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Mercedes Lackey

Mercedes Lackey(1950- )
Mercedes Lackey has been a prolific writer since 1987 when she published her first Valdemar novel. She has authored and co-authored many fantasy series, anthologies, and short stories (some related to role-playing games). She has a degree in biology from Purdue University. Like many writers she has worked at a variety of jobs, including short stints as a waitress, security guard and artist’s model. She lives outside Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband and collaborator, artist Larry Dixon, their several birds and two dogs. Learn more at Mercedes Lackey’s website.

Arrows of the Queen: Engaging heroine in an interesting world

Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey

Talia is not like normal 13-year-old girls. She likes to read adventure stories and she fantasizes about being a Herald for the queen of Valdemar. She does not want to get married to one of the dreary men in her patriarchal village. So, when a Companion — one of the blue-eyed white horses who belongs to a Herald — shows up without a rider, Talia is happy to help him find his way home and stunned to learn that she’s been chosen to be trained as a Herald at the academy.

Published in 1987, Arrows of the Queen is Mercedes Lackey’s first novel and the first in her popular Valdemar series. This is a coming-of-age tale in which a naïve and wide-eyed youngster who has endured a repressive upbringing is suddenly freed and enrolled in a special school, where she makes friends and enemies and dis... Read More

Arrow’s Flight: Talia goes on circuit

Arrow’s Flight by Mercedes Lackey

Arrow's Flight is the second book in Mercedes Lackey’s VALDEMAR series. It was originally published in 1987 and has just now been produced in audio format by Tantor Audio. In the first VALDEMAR book, Arrows of the Queen, we met Talia, a young girl being raised in a repressive society who was chosen by a telepathic blue-eyed white horse to be one of the Kingdom's Heralds. She was whisked off to the academy where she began learning the skills needed to protect the kingdom. In her special role as Queens Own, Talia (despite her youth, lack of education, and inexperience in the world) gave the queen advice and help that saved the kingdom.

In Read More

Arrow’s Fall: The end of Talia’s story

Arrow’s Fall by Mercedes Lackey

Arrow’s Fall (1988) is the third and final novel in the first trilogy of Mercedes Lackey’s VALDEMAR saga (THE HERALDS OF VALDEMAR). This trilogy features Talia, a girl who lived in a close-knit conservative rural area who was unexpectedly chosen as the Queen’s Own Herald. In Arrows of the Queen and Arrow’s Flight we watched Talia come to the heralds’ collegium, learn to be a herald, and go out on her first circuit of the kingdom. She has grown and matured in many ways since the beginning of her adventure.

Now, in Arrow’s Fall Read More

Exile’s Honor: One of the best VALDEMAR novels

Exile’s Honor by Mercedes Lackey

Alberich had been an honorable, loyal, and effective officer in Karse’s army for many years until the day the Karsite sunpriests discovered that part of his success was due to the flashes of foresight he sometimes gets. When they attempted to burn him alive as a witch, Alberich was saved by a white horse that turned out to be one of the blue-eyed mind-speaking Companions of Valdemar, an enemy of Karse. Now Alberich is in Valdemar being trained as a Herald and, since he’s such a good fighter, he’s being groomed to be the Heralds’ next weapons master.

Alberich has a lot of adjusting to do because everything about Valdemar is different from Karse. It’s more comfortable, more tolerant, the government works better, and there is far more freedom and justice, even for Alberich, an immigrant who doesn’t speak the language well.

As Alberich continues to ... Read More

Exile’s Valor: Important events occur, but there’s a lot of down-time

Exile’s Valor by Mercedes Lackey

Exile’s Valor (2003) is the sequel to Exile’s Honor (which is the best VALDEMAR novel I’ve read so far). Both of these books are prequels to Mercedes Lackey’s first VALDEMAR trilogy (HERALDS OF VALDEMAR). You should read Exile’s Honor before starting Exile’s Valor but you don’t need to read any other VALDEMAR novels in order to understand and appreciate Exile’s Valor.

Alberich, formerly an enemy of Valdemar, is now the weapons master of its heralds and is a chief advisor and bodyguard to queen Selenay. He a... Read More

Take a Thief: The backstory of a popular VALDEMAR character

Take a Thief by Mercedes Lackey

One of Mercedes Lackey’s most popular characters is Herald Skif, the young former thief who we met in the first two VALDEMAR trilogies (HERALDS OF VALDEMAR and MAGE WINDS). In Take a Thief (2001), a stand-alone prequel novel, Lackey gives us his backstory.

It starts as so many of her stories do. Skif is a young orphaned boy who is basically a slave to his cruel uncle. The uncle owns a dirty and dilapidated tavern where, for a penny, miserly clientele can purchase the cheapest (and vilest) ale and stew in the city. Skif has lots of chores there but he tries to be out from under his uncle’s eye whenever he can. Most mornings he attends classes to learn reading and math, and he spends his afternoons stealing food from rich people’... Read More

Winds of Fate: Fairly average epic high fantasy

Winds of Fate by Mercedes Lackey

Winds of Fate (1991) is the first book in Mercedes Lackey’s MAGE WINDS trilogy which is, in terms of internal chronology, an early trilogy in her VALDEMAR series. The VALDEMAR universe currently contains dozens of novels and short stories. So far I have read only six of them, but I own several more which I’m planning to review for our readers here at FanLit.

The VALDEMAR books are best suited for readers who enjoy classic high fantasy. They’re filled with mages, orphans, princesses, magic swords, animal familiars, and flashy magic spells. In my middle-age, and with decades of fantasy reading behind me, I’m a little tired of these elements, so please keep that in mind when reading my reviews. It’s pretty hard for stories li... Read More

Winds of Change: Boring middle book

Winds of Change by Mercedes Lackey

Winds of Change (1992) is the middle novel in Mercedes Lackey’s MAGE WINDS trilogy, which is part of her larger VALDEMAR saga. I wasn’t impressed with the first book, Winds of Fate, which was a standard high fantasy novel that didn’t stand out in any way. I decided to read book two anyway because I already owned it at Audible and I wanted to review it for FanLit.

In this sequel, Elspeth and Skif are living with the Tayledras clan. The novel starts with quite a bit of recap of previous events and then the preparation for a ceremony in which Elspeth and Skif will be welcomed as clan members. All of this takes about two hours in the 19.5-hour long audi... Read More

Winds of Fury: Better than previous book, but that’s not saying much

Winds of Fury by Mercedes Lackey

I read Winds of Fury (1993) because I owned it at Audible and had already reviewed the previous books in this MAGE WINDS trilogy (Winds of Fate and Winds of Change). I haven’t been enthusiastic about the story or the characters thus far, so if you have enjoyed them, you should ignore this review because it won’t be helpful. If you haven’t read those books yet and are trying to decide whether to read them, perhaps my review will be helpful.

When we left our heroes in Winds of Change, they had been trained up in their magical abilities and, at the very end of the book, fought the evil wizard Mornelithe Falconsbane. But, inst... Read More

Storm Warning: New characters bring some life to this story

Storm Warning by Mercedes Lackey

Storm Warning is the first book in Mercedes Lackey’s MAGE STORMS trilogy which is part of the VALDEMAR saga. MAGE STORMS can be read without reading other VALDEMAR novels but, because it features many characters from other trilogies, it would be best to read it directly after reading the MAGE WINDS trilogy (Winds of Fate, Winds of Change, Winds of Fury).

I was not a fan of MAGE WINDS. I didn’t care for the characters or... Read More

Storm Rising: Enemies become allies

Storm Rising by Mercedes Lackey

Storm Rising is the middle book in Mercedes Lackey’s MAGE STORMS trilogy which is part of the VALDEMAR saga. You’ll want to read the first book, Storm Warning, first. (There will be spoilers for that book in this review.) You don’t have to read any of the previous VALDEMAR books, but it would be helpful to read the MAGE WINDS trilogy, even though it’s (in my opinion) an inferior story.

The mage storms continue to increase across the land, wreaking havoc and endangering the entire world. Not only are there numerous natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes, but there are mutated animals preying on h... Read More

Storm Breaking: A satisfactory ending

Storm Breaking by Mercedes Lackey

The final book in Mercedes Lackey’s MAGE STORMS trilogy is Storm Breaking, which should be read after Storm Warning and Storm Rising. (Expect mild spoilers for those books in this review.)

In the previous books, we met some new characters, former enemies of Valdemar, who have now become allies and are working with our Valdemaran friends to stop the mage storms that threaten to destroy their entire world. At the end of both Storm Warning and Storm Rising, they had managed to temporarily delay the destruction, but now they know t... Read More

Owlflight: Heroic fantasy for less-experienced fantasy readers

Owlflight by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon

Owlflight (1997) is the first book in DARIAN’S TALE, one of the many trilogies/series that make up Mercedes Lackey’s VALDEMAR saga. Though DARIAN’S TALE was first published twenty years ago, according to the series’ internal chronologically it takes place late in the overall story. I had only read four of the VALDEMAR books before picking up Owlflight. I read it because Tantor Audio has just released it in audio format and will release its sequels, Owlsight and Owlknight, in the coming months. I’m hoping this means that the other trilogies in the series that haven’t been published in audio format will be soon.

Dar... Read More

Owlsight: Adds a new protagonist to Darian’s story

Owlsight by Mercedes Lackey

Owlsight (1998) is the second novel in Mercedes Lackey’s DARIAN’S TALE, a trilogy set within her VALDEMAR universe. DARIAN’S TALE is a fine place for newcomers to begin reading the VALDEMAR books, but you should start with the first book about Darian, Owlflight. If you do start with DARIAN’S TALE instead of the first VALDEMAR book, Arrows of the Queen, there are a few passing references to people, places, and events from previous books that you won’t understand, but I don’t think it will affect your enjoym... Read More

Owlknight: A satisfactory ending to Darian’s Tale

Owlknight by Mercedes Lackey

Owlknight (1999) is the final story in Mercedes Lackey’s DARIAN’S TALE. This trilogy is part of her huge VALDEMAR series, but it can stand alone just fine. However, don’t start here. The first book is Owlflight and the second is Owlsight. Expect a few spoilers for those books in this review.

As Owlknight begins, a couple of years after the events of the previous novel, all is going well for Darian and Keisha. Thanks to their actions, their people have befriended the barbarians who appeared to be a threat in the last book. Now a multi-cultural socie... Read More

Magic’s Pawn: Fluffy epic fantasy with a twist

Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey

Vanyel Ashkevron is miserable at home. His father, one of the lords of Valdemar, wants him to be a warrior like the other boys in the family, but Vanyel, who’s more interested in clothes and music, wants to be a bard. After getting beat up by the armsmaster, Vanyel is sent to be fostered by his Aunt Savil who trains Valdemar’s Herald-Mages. At first he is terrified, but soon he realizes that he is finally free to discover the truths about himself. He experiences love and tragedy and, in the end, he’s a completely different person.

Magic’s Pawn is the first book in Mercedes Lackey’s THE LAST HERALD MAGE trilogy which is part of her larger VALDEMAR saga. They’ve finally been produced in audio format by Brilliance Audio. Actor Gregory Nassif St. John, who is a relatively new audiobook narrator, does a great job with the narration. As far as I can tell, this is his first fi... Read More

Magic’s Promise: A little less angsty than previous novel

Magic’s Promise by Mercedes Lackey

Magic’s Promise is the second book in Mercedes Lackey’s THE LAST HERALD MAGE trilogy. This review is likely to spoil some of the first book’s plot, so be warned.

It’s been several years since the horrid events that took place at the end of the Magic’s Pawn. Vanyel is now the most powerful Herald-Mage on the planet and he’s been traveling all around the realm helping to fight a war with one of Valdemar’s neighbors. He’s exhausted and his body is scarred, but his reputation shines and everyone admires him. He’s been given the nicknames Demonsbane and Shadowstalker. But while Vanyel may be famous, he’s actually more alone than ever.

For a much-needed rest, Vanyel goes home to his parents. I’m not sure why he thinks this will be restful since his father despises him because of his sexual orientation and his mother is constantly parading yo... Read More

Magic’s Price: Bittersweet finale

Magic’s Price by Mercedes Lackey

In Magic’s Price, the third book in Mercedes Lackey’s THE LAST HERALD MAGE trilogy, we discover how this trilogy got its name. It’s been nine years since the previous story ended and the Herald-Mages are being knocked off one by one. Valdemar is in great danger. Vanyel is “the last Herald-Mage” and there’s a target on his back. If he dies, how will Valdemar survive a magical attack by enemies? Can Vanyel and Yfandes, his Companion horse, find and stop Master Dark, the evil magician, before Valdemar is doomed?

Obviously there is much at stake for Vanyel and his beloved country in Magic’s Price. Vanyel is the most powerful person in the realm and at first he doesn’t even know who his enemy is. All he knows is that he and the people close to him are targets, so Vanyel moves his family to court in Haven where, he hopes, he can keep them safe.

In H... Read More

The Oathbound: Features a female sword-and-sorcery duo

The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey

The Oathbound (1987) is the first book in Mercedes Lackey’s VOWS AND HONOR series, a trilogy in her larger VALDEMAR saga. You don’t need to be familiar with VALDEMAR before picking up The Oathbound.

The story focuses on two heroines who suffered traumatic events, re-made themselves, and are on separate quests for revenge. Tarma is a clanswoman from a nomadic tribe that got wiped out by raiders. She became an elite warrior and has sworn to avenge her people. Kethry fled an abusive marriage, went to magic school, and became an extremely powerful sorceress. She has a sword named Need (those familiar with other VALDEMAR novels may recognize it) that compels its master to go to the aid of op... Read More

Oathbreakers: Better than the first book

Oathbreakers by Mercedes Lackey

Oathbreakers (1989), the second book in Mercedes Lackey’s VOWS AND HONOR series, is much better than the first book, The Oathbound. You probably don’t need to read The Oathbound first, unless you want the backstories on the main characters.

Tarma and Kethry are a female sword-and-sorcery duo. Tarma, a swordsmaster, is the last remaining member of her clan after they were obliterated by raiders. Kethry became a powerful sorceress after escaping an abusive arranged marriage. The women have become sworn sisters and they plan to revive Tarma’s clan after starting a sword-and-sorcery school. For now, they are working as mercenaries, trying to ... Read More

Oathblood: Stories about Tarma and Kethry

Oathblood by Mercedes Lackey

Fans of Tarma and Kethry shouldn’t hesitate to pick up Oathblood (1998), a short story collection featuring all of Mercedes Lackey’s tales about the female sword and sorcery duo. A couple of these stories appeared in The Oathbound and Oathbreakers, the other two books in Lackey’s VOWS AND HONORS series (part of the larger VALDEMAR saga), but most did not (though published elsewhere previously).

In these stories we witness the event that set Tarma on her quest for revenge (and, wouldn’t you know, it involves a gang rape, a common feature in Lackey’s stor... Read More

By the Sword: A stand-alone story about Kerowyn

By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey

In publication order, By the Sword (1991) is the ninth novel in Mercedes Lackey’s VALDEMAR saga, but if you haven’t read any VALDEMAR novels before, don’t let that stop you. By the Sword can stand alone and it’s a fine place to enter Lackey’s universe. There are several beloved VALDEMAR characters in the novel, but it doesn’t matter if you meet them now or later. In general, the VALDEMAR saga is divided into several different trilogies and a few stand-alones and anthologies. You should read the three books of each trilogy in order but you don’t necessarily have to read the trilogies in any sort of order. (I hope that made sense.)

By the Sword is about Kerowyn, the granddaughter of the sorceress Kethry who we met in the VOWS AND HONOR Read More

The Black Gryphon: Begins a VALDEMAR prequel trilogy

The Black Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon

There are dozens of novels and stories set in Mercedes Lackey’s VALDEMAR universe. Most of these are arranged into trilogies that can be read by themselves without familiarity of the other VALDEMAR trilogies, though there are some overlapping characters and a shared history. The MAGE WARS trilogy (The Black Gryphon, The White Gryphon, and The Silver Gryphon), though published later in the series, takes place before Valdemar and its Heralds and Companions even existed, making it a prequel trilogy.

In The Black Gryphon (1994) we meet a large and powerful Gryphon named Skandranon (Skan for short) who was created by a good mage named Ur... Read More

The White Gryphon: Skandranon and Amberdrake become detectives

The White Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon

The White Gryphon (1995) is the second book in Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon’s MAGE WARS trilogy, a prequel trilogy in Lackey’s VALDEMAR universe. You’ll probably want to read The Black Gryphon before starting this book (and this review will contain some spoilers for it), but you don’t need to read any other VALDEMAR novels.

In The Black Gryphon we met the gryphon Skandranon and his friend, the healer/therapist Amberdrake. They were trying to help the good mage Urtho win a war against the evil mage Maar. At the end, both mages died, there was a huge blast of magic, and Skan barely escaped through an energy gate. When he did, his black feathers had ... Read More

The Silver Gryphon: A second-generation survival story

The Silver Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon

The third and final book in Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon’s MAGE WARS trilogy is The Silver Gryphon (1996). Like its predecessor, The White Gryphon, it jumps ahead about ten years. By this time, our heroes Skandranon and Amberdrake have teenage children who are preparing to receive the torch from the previous generation.

Skan’s son Tadrith and Drake’s daughter Silverblade feel daunted by their illustrious fathers’ reputations and are hoping they will eventually measure up. Their fathers, however, are typically nervous parents who not only lack confidence in their childrens’ leadership abilities, but are also just plain scared of their kids getting hurt.

Tadrith and Silverblade belong to th... Read More

Foundation: Lackey has written this book better

Foundation by Mercedes Lackey

Mercedes Lackey has written this book before. And she’s written it better before. Foundation follows the story of Mags, a plucky orphan who is rescued from an abusive situation as a slave in a mine by a Companion and brought to Haven to become a Herald. Substitute Talia for Mags, and Holder for mine, and you have just summed up Lackey’s first book, Arrows of the Queen. The problem is that Foundation isn’t nearly as good.

Foundation is the start of a new trilogy set in Valdemar, Lackey’s favorite story world. The characters are retreads of old familiar faces, and the pacing is erratic. Lackey is obviously writing a trilogy, because the story just stops abruptly with little resolution. I have no problem with books being designed as trilogies with an overarching metanarrative, ... Read More

Intrigues: Dear Mercedes Lackey,

Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey

Dear Mercedes Lackey,

I’m writing to you as a lifelong fan. Your Valdemar books are what started me reading fantasy. Some twenty-plus years later, By The Sword is still one of my favorite comfort reads. I considered naming a daughter Talia. So please don’t think I’m just a hater when I say: please stop writing Valdemar books.

Valdemar used to be a place of excitement. Everything was new. Heralds were wonderful. Companions were amazing. Every new book was an adventure. Now, some thirty-odd books into the series, you have run out of interesting stories to tell in this setting, and have started recycling your old stories by changing the names. Now, I’m sure you could make the argument that setting these stories in different time ... Read More

Changes: Giving up on Valdemar

Changes by Mercedes Lackey

And it is on this day, the 23rd of April, in the year two thousand and twelve, that I, Ruth Arnell, having been ushered into the world of fantasy readerdom by Arrows of the Queen, have given up on Valdemar.

Mercedes Lackey was my gateway to fantasy as a teenage girl. Valdemar was fascinating to me, but after 30some-odd books set in the world, the magic has faded, especially in the volumes written with her husband Larry Dixon.

This is the third book in the COLLEGIUM CHRONICLES series, and I have chronicled my problems with the previous two books in the series, Foundation and Intrigues. Those problems are magnified in this volume. More kirball for no apparent reason. The same fights with the same characters. Dialect so strong that it made my head hurt to wade through it. L... Read More

Changing the World: All new tales of Valdemar

Changing the World: All new tales of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey

In Changing the World: All new tales of Valdemar, Mercedes Lackey edits a collection of short stories from several different authors. They’re all set in her famous Valdemar, and many center on a theme: What happens when being Chosen causes more problems than it solves? I enjoyed this approach to the classic being Chosen trope in which being Chosen is the end of all your troubles.

Lackey starts off the collection with “The One Left Behind” about a young woman who is dealing with the emotional fallout of being left — her father abandoned her as a child because he was Chosen, and her boyfriend leaves after he is Chosen. Other stories focus on people who have wonderfully happy lives and resent the intrusion of a magical white horse who is just mucking things up, or examine what happens when being Chosen means being forced to overcome per... Read More

Tempest: All-New Tales of Valdemar: Too many fragmentary tales

Tempest: All-New Tales of Valdemar edited by Mercedes Lackey

Tempest (2016) is the most recent in a lengthy series of light fantasy anthologies set in and around Mercedes Lackey’s well-known Valdemar, is a land where people called Heralds are “Chosen” (read: magically bonded for life) with telepathic white horse-like creatures known as Companions. Once bonded, the pair joins others in traveling and policing their kingdom against wrongdoing, threats and evils of all kinds. While I’m a relative newcomer to the world of Valdemar, I’ve read several other works by Lackey and was impressed by a couple of her short stories of the Companions. Brilliant and heroic telepathic horses! What’s not to like? And many of these stories feature non-Herald humans from all walks of life, as well as gryphons, kryees (huge, intelligent wolves), and firecats (think large, magical, sentient Siamese cats): a promising variety.
... Read More

Burning Water: Urban fantasy by Mercedes Lackey

Burning Water by Mercedes Lackey

Mercedes Lackey is best known for her VALDEMAR series, a multi-volume epic fantasy that is beloved by many fantasy readers. Some of Lackey’s legions of fans may not know that she also published an urban fantasy trilogy back in the late 80s and early 90s. It stars Diana Tregarde, a romance writer and practicing witch who solves magical murders and helps protect the world from evil supernatural beings. She is a Guardian.

In the first DIANA TREGARDE novel, Burning Water (1989), we meet Diana after her friend Mark Valdez, a police detective, asks for her help with a case. It involves the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, a photographer for a travel magazine, a fashion designer, four be... Read More

Children of the Night: Not rewarding enough

Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey

Children of the Night (1990) is the second novel in Mercedes Lackey’s DIANA TREGARDE trilogy, following Burning Water. Each of the novels can stand alone, so you don’t need to read Burning Water first. In fact, it could be argued that this one is a better starting place because it’s set earlier in Diana’s life and we learn more about her in this novel. I should mention that though this series is a trilogy, there are also several short stories about Diana that can be found in magazines or collections.

Diana Tregarde reluctantly writes insipid romance novels (but not enough to make a living at it) and, since she's a witch and a Guardia... Read More

Jinx High: Like a cheesy horror movie

Jinx High by Mercedes Lackey

Jinx High (1991) is the third novel in Mercedes Lackey’s DIANA TREGARDE trilogy, following Burning Water and Children of the Night. This series stars Diana Tregarde, a romance novelist and witch who protects humans from supernatural harm. The novels and short stories in this series can be read in any order.

In Burning Water we watched Diana catch a serial killer inspired by an ancient Aztec god and in Children of the Night she confronted vampires that were sucking the life out of people in her city.

Now, in Read More

Elvenbane: Norton vs. Lackey, Round 1

Elvenbane by Andre Norton & Mercedes Lackey

In the world of Elvenbane, elves have subjugated humanity because… well, they’re elves, frankly: magical and long-lived and perfectly capable of taking what they want. Apparently having served as the unselfish goodie-goodies one too many times, elves have instead been refreshingly cast as the fantasy version of the Roman Empire in this text, conquering and enslaving other races out of a sense of entitlement and a desire to expand their power. Humans are used for menial labor and sexual gratification, but any human/elf hybrid must by law be killed, as apparently these half-breeds can become very magically powerful and might do something crazy like pitying the wrong bough of the family tree. With a set-up like this, it’s really no surprise that our heroine is just such a hybrid, born of a pregnant human concubine fleeing into the desert. The young girl, called Shana, i... Read More

The Fire Rose: A Beauty and the Beast retelling

The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey

Mercedes Lackey’s ELEMENTAL MASTERS is a series of ten (so far) novels that take place on an alternate Earth where some people are born with the ability to learn to control fire, water, air, or earth. Each book is also a fairytale retelling, though you may not notice that if you’re not looking for it in the story.

The first ELEMENTAL MASTERS novel, The Fire Rose, is based on “Beauty and the Beast” and is set in 1905-1906 San Francisco. Years before, Jason, a Firemaster (the “beast” of the story), was experimenting with a dangerous magic spell. He managed to curse himself and has been living as a man-wolf ever since (this is obvious from the book’s horrid cover, so I’m not spoiling anything here). He has been searching for a way to reverse the spell, but his beastly shape makes it difficult to search his grimoires for information. (The book cover shows him with hands,... Read More

The Serpent’s Shadow: A Snow White and the Seven Dwarves retelling

The Serpent’s Shadow by Mercedes Lackey

The Serpent’s Shadow is the second of Mercedes Lackey’s ELEMENTAL MASTERS novels. These are stand-alone fairytale retellings and this particular one is based on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.” The story takes place in London in 1909 and it’s so different from that familiar tale, though, that you may not have recognized its influence if I hadn’t told you, even though the classic elements are here (seven companions, an apple, a magic mirror, poison that puts the heroine to sleep, a kiss).

Like the first ELEMENTAL MASTERS book, The Fire Rose, The Serpent’s Shadow features a strong and likable heroine. Maya is doctor who’s half English and half Indian. Her parents were recently murdered under suspicious circumstances and she has moved to London to get away from whoever may be threatening her family. She must find a way to practice... Read More

The Gates of Sleep: Lush and engaging, but it loses steam

The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey 

The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey, part of her ELEMENTAL MASTERS series, is a fun, harmless read based loosely on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale.

Growing up, I had always been drawn to Mercedes Lackey books, mostly because of the lush cover art, usually drawn by Jody Lee. But then, unfailingly, I’d read the blurb and decide not to read it; they usually sounded too involved, too conspicuously “high fantasy,” or otherwise cheesy and formulaic. (I love high fantasy, but I must have been a hipster when I was a kid because I couldn’t stand it if the book seemed like it was trying too hard.)

So I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging I found this book. Lee’s artwork is the perfect companion to Lackey’s prose, which is rich and descriptive. The world she creates for Read More

Phoenix and Ashes: A Cinderella story about PTSD

Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey

Each of Mercedes Lackey’s ELEMENTAL MASTERS novels is a stand-alone fairytale retelling. Some of the novels have overlapping characters, but you can read these books in any order. The fourth book, Phoenix and Ashes, is a mostly pleasant Cinderella story set in England during The Great War. Maya, the Indian doctor from The Serpent’s Shadow, is a minor character. I listened to Michelle Ford narrate the audio version of Phoenix and Ashes (Audible Studios). She is perfect for this tale.

Unlike some of the other ELEMENTAL MASTERS stories, Phoenix and Ashes stays pretty close to the source material; you can tell this is a Cinderella story. Eleanor Robinson’s father is killed during WW1 and Eleanor is left living in the house she grew up in with her socially-c... Read More

The Wizard of London: Strangely jumbled

The Wizard of London by Mercedes Lackey

The Wizard of London is the fifth of Mercedes Lackey’s stand-alone novels in her ELEMENTAL MASTERS series of fairytale retellings. It’s so loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” that you probably won’t even notice the few similarities. There’s an ice queen, but the theme of The Wizard of London (if there is one, which I doubt), has nothing to do with the theme of “The Snow Queen.”

The story starts when a little girl named Sarah arrives from Africa (where her parents are missionaries) at a London boarding school that is known to educate and train the children of Elemental mages. There she finds an ethically and religiously diverse cast of excellent teachers and attendants. She also befriends a young street urchin named Nan whose mother is a neglectful drug addict. Together Sarah and Nan... Read More

Reserved for the Cat: A Puss in Boots story

Reserved for the Cat by Mercedes Lackey

Reserved for the Cat is the sixth stand-alone novel in Mercedes Lackey’s ELEMENTAL MASTERS series of fairytale retellings. As the title might suggest, Reserved for the Cat is a “Puss in Boots” story and it’s actually recognizable as such (unlike some of Lackey’s other retellings that go too far afield from their sources).

Ninette, our heroine, is an orphaned ballet dancer who has lots of talent but is fired from her gig with a famous Parisian ballet company after inadvertently evoking the jealousy of the company’s reigning diva. Unable to get more work in Paris, she is about to prostitute herself when a talking cat appears and promises to make her a superstar. The cat leads her to a seaside town in England where she impersonates a famous Russian dancer and joins a local troupe of entertainers. Things go well unt... Read More

Unnatural Issue: Great premise executed poorly

Unnatural Issue by Mercedes Lackey

All of Mercedes Lackey’s ELEMENTAL MASTERS novels are stand-alone retellings of fairy tales from around the world. Unnatural Issue (2011) is Lackey’s adaption of Charles Perrault’s “Donkeyskin,” a more obscure French tale from 1695 about a king who wanted to marry his daughter. In Lackey’s version, this king is an Earth Mage named Richard Whitestone, a country squire who was devastated by his beautiful wife’s death 20 years ago. When his daughter Suzanne, who he’s never met, grows up to look just like his wife, Whitestone notices her and decides to use necromantic arts to have his wife’s spirit displace his daughter’s in Susanne’s body. Fortunately, Suzanne has some powers of her own because she’s been trained as an Earth Mage by Robin Goodfellow. When she figures out that... Read More

Home from the Sea: Lackey finally gets it right

Home from the Sea by Mercedes Lackey

Home from the Sea by Mercedes Lackey was a pretty enjoyable, fluffy fantasy romance. Set in coastal Wales, it combines the story of Tam Lin with selkie myths. Mari Prothero is a young woman who lives with her father, Daffyd, an unusually lucky fisherman. On her sixteenth birthday, Mari learns, to her great dismay, that she has been promised as a bride to one of the Selch, the seal-skinned people of the sea. This bargain has been in place for generations of the Prothero family; they inject their healthy human blood into the waning Selch stock, and in return, the Selch reward them with prosperity and safety at sea.

Mari doesn’t take this news lying down. She has been able to see magical creatures since her birth, and they have recently warned her that she is special and that she has the... Read More

Steadfast: More like Stead-slow

Steadfast by Mercedes Lackey

Steadfast by Mercedes Lackey is another fairy-tale retelling from her ELEMENTAL MASTERS series. It recasts Hans Christian Andersen’s story of the Steadfast Tin Soldier.

Katie Langford is a circus acrobat on the run. She flees to Brighton and ends up as a dancer and magician’s assistant for a small theatre. Lionel Hawkins, the magician she works for, is an elemental magician; he and his good friend Jack, the one-legged doorman of the theater, soon see that Katie also has undiscovered magical abilities. They train her in these abilities while trying to help her escape the Big Bad that is coming for her —her angry, abusive husband, Dick, who happens to be the circus strongman.

I listened to Steadfast read by Carmela Corbett, and I liked this novel okay at the beginning. The set-up was fun; it was really interesting t... Read More

Blood Red: Cool premise, but disappointingly simple

Blood Red by Mercedes Lackey

Each book in Mercedes Lackey’s ELEMENTAL MASTERS series is a stand-alone re-told fairy tale set in a world where some humans are elemental masters — magicians who have control over an elemental power. Some of the stories are more closely tied to the original fairy tale than others. For some, the source material is almost unrecognizable.

Blood Red, the tenth ELEMENTAL MASTERS novel, starts out sounding exactly like Red Riding Hood — there’s an Austrian girl (Rosamund) wearing a red cape who’s bringing a basket of food to an old lady that she thinks of as her grandmother. When she arrives, a werewolf, who has already ingested Granny, is waiting for her. This tragic event is foundational for Rosamund’s development. Next time we see her, she’s... Read More

From a High Tower: Rapunzel as Annie Oakley

From a High Tower by Mercedes Lackey

The most recent addition to Mercedes Lackey’s ELEMENTAL MASTERS series of stand-alone retold fairy tales is a version of Rapunzel set in the Black Forest of Germany. Giselle (Rapunzel) is the natural daughter of a poor man who made a desperate deal that required him to give Giselle to a witch when she was born. The witch was an Earth Master who raises Giselle (who turns out to be an Air Master) as her own daughter. One day, when Giselle is locked in her tower bedroom while her mother is out of town, she lets a handsome man climb up her fast-growing golden hair. This turns out badly.

At this point the story loses its Rapunzelness as Giselle becomes a sharpshooter and decides to join Captain Cody’s traveling Wild West Show as an Annie Oakley type character. Since the show is touring Central Europe, Rosamund (the Red Riding Hood monster hunter from Read More

Firebird: 90 pages in and it’s still starting

Firebird by Mercedes Lackey

Since Firebird is one of Mercedes Lackey’s somewhat older works, I thought I’d enjoy it. It certainly sounded promising.

And indeed, Firebird starts off with a lot of potential. Though the main character, Ilya, is yet another underappreciated, super-clever youth whose family is mean to him, etc. etc., he’s a bit of a, well, womanizer. He likes him some womenfolk, and it’s kind of charming in a rather “That’s not very like Mercedes Lackey” kind of way. I liked Ilya, and the book, with its charming premise, starts out well.

But… by page 90-something, it still hadn’t stopped starting. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for the book to get on with it. By the time I put the book down, Ilya still had not been “cast out” as the blurb promises. In fact, he’s still ba... Read More

Joust: Quite entertaining despite the problems

Joust by Mercedes Lackey

Vetch’s family used to own land in Alta, but when they were invaded and occupied by Tia, Vetch’s father was killed and the rest of his family became serfs. Vetch, who was taken away from his mother and sisters, is now the servant of a horrible fat and lazy man who’s pretty much the worst master you can imagine. (All of Mercedes Lackey’s bad guys are really really bad!)

When a Tian dragon jouster named Ari notices Vetch’s plight, he rescues him and takes him as his own servant. Now Vetch is a dragon boy, feeding and cleaning up after his new master’s dragon. In the process, he learns everything there is to know about caring for dragons and his new circumstances are comfortable and far superior to his previous enslavement. However, Vetch is treated like a serf by the other dragon boys and, worse, he feels ... Read More

Alta: Multiple plot problems, but I want to know what happens next

Alta by Mercedes Lackey

Alta (2004), the second book in Mercedes Lackey’s DRAGON JOUSTERS quartet, starts where Joust left off. Vetch, formerly a slave and more recently a “dragon boy” in the land of his enemies, has escaped with the dragon he raised from an egg. They are now in Alta, the land of his birth, which has been occupied by Tia, the land he just escaped from.

Vetch (now called by his real name, Kiron) arrives with much knowledge about how Tians train their jousters, and about how to best raise and train dragons. He hopes to meet the right people and convince them to try his training methods so that, in the future, Alta will be better prepared to win their country back. He worries a bit that someday ... Read More

Sanctuary: A rather dull installment

Sanctuary by Mercedes Lackey

Sanctuary (2005) is the third book in Mercedes Lackey’s DRAGON JOUSTERS quartet. You need to read Joust and Alta first. There will be spoilers for those first two books in this review of the third.

Vetch has come a long way. When we first met him in Joust, he was the servant of a cruel master in his home country of Alta. One day he was picked up by a Tian Dragon Jouster named Ari and set to work as a dragon boy for his country’s enemy. Eventually he escaped with the dragon he secretly raised from an egg, flew back to his home country of Alta and, with the skills he learned f... Read More

Aerie: An unnecessary and disappointing sequel

Aerie by Mercedes Lackey

Aerie is the fourth and final book in Mercedes Lackey’s DRAGON JOUSTERS series. This review will spoil some of the plot for the previous three books, Joust, Alta, and Sanctuary, so it’d be best to not read further in this review if you haven’t read those books yet.

I’m convinced that Aerie exists only because Lackey left a thread dangling in the third book, Sanctuary. After the bad guys were defeated and Alta and Tia were at peace, we kind of expected tha... Read More

The Phoenix Unchained: Standard, but entertaining, “lite” epic fantasy

The Phoenix Unchained by Mercedes Lackey

I picked up The Phoenix Unchained, the first novel in The Enduring Flame trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory because I haven't read Lackey before (and I wanted to) and this book was available for download in audio format (and I needed something for my commute). The Phoenix Unchained is a sequel to The Obsidian Trilogy which, unfortunately, is not available (yet) on audio, and which I haven't read. However, I had heard that this new trilogy can stand alone, so I decided to give it a try.

The Phoenix Unchained begins as best friends Tiercel and Harrier are attending their city's celebrations of legendary events that happened in Read More

The Phoenix Endangered: Silly and boring

The Phoenix Endangered by Mercedes Lackey

I got through about three quarters of The Phoenix Endangered on audio. This was a sluggish and clunky second installment in The Enduring Flame trilogy. The writing was dull and not much happened to advance the plot. By the time a battle finally started, I couldn't muster up enough interest to participate.

Even more than the last book, this one was full of two teenage boys brooding, bickering, whining, and being noble. Half of what they say is said "sulkily," "rudely," "darkly," or "huffily." I got tired of hearing how they didn't want to be heroes and didn't want to kill anybody (even when a huge evil army which had destroyed a few cities and killed thousands of people had them under siege).

And the plot (what little there was) was just plain silly. For example, it is considered extrem... Read More

Gwenhywfar: Didn’t meet expectations

Gwenhywfar: The White Spirit by Mercedes Lackey

I normally wait a day or two after reading a book to write the review. This gives me time to let the book settle, and for my opinions to solidify. I finished Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit by Mercedes Lackey over a week ago, and am still struggling with this review…

Gwenhwyfar is a retelling of the Arthurian legend, based on an ancient Welsh myth that says that Arthur actually had three separate wives named Gwenhwyfar. Mercedes Lackey decided to use this as a springboard to tell the story of the Gwenhwyfars, focusing on the third wife. The other two wives are bit parts, with the first one never actually appearing on stage, as it were.

This is a novel concept, and I was looking forward to a retelling of the Arthurian legend. I love authors who can take a familiar tale and make it their... Read More

Trio of Sorcery: Lackey back at the top of her game

Trio of Sorcery by Mercedes Lackey

[Ruth and her sister Sarah (one of our regular guest reviewers) both read Trio of Sorcery and finished within nine minutes of each other. This review consists of their email conversation about Trio of Sorcery. We edited it for clarity and removed their sisterly in-jokes.]

RUTH: I have to admit that when I got this ARC in the mail and turned it over to read the back cover, I squealed like a fan girl when I saw that there was a new Diana Tregarde story (the first in almost 20 years), a new Jennifer Talldeer story (the first in almost 15 years), and then there was a third story starring a new character, a techno-shaman named Ellen McBridge. Jennifer Talldeer was one of my favorite characters ever written by Mercedes Lackey, and I had always been sad that she had never gone back to that world. The Read More

Crown of Vengeance: Enjoyable high fantasy

Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

I finished listening to the audio version of Crown of Vengeance, the first in Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory’s DRAGON PROPHECY series. It tells the story of Vielissar Farcarinon, an Elvish mage who discovers when she is twelve that her parents were killed and her ancestral house destroyed by the people who fostered her, House Caerthalion. She nurses her rage and quest for vengeance as she learns to channel the Light. However, she soon finds out that she is the Child of the Prophecy, a foretold hero who will both save the world from the demonic Endarkened and shake Elvish culture and tradition to its very foundation.

So, basically, it’s your typical high fantasy. And I am pleased to say that I enjoyed every moment of this book.

Lackey and ... Read More

The House of the Four Winds: Shoddy plot and no romance

The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory

Do you ever read a book and wonder how it got published? Or read an established author and think, "Don’t they understand basic storytelling?"

The House of the Four Winds, by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, starts innocently enough. Princess Clarice of the Duchy of Swansgaarde must go out and seek her fortune because she has eleven sisters and a brother, and the Duchy cannot support twelve royal dowries. Clarice is a master sword fighter and intends to make her living as an instructor. First, however, she seeks adventure on a merchant ship, disguised as a man named Clarence. The ship is captained by an evil lout, Captain Sprunt, but Clarice/Clarence falls in love with one of the ship's officers, Dominick. After the crew mutinies against the wicked Sprunt, they set sail for an unknown destination whose coordinates are provided by a magi... Read More

Hunter: Magical monster-hunting

Hunter by Mercedes Lackey

In Mercedes Lackey’s new young adult novel Hunter, post-apocalyptic science fiction mixes with magical fantasy to produce an adventure in the tradition of The Hunger Games and Divergent. A series of catastrophes called the “Diseray” — a corruption of Dies Irae — has hit our world: a nuclear bomb (blamed on Christians) was set off in the near east, the North and South Poles switched, plagues killed countless people, and storms have permanently grounded most aircraft. These disasters culminated in the Breakthrough, a permanent rift in reality that allows deadly magical creatures to invade our world from the Otherside. Luckily, along with all of the hostile magical monsters have come some friendly ones, called Hounds by humans, even thou... Read More

The Hills Have Spies: A good introduction to Lackey’s VALDEMAR universe

The Hills Have Spies by Mercedes Lackey

If, like I was, you’re utterly unfamiliar with Mercedes Lackey’s hugely popular and wide-ranging VALDEMAR series and the various interconnected novels set within that kingdom, The Hills Have Spies (2018) is a good entry point. The narrative flow is familiar in a retro, 1980s kind of way, evoking the fantasy genre I immersed myself in during my adolescence, with an appealing and likeable main character, various clever animal companions, a dastardly villain who spends most of the novel off-page, and just enough tension to keep me turning the pages to the comfortable, heartwarming conclusion.

Peregrine is the oldest of three children born to Mags (Herald Spy of Valdemar) and Amily (the King’s Own Herald), and Perry and his siblings have spent their childho... Read More

Why You Should Read… Mercedes Lackey

Our contributor this week is one Mieneke, a newer but very welcome presence in the blogosphere. Her blog is A Fantastical Librarian, and she posts on Twitter as @Pallekenl. She has chosen to talk about Mercedes Lackey.

Choosing Mercedes Lackey as the subject for this feature wasn’t difficult. No other author takes up as much shelf space in my bookcases as she does. Her books are my comfort reads; when I feel down, when I just want to read something I know I’ll enjoy, her stories always are exactly what the doctor prescribed. Consequently I’ve read most of her books several times.

Lackey is a prolific writer, who writes across many s... Read More

Other books by Mercedes Lackey

Bardic Voices — (1992-1997) Author’s description: A voice, an icy, whispering voice, came out of the darkness from all around her; from everywhere, yet nowhere. It could have been born of her imagination, yet Rune knew the voice was the Ghost’s, and that to run was to die. Instantly, but in terror that would make dying seem to last an eternity. “Why have you come here, stupid child?” it murmured, as fear urged her to run away. “Why were you waiting here? For me? Foolish child, do you not know what I am? What I could do to you?” Rune had to swallow twice before she could speak, and even then her voice cracked and squeaked with fear. “I’ve come to fiddle for you-sir?” she said, gasping for breath between each word, trying to keep her teeth from chattering. The Ghost laughed, a sound with no humor in it, the kind of laugh that called up empty wastelands and icy peaks. “Well, then, girl. Fiddle, then. And pray to that Sacrificed God of yours that you fiddle well, very well. If you please me, if you continue to entertain me until dawn, I shall let you live, a favor I have never granted any other. But I warn you — the moment my attention lags, little girl — you’ll die like all the others and you will join all the others in my own private little Hell.”

Mercedes Lackey Bardic Voices The Lark and the WrenThe Robin and the KestrelThe Eagle and the NightingaleFour and Twenty Blackbirds Mercedes LackeyA Cast of Corbies

The Doubled Edge — (2004-2008) Historical fantasy with Roberta Gellis. Publisher: The FarSeers among the Sidhe of Elfhame Avalon have seen two visions of the future. In one, an evil queen will take the throne and welcome the Inquisition in, debauching the nation and threatening even the elf strongholds throughout the land. In another, a red-haired child will grow up to take the throne and usher in a golden age of literature, music, and art. The evil Unseleighe Sidhe, who draw power from pain and misery, welcome the coming of a ruler of humans who will increase their strength, and are determined to prevent the red-haired child from coming to the throne. Unless the good Sidhe can find the child and protect her from the evils and dangers of both the human and elven worlds, she will never grow up to become Elizabeth, Queen of England in the Sixteenth Century.

Mercedes Lackey Roberta Gellis The Doubled Edge 1. This Scepter'd Isle 2. Ill Met by Moonlight 3. By Slanderous Tongues 4. And Less Than KindMercedes Lackey Roberta Gellis The Doubled Edge 1. This Scepter'd Isle 2. Ill Met by Moonlight 3. By Slanderous Tongues 4. And Less Than KindMercedes Lackey Roberta Gellis The Doubled Edge 1. This Scepter'd Isle 2. Ill Met by Moonlight 3. By Slanderous Tongues 4. And Less Than KindMercedes Lackey Roberta Gellis The Doubled Edge 1. This Scepter'd Isle 2. Ill Met by Moonlight 3. By Slanderous Tongues 4. And Less Than Kind

Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms — (2004-2011) Publisher: In the land of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, if you can’t carry out your legendary role, life is no fairy tale… Elena Klovis was supposedto be her kingdom’s Cinderella — until fate left her with a completely inappropriate prince! So she set out to make a new life for herself. But breaking with “The Tradition” was no easy matter — until she got a little help from her own fairy godmother. Who promptly offered Elena a most unexpected job… Now, instead of sleeping in the chimney. She has to deal with arrogant, stuffed-shirt princes who keep trying to rise above their place in the tale. And there’s one in particular who needs to be dealt with… Sometimes a fairy godmother’s work is never done…

Mercedes Lackey: The Fairy Godmother, One Good Knight, Fortune's Fool, The Snow QueenMercedes Lackey: The Fairy Godmother, One Good Knight, Fortune's Fool, The Snow QueenMercedes Lackey: The Fairy Godmother, One Good Knight, Fortune's Fool, The Snow QueenMercedes Lackey: The Fairy Godmother, One Good Knight, Fortune's Fool, The Snow QueenMercedes Lackey The Sleeping BeautyMercedes Lackey The Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Werewolffantasy and science fiction book reviews

Secret World Chronicles — (2011) With Dennis Lee, Steve Libbey, Cody Martin, Veronica Giguere. Publisher: It’s good to be meta-human, a superhuman hero in a world of normals. Use your superpowers, fight crime, stave off the occasional rogue mutant — then get some rest and have a nice day. But when swastika-laden robotic warriors from an alternate and incredibly advanced Third Reich discover a way to breach the barrier between worlds, the metas face an opponent that will push them to the edge of extinction. And if they can survive the transdimensional menace, the titanic effort will finally push the metas onward to find their true place in society and force them to forge a new, heroic destiny for their kind! From New York Times best-seller and science fiction and fantasy mistress of adventure Mercedes Lackey together with a team of topnotch collaborators, the start of a new saga of superpowers — and the very human men and women who must learn to wield them without losing themselves in the process!

Mercedes Lackey Secret World ChroniclesMercedes Lackey Secret World Chroniclesfantasy and science fiction book reviews


Mercedes Lackey If I Pay Thee Not In Gold, Sacred Ground, FirebirdSacred Ground — (1994) Publisher: Native American myth and magic blend with fantasy novel by the author of Winds of Change. Private investigator Jennifer Talldeer, grandaughter of a powerful Medicine Man — and a shaman-in-training herself — finds she is in deep trouble when a routine insurance investigation turns into much more.

Mercedes Lackey The Black SwanThe Black Swan — (1999) Publisher: This fantasy is based on “Swan Lake”, a monumental tale of loyalty and betrayal, of magic used for good and evil, of love both carnal and pure, and of the incredible duality of human nature as Prince Siegfried, a selfish hedonist and womaniser, is taught a lesson by the woman he has wronged.

Mercedes Lackey book review Tiger Burning Bright, The River's Gift, The OtherworldThe River’s Gift — (1999) Publisher: A new novel from Mercedes Lackey is always a special event. Now, for the first time, this fantasy legend has contributed a brand-new novella for Roc’s fantasy hardcover line — a deluxe showcase for major talents such as Anne McCaffrey and Marion Zimmer Bradley. In The River’s Gift, a young woman uses her healing gifts to help a magical horse-like creature — and receives, in return, the greatest gift of all…Mercedes Lackey book review Tiger Burning Bright, The River's Gift, The Otherworld

The Otherworld — (2000) With Holly Lisle and Mark Shepherd. Publisher: In this rollicking action comedy, a group of good elves with a passion for racing hot rods sets out to rescue Jamie’s father from a fanatical cult that is in contact with a supernatural and evil entity.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsShipscat Collection — (2012) Publisher: This is a collection of the four “Shipscat” stories: SKitty; A Tail of Two SKittys; SCat; and A Better Mousetrap. These stories tell the adventures of Dick White, cat handler for the space ship Brightwing, and the cats he is supposed to be handling. Of course, given that he’s working with cats, there is frequently the question of who is “handling” whom.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsDragon’s Teeth — (2013) Publisher: A massive collection of wonderous science fiction and fantasy stories from New York Times best-selling Mercedes Lackey. Includes Fiddler Fair and Werehunter for the first time in one volume. A massive collection of wonderous science fiction and fantasy stories from New York Times best selling Mercedes Lackey. Fiddler Fair Running the gamut from her beloved Bardic fantasies to urban fantasy set in the modern world, from science fiction adventure to chilling horror, this is Mercedes Lackey at her best. Animal rights fanatics try to “liberate” genetically reconstructed dinosaurs. Lawrence of Arabia meets a power beyond human comprehension, and King Arthur is reborn into the present day when he again gains possession of the enchanted sword Excalibur. Werehunter A young woman who has been given the power to transform herself into a leopard, but she now finds herself pursued by a hunter who is more than human. Skitty, ship’s cat extraordinaire, and telepathic problem-solver, saves the day on a spaceship. Return to the world of the Heralds of Valdemar series, and much more. Plus, Merecedes Lackey’s celebrated occult detective Diana Tregarde, attends a gathering of romance writers and encounters a visitor whose passionate desire is for fresh, warm blood. ”


More books by Mercedes Lackey & Rosemary Edghill

Bedlam’s Bard — (2000-2005) Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill. Publisher: After the events chronicled in Bedlam’s Bard, world-saving bard and magician Eric hopes to settle down to the quiet life. No such luck: his apartment building is a safe-house for a group of occult Guardians protecting New York from supernatural evil. And there’s a new evil for them to guard against… Unethical researchers are planning to raise a psychotropic drug-enslaved army of mercenaries. But this gets the attention of Aerune mac Audelaine, lord of the dark Unseleighe Sidhe, who hopes to use the drugs to break through to the human world. Both plans will bring terror to the world — and both are threatened by the very existence of Eric Banyon. With his possibly loyal companions — a beautiful elven half-breed and a gargoyle — Eric heads for a three-way battle of wizardry that will determine Gotham’s fate-and his own.

Mercedes Lackey Ellen Guon Rosemary Edghill Belam's Bard review Knight of Ghosts and Shadows, Summoned to Tourney, Bedlam BoysMercedes Lackey Ellen Guon Rosemary Edghill Belam's Bard review Knight of Ghosts and Shadows, Summoned to Tourney, Bedlam BoysMercedes Lackey Ellen Guon Rosemary Edghill Belam's Bard review Knight of Ghosts and Shadows, Summoned to Tourney, Bedlam BoysRosemary Edghill Mercedes Lackey Ellen Guon Bedlam's Bard review 4. Beyond World's End 5. Spirits White as Lightning 6. Mad Maudlin 7. Music to My Sorrow Rosemary Edghill Mercedes Lackey Ellen Guon Bedlam's Bard review 4. Beyond World's End 5. Spirits White as Lightning 6. Mad Maudlin 7. Music to My Sorrow Rosemary Edghill Mercedes Lackey Ellen Guon Bedlam's Bard review 4. Beyond World's End 5. Spirits White as Lightning 6. Mad Maudlin 7. Music to My Sorrow Rosemary Edghill Mercedes Lackey Ellen Guon Bedlam's Bard review 4. Beyond World's End 5. Spirits White as Lightning 6. Mad Maudlin 7. Music to My Sorrow

Shadow Grail — (2010-2014) Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill. Young adult. Publisher: Spirit White wasn’t exactly a normal teenager; but when a freak accident left her the only survivor in her family, she found herself the legal ward of a strange boarding school and orphanage in the middle of Montana — the Oakhurst Academy — and its even stranger headmaster, Doctor Ambrosius.

Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill Shadow Grail 1. Legacies 2. ConspiraciesMercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill Shadow Grail 1. Legacies 2. ConspiraciesMercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill Shadow Grail 1. Legacies 2. Conspiracies 3. Sacrificesfantasy and science fiction book reviews

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsArcanum 101: Welcome New Students — (2012) Publisher: Fifteen-year-old Tomas Torres, the son of an immigrant family who are just barely making it, gets picked up by the police for doing some work for the local padrone (collector). For this work, Tomas has made $1000 a week, a lot of money by anyone’s count. But what is the work? What is Tomas arrested for? Arson, but arson that cannot be explained. Tomas has a most unusual gift: he is a fire-starter — he can start fires with sheer force of will that flame from the tips of his fingers. More, he can will fireballs to hurl at his enemies or opponents, and he can incinerate any evidence. But the courts decide they have enough to convict young Tomas and send him off to a school (which Tomas believes to be a kind of jail): St. Rhiannon’s School for the Gifted and Exceptional Student. At St. Rhiannon’s, Tomas soon finds that he is not alone. St. Rhia’s, as they call it, is a school for students of all ages with “gifts” like Tomas’s: students who are pre-cogs, storm-callers, witches, healers, wizards, techno-shamans, psionics, firestarters, teleporters, psychics, sensitives and much, much more. Things he could never have imagined happen at St. Rhia’s, and in time Tomas comes to feel less alone. He begins to believe in what he actually sees (astral warriors, for example) and all that he is taught by his attractive young mentor, VeeVee. All students at St. Rhia’s are attempting to learn to control their gifts. Tomas, too, must learn about the ethics and the laws of magic (of which he knows nothing) and more, how to control the strength and force of his fire. Join Tomas and his friends as they journey through St. Rhia’s and beyond, both through the outside world and through magical Gates to the magical worlds of Chaos and other kingdoms where their gifts will be tested. If they succeed, their powers will take on new relevance and meaning.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsDead Reckoning — (2012) Publisher: Jett is a girl disguised as a boy, living as a gambler in the old West as she searches for her long-lost brother. Honoria Gibbons is a smart, self-sufficient young woman who also happens to be a fabulous inventor. Both young women travel the prairie alone — until they are brought together by a zombie invasion! As Jett and Honoria investigate, they soon learn that these zombies aren’t rising from the dead of their own accord … but who would want an undead army? And why? This gunslinging, hair-raising, zombie western mashup is perfect for fans of Cowboys vs. Aliens and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.


By Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, Dave Freer

Heirs of Alexandria — (2002-2013) Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, Dave Freer. Publisher: it is the year 1537. The great winged Lion stares over a Venice where magic thrives. The rich Venetian Republic is a bastion of independence and tolerance. Perhaps for that reason, it is also corrupt, and rotten with intrigue. But for the young brothers Marco and Benito Valdosta, vagabond and thief, Venice is simply-home. They have no idea that they stand at the center of the city’s coming struggle for its very life. They know nothing of the powerful forces moving in the background. They have barely heard of Chernobog, demonlord of the North, who is shifting his pawns to attack Venice in order to cut into the underbelly of the Holy Roman Empire. All Marco and Benito know is that they’re hungry and in dangerous company: Katerina the smuggler, Caesare the sell-sword, Montagnard assassins, church inquisitors, militant Knights of the Holy Trinity, Dottore Marina the Strega mage… and Maria. Maria might be an honest canaler, but she had the hottest temper a boy could find. Yet among the dark waters of the canals lurk far worse dangers than a hot-tempered girl. Chernobog has set a monster loose to wreak havoc on the city. Magic, murder and evil are all at work to pull Venice down. Fanatical monks seek to root out true witchcraft with fire and sword. Steel-clad Teutonic knights, wealth traders, church dignitaries and great Princes fight and plot for control of the jewel of the Mediterranean. And somehow all of these, from thieves to mages to princes, must gather around Marco and his brother Benito, under the shadow of the great winged lion of Venice.

Mercedes Lackey Eric Flint Dave Freer Heirs of Alexandria 1. The Shadow of the Lion 2. This Rough MagicMercedes Lackey Eric Flint Dave Freer Heirs of Alexandria 1. The Shadow of the Lion 2. This Rough Magic 3. A Mankind WitchMercedes Lackey Eric Flint Dave Freer Heirs of Alexandria 1. The Shadow of the Lion 2. This Rough Magic 3. A Mankind Witch 4. Much Fall of Blood 5. Great Doom's ShadowMercedes Lackey Eric Flint Dave Freer Heirs of Alexandria 1. The Shadow of the Lion 2. This Rough Magic 3. A Mankind Witch 4. Much Fall of Blood 5. Great Doom's Shadowfantasy and science fiction book reviews

The Witches of Karres — (2004-2010) These are sequels to James H. Schmitz’s The Witches of Karres written by Mercedes LackeyDave Freer and Eric Flint. Publisher: It just wasn’t fair! Captain Pausert had foiled the deadliest of space pirates and eliminated the threat of the Worm World, yet his troubles kept piling up. Sent on a secret mission to stop the nanite plague, a self-aware disease that could devastate whole worlds, he quickly found that someone had convinced the Imperial Fleet that he was actually a wanted criminal, which led to a battle leaving his ship in urgent need of repairs. And while Goth and the Leewit, two of the notorious witches of Karres, could do amazing things, ship repair was not in their line. So he stopped at the next planet for repairs, but found that somehow his bank account had been cut off, and the authorities were looking for someone matching his description. There was only one thing to do-join the circus! An interstellar traveling circus, that is. All the galaxy loves a clown — as long as Pausert, Goth and the Leewit can keep their disguises from slipping. The show must go on — or the galaxy is doomed!

1. The Wizard of Karres 2. The Sorceress of Karres 1. The Wizard of Karres 2. The Sorceress of Karres