Top critical review
A Fun Return to Valdemar
Reviewed in the United States on November 24, 2020
Passages is a collection of short stories by different authors set in Mercedes Lackey's beloved world of Valdemar. The collection is a mixed bag of characters and settings. As a reader might expect, most are set within the borders of Valdemar itself, and most focus on Heralds and Companions - but not all of them. The quality of the collection is also mixed, with the best of the stories focusing on characters who break the usual Herald/Companion coming-of-age story mold.
"Expected Consequences" (Elizabeth Vaughan), which focuses on the widow of one of the Rethwellan traitors in Selenay's Court;
"Flying the Nest" (Michele Lang), which acknowledges the sacrifices of the "normal people" who enable the Heralds to perform their great acts of heroism;
"The Border Within" (Brenda Cooper), which gives us a glimpse of those rare Heralds who survive to old age;
"Temper" (Mercedes Lackey), which revisits fan-favorite Kerowyn on her first days with the Skybolts.
If you are a fan of Lackey's Valdemar, you'll especially enjoy the callbacks to minor characters who suffer the consequences of the actions you've read about in canon books. All in all the collection is pretty enjoyable, with enough new and interesting to offset some of the predictability of the other stories.
This objective review is based on a complimentary advanced reader copy provided by NetGalley and DAW.