Beyond: Founding of Valdemar Series, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Within the Eastern Empire, Duke Kordas Valdemar rules a tiny, bucolic Duchy that focuses mostly on horse breeding. Anticipating the day when the Empire's exploitative and militant leaders would not be content to leave them alone, Korda's father set out to gather magicians in the hopes of one day finding a way to escape and protect the people of the Duchy from tyranny.
The signs in the Empire are increasingly dire. Under the direction of the Emperor, mages have begun to harness the power of dark magics, including blood magic, the powers of the Abyssal Planes, and the binding and "milking" of Elemental creatures.
But then one of the Duchy's mages has a breakthrough. There is a way to place a Gate at a distance so far from the Empire that it is unlikely the Emperor can find or follow them as they evacuate everyone that is willing to leave.
But time is running out, and Kordas has been summoned to the Emperor's Court.
Can his reputation as a country bumpkin and his acting skills buy him and his people the time they need to flee? Or will the Emperor lose patience, invade to strip Valdemar of everything of worth, and send its conscripted people into the front lines of the Imperial wars?
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 13 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||September 14, 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #13,468 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#499 in Action & Adventure Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
#553 in Horror Fiction
#789 in Dark Fantasy
Reviewed in the United States on October 19, 2021
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Top reviews from the United States
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Lackey has a formula: Complex but nearly pure-hearted protagonists who are thoughtful and pragmatic, mustache-twirling antagonists who get off on pain and power, at least one awesome gay person, supernatural helpers, some tree-huggin', some cool animals, and a healthy dose of magic. It's a good formula. It works. We're finally back on formula.
"Beyond" makes the Empire interesting, unlike whatever Lackey was trying to do in the subplots in Storm Warning/Rising/Breaking. Valdemar is cut from the same cloth as Tremane, so if you liked that Duke, you'll like this one. There are a few actual shocks and reveals I didn't expect. The mechanisms of the good guys escaping are clever and have just enough tension. I'm thoroughly looking forward to the next two books in the series.
In the Elemental Masters series, Lackey's writing was starting to falter — her characters were getting stale and she was repeating phrases verbatim in the narration. Maybe it was sloppy editing? This book feels tighter and cleaner. So glad to get the old Misty back.
A lot of the story is from Delia's eyes, sister-in-law to Duke Valdemar. Despite being sheltered, she grows and matures. Of course she has the fetching gift. Kordas, the Duke of Valdemar, is the main focus. He juggles fulfilling his commitment to his father, to his people, with decades of planning, putting lives at risk -- His thoughts, heart, and soul are on the line. This Plan is everything and it must succeed!
'Beyond' has decades of books, a life's work behind it. Yes, the founder was a robber baron. Magic circles are still active. There's the magic of Valdemar's borders where 'eyes' follow and I wonder if the Vrondi are involved. The enormity of 15,000+ of the Duke's people that came to this new land and their numbers 'only' encompass a small part of the Empire. Barely above notice! The scale of people, possessions, animals, and way of life. . . But nothing said about religion. Interesting. There's the Dukes horses, so important to him and to his people. All this background to prepare for the companions to come. I'm curious to see where they landed, exactly where the villages of Oakton and Brandywine are located as well as Crescent Lake. IE: Yes, I did check the maps.
As this is a series, it'll be interesting to see how Kordas decides on the territory, how he's chosen as ruler, and by the way, just where did that wolf crown go? There's background on the Empire, a King that controls his people in every way, a totalitarian regime. It's easy to see the comparisons to today. Recommended for those that love fantasy and this world of Mercedes Lackey. - Dan's Wife
Thank you Mercedes for the ending, I was really shocked at the twists & turns, exactly like real life.
Top reviews from other countries
Although I have been aware of the Valdemar books for many years, this was actually my first reading of one. Perhaps fitting that this is about Valdemar’s founding.
Some details about the plot: Duke Kordas Valdemar is the ruler of a small Duchy that is mainly focused on horse breeding. He is aware that at some point the Emperor will turn his predatory gaze towards Valdemar. Over the years Kordas’s father had quietly gathered magicians and tasked them with finding a way to free the people of the Duchy from this tyranny.
One of the Duchy’s mages finally has had a breakthrough and uncovers a way to put the Duchy, and its people, beyond the Emperor’s reach forever.
Yet before any plan can be put into action Kordas is summoned to the Emperor’s Court. Playing on his reputation as a country bumpkin he seeks to buy himself and his people the time they need to implement this plan.
This certainly proved to be a solidly plotted high fantasy with memorable characters and superb world-building. I felt that Mercedes Lackey’s style of storytelling was quite traditional without the cynicism or postmodern aspects found in some modern fantasy.
I enjoyed ‘Beyond’ very much and look forward to Book 2 in the trilogy due to be published in 2022. Also, after such a positive experience and this introduction, I plan to read more of her Valdemar novels in the very near future.
In addition, full marks to the design team at Titan Books for such a beautiful cover.
It felt like a story written in a hurry, there wasn't any depth to it, nothing to keep me turning the pages (kindle pages). The precis as written on Amazon offered great promise which didn't come to fruition in the book itself.
There was also the issue of punctuation which made it very hard to read, I like having a space after a comma and not the next word jammed up next to it - ie word, word and not word,word
Perhaps the next book in the series will be written in the way her other books about Valdemar have been, but this one doesn't work for me, not as a stand alone nor as the prequel to the original series.
This one however feels like an "I promised another book" rather than actually being a fully immersive story which she's often written before.
There were glimpses of potential character development, but the fact that 24 hours after finishing the book, I can't remember any character names really says everything.
It's very definitely a prequel, but whether it would encourage anyone coming on the author for the first time I sadly doubt
It's Lackey doing what she does best, building interesting yet flawed characters and putting them up against near possible odds with only their wits, and some magic of course, to save them. Valdemar, to my mind, has always been her strongest cannon and this is a really strong contribution to it. If you're a fan of the Arrows, Winds or Mags stories then do yourself a favour and grab a copy already. It's right up there with the Valdemar greats, and I am really looking forward to seeing how this develops.
Only problem now is waiting for the next volume.