Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Changing the World edited by Mercedes Lackey
Synopsis From Back Cover:
The Heroes of Valdemar are the Heralds, and ancient order trained to be emissaries, spies, judges, diplomats, scouts, counselors, and even warriors. But they are more than just protectors of the kingdom. Chosen from all across the land, from all walks of life, and at all ages, these unusual individuals are Gifted with abilities beyond those of normal men and women. They are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and others who are uniquely suited to protecting their realm. Sought and Chosen by mysterious horselike Companions, they are bonded for life to these telepathic, enigmatic creatures. With their Companions, the Heralds of Valdemar ride patrol throughout the kingdom protecting the peace and, when necessary, defending their land and monarch.
This is the newest collection of short stories set in Mercedes Lackey's world of Valdemar. Not all the stories deal with the Heralds and their brilliant Companions, Healers, guards, and everyday citizens all have their staring role in these 16 fantastic stories. The collection features a new short story by Mercedes Lackey as well as Tanya Huff, Mickey Zucker Reichert, and Fiona Patton.
For the most part I enjoyed all the stories and they added to the stories of Valdemar, however their were two that I absolutely loved and one that I could have done without.
"Defending the Heart" by Kate Paulk and "Matters of the Heart" by Sarah A. Hoyt are the two that I found myself really enjoying. They are back-to-back stories that tell the tale of a young hobgoblin boy named Ree and Jem the young man he saved and has his heart. For those of you not familiar with the books hobgoblins are humans or animals that got caught in change circles during the mage storms (another long explanation that I will put off for now). Ree was one of those unfortunate souls and now has physical characteristics of both a cat and a rat. He escaped with his mind intact but since most hobgoblins are killed on sight, he hinds and starts to lose his humanity. He saves Jem's life and they escape together into the countryside where they come to a isolated farm ran by a lonely old man. The rest of both stories tells how through kindness and love they find a home and a family. It is a wonderful story that should give everyone who is a little bit different that their is a place for them.
"Interview With a Companion" by Ben Ohlander is one of those stories that takes something familiar and puts it into a setting that is so different from what you are used to. Sometimes it works, other times it fails, this is one of those times when I was disappointed. The premise is that a Companion is here in the United States and giving an interview to a reporter who normally does stories on horse racing. It played with the mythology of Valdemar too much for me to enjoy. It was well written and quite funny, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. Luckily it's the last story so if anyone else wants to read this book they won't have to skip a story in the middle.
If you are familiar with these books I highly recommend this book as a wonderful addition to the Kingdom of Valdemar. Heck, even if you aren't familiar with the lay of the land, you should still read it and get a nice taste for what you've been missing.