Thursday, December 11, 2008

Moving Targets - Mercedes Lackey

Moving Targets
Edited by Mercedes Lackey
DAW Books
Copyright: 2008
9780756405281

This is the fourth anthology of stories set in Valdemar, the book came out at the beginning of this month. There are fourteen tales by different authors making up the book. The other three anthologies are in order: Sword of Ice, Sun in Glory and Crossroads.

I must admit that I found this anthology slightly disappointing, mostly as there are few stories that jumped out at me as outstanding. Generally I find the best stories are the ones that Mercedes Lackey herself adds to the volume. In Sun In Glory, it was the tale of how Talia became a Sun-Priest which was alluded to in the Mage Storms books. In Crossroads it was a take of Tarma and Kethry. Sword of Ice has no Mercedes Lackey story, but she helped co-write two, one of which was about Selenay. Also, unlike the other three volumes (and also unlike all the other multi-author anthologies such as Sword And Sorceress or the Friends of Darkover books like The Other Side Of The Mirror) there was no introduction by the editor.

The Mercedes Lackey/Larry Dixon story at the beginning of Moving Targets was a bit of a disappointment to me. From the beginning of the Valdemar books she's written kyree as mindspeakers. Here she's written a kyree in which you have to make out the words around spoken growls. With no explanation of why, especially given the kyree in Magic's Price, the Vows and Honor series and even Riss from the Mage Winds books, it just didn't seem to fit. The kyree in this story made me think of Scooby Doo instead.

What I really missed in this anthology was stories about characters I already knew, even with them as simple peripheral characters. Most of the stories had no recognizable time in which to place them.

I did like the story Passage At Arms by Rosemary Edghill. It seems like something most Herald Trainees would go through as they started out. We see hints of similar problems through the series: Vostel and Christa for example.

Another favorite from the anthology was A Dream Deferred by Kristin M. Schwengel. This one did the Kyree as Mercedes Lackey has portrayed them throughout the Valdemar books.

The story set after the Mage Storms in the Empire, Heart, Home and Hearth, by Sarah Hoyt and Kate Paulk, was another nice one. Given what Storm Breaking had laid out for the 'hobgoblins' this story has a very nice twist or two.

Judith Tarr's story Widdershins was another good one, and unique. I liked the use of advanced Dressage as the plot mover, although I'm not sure how well it works within established Valdemar. I've certainly liked some of Judith Tarr's other books like A Pride of Kings.

Overall, I'd have to say I probably built up my anticipation too far while waiting for the anthology to be released. I like it, but not as much as I'd hoped to.
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