucker Reichert is in the same style as The Legend of Nightfall, which means that I loved it! It’s a little hard to believe that a Herald has been sent out on circuit without proper training for all of her Gifts, but if this was occurring during the mage wars, it’s understandable.
“Darkwall’s Lady” by Judith Tarr is creeply sneaky. Well written, not technically about Heralds, although one plays a role. Interesting that that type of magic was able to survive in Valdemar after the advent of vrondi by Vanyel.
“Naught but Duty” by Michael Z. Williamson is a tricky one! Well written, and intentionally confusing at times. I keep thinking of Good Duke Arden from the Bardic Voices universe, but this is an entirely different kettle of fish.
“Landscape of the Imagination” by Mercedes Lackey fits in with the By The Sword collection of short stories about Tarma and Kethry. Just as good as I would have hoped.
My gripe for these stories is probably that for some of them it is hard to know where to place them in the Valdemar chronology. The thing that I like is that lots of them are about Karse, and the Sun Priests, which is something I have always wanted to know more about.
This is a good collection, I’d recommend it for both teens an adults. Anyone who enjoys the Valdemar world will appreciate having this set of short stories to read when there isn’t time for a longer novel.