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Beyond av Mercedes Lackey
MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
574368,768 (4)9
Författare:Mercedes Lackey
Info:New York, NY : DAW Books, Inc., 2021.
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek


Beyond : The Founding of Valdemar Book One av Mercedes Lackey (Author)


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{Fourth of 38 (currently; after Mage Wars trilogy) in Valdemar: chronological order; Valdemar, fantasy, magic, origin story} (2021)

This (about a thousand years after the Mage Wars series with the gryphons) goes back to just after the Change Wars when magic became unreliable and the Dukes of Valdemar - a small and unimportant (by design) duchy of the Empire - have been plotting for generations to escape the corrupt war machine that the Empire has become. Kordas, the current Duke, has secretly collected mages who don't want their power sucked away by the Empire who have been working on a way to open a portal, or Gate, far away from the borders of the Empire where it won't be detected by the Emperor's pet mages. Shortly after the beginning of the story they have a breakthrough and so The Plan is put into motion.

But then Kordas, delivering his annual tribute of the horses that the duchy is famous for, is asked to stay on at the capital. Should The Plan go on without him and, if so, will he be left behind? Once The Plan is in motion it evolves beyond its original concepts, as plans tend to do. We are also introduced to the vrondi whom, I vaguely recall, have a part to play further on in the chronology.

As someone else noted, the writing in this novel swings back towards the standards of the original Heralds series (but, for me, nothing can ever capture that magic of those very first books and the introduction to a new world) though Lackey still tends to show and then tell as well and still tends to sprinkle italics around randomly to some extent. It has, for me, a different feel to other Valdemar books I've read partly because it's quite bucolic and partly because everyone is trying to live under the radar of the Empire and circumvent the magical scans that that the Emperor's mages constantly carry out so they can avoid the Emperor's random cruelty.

I liked, however, the literary nods (I assume) - to P.G. Wodehouse's Blanding Castle, with the Empress, and to Tolkien's Shire, where the Brandywine flows. And I liked the details about the horses that are a significant part of Kordas's life. I don't fully understand the difference between mage powers and Gifts; Delia (Kordas's sister-in-law) has a Fetching Gift but absolutely no mage power, for example (and both of these attributes are taken advantage of, to help The Plan). Maybe this will become the difference between Heralds and Mages?

I did wonder how - since it involved, at the minimum, fifteen thousand people - they managed to keep the migration a secret for so long; why there was such a rush to go, especially if things weren't ready; and why weren't things ready if it had been planned for years? Once Kordas got to the capital and spent time there, he started to want to save everybody and that seemed to happen to the author as well (commendable but complicating). By the end if it The Plan had changed so much that I wondered why they didn't abandon the original concept too.

There are a few plot holes (and a few gaps in the narrative - I don't remember Kordas actually being told to stay on in the capital, for instance) but if you don't think about them too hard, it's fun. It comes to a natural end (ie. no cliff-hangers) but it is billed as the first in a new sub-series - so let's see where it goes next!

3-3.5 stars
October 2021 ( )
  humouress | Oct 12, 2021 |
Cute story. Valdemar is...well, he's an idiot, but it's because he's so good-hearted. And I think the business at the end was retconning a confusion in earlier books over his rank. Neat story, nice explication of the beginnings of the Valdemar we know - and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Jul 16, 2021 |
An absolutely thrilling start to the long awaited series introducing the beginning of the beloved country of Valdemar. I couldn't put it down and I cannot wait for the next one. ( )
  JessBass87 | Jul 4, 2021 |
I have been reading the Valdemar books for years and years. So I was excited to find that Mercedes Lackey has chosen to write the story of how Valdemar came to be.

Duke Kordas Valdemar rules a small, rural duchy famous for breeding horses and making and selling rafts. He is proud of his reputation as a country bumpkin who lives in an uninteresting place. Staying out of the Emperor's mind is his goal.

Kordas was taken hostage for five years as a teen and lived in the Emperor's palace. He had a chance to see the way the empire worked and the way people were shaped to fit into it. He decided not to be brainwashed.

He is also keeping a major secret: his family has been planning a way to flee the empire with their people and goods for a couple of generations. They were waiting for mages who live secretly in Valdemar to find a way to gate them to a place far outside the Empire. Now that discovery has been made and it is time to put the plans into motion.

But, just as plans are getting underway, Kordas is called to the capitol to present his annual tribute of horses to the Emperor. He finds that things are not only worse than they were when he was a hostage but getting worse each day. He also finds new allies and the need for a bigger rescue than he could have imagined.

I enjoyed the world building in this story. I also enjoyed getting to know Kordas, his wife Isla, and his young sister-in-law Delia. There were many other characters who were well-developed and interesting people. The story was filled with action, adventure, and lots of moral dilemmas.

I can't wait to see where this series goes next. ( )
  kmartin802 | Jun 19, 2021 |
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