Back of the book: The heroes of Valdemar are the Heralds, an ancient order trained to be emissaries, spies, judges, diplomats, scouts, councelors, 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 withablities beyond those of normal men and women. These are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and other 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 Hralds of Valdemar ride patrol throughout the kingdom, protecting the peace and, when necessary, defending their land and monarch.
Now, sixteen authors join Mercedes Lackey, adding their own adventurous touch to the heroes of this well-loved fantasy realm.
Thoughts: Another collection of short stories relating to Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series, which I adore. I do read the anthologies, obviously, but normally I find them less engaging than actual full-out books from the series. I know why this is. The writing styles change so frequently than it can be a bit jarring for me to pass from one story to the next. I have to put down everything I just got used to in order to start something new.
Still, I wasn't disappointed by this book. Most of the stories were thouroughly enjoyable, and the ones that weren't quite so appealing were so for personal reasons, not because they were badly written.
The one major exception to the above paragraph, though, is the short story written by Fiona Patton. There wasn't anything wrong with her story, really. But I didn't like it, nor did I like a similar one in the previous anthology, that took place around the same characters. My biggest problem with it is that it was too generic. Take out two of three sentences making specific references of Valdemar, and this story could be transplanted into any random fantasy world.
And really, two of three specific sentences was all the story held to tell a reader that it even took place in Valdemar.
Still, with very few exceptions, this was an enjoyable book to read. By buying a copy, you're even supporting somebody right here on Dreamwidth, since Denise McCune co-authored the second short story! (And congratulations to her, too!)
I recommend this book for the die-hard Valdemar fan, much like myself. Don't buy this as a way of getting into the Valdemar series, though. The stories may be short and fun, but to let this be your introduction would be a mistake, and would likely leave you feeling more confused than intruiged.
But if you're like me and need a copy of everything Lackey-related, go out and grab a copy from your local bookstore (or use the Amazon link above). You won't be disappointed.