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This blog was started as a place to post book reviews. The books reviewed here will be mixed. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, General Fiction, NonFiction and more. Both positve and negative reviews will be posted, as well as reviews for books written for all ages and all reading levels.

Many of the books reviewed here are ones that I have purchased for my own reading pleasure. Some, I receive free in exchange for reviews. Beginning in December, 2009 you will know which are the free ones if you read the final paragraph of my reviews.

Also of note: I choose what I will read, attempting to avoid the books on which I would end up writing a negative review... but I have been known to make mistakes. Thus you see some one and two star reviews here. Since I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, I only write them if the review was promised, or if the book was so exceedingly bad, I just had to say so. Regardless of the percentage of positive to negative reviews on this blog, I give my honest opinion each and every time, and have never received financial compensation for posting my reviews.

Note that, except for fair use portions quoted from some of the books reviewed, all copyright in the content of the reviews belongs to Lady Dragoness.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Retreat into Fantasy

Valdemar universe: The Mage Wars Trilogy
By Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon
Series Rating: 4 stars of 5 possible

Book 1: The Black Gryphon
Paperback: 464 pages
DAW (January 1, 1995)
Rated: 5 stars of 5 possible

Book 2: The White Gryphon
Paperback: 400 pages
DAW (March 1, 1996)
Rated: 4 stars of 5 possible

Book 3: The Silver Gryphon
Paperback: 400 pages
DAW (March 1, 1997)
Rated: 3 stars of 5 possible

Roughly 20 years ago, Mercedes Lackey imagined a universe which she called Valdemar, and began writing tales of that universe. Fast-forward about 10 years from the beginning publication of the Valdemar universe tales to the Mage Wars series. These three tales of Valdemar are most definitely not the first and might not even be the best; however, I did find them well worth reading.

The Black Gryphon, Skandranon, awed and amazed me both with his irreverent views of his situation and his irascible temper. Skan's sarcasm was both appropriate to the situation and also funny. At the same time, his brash and over-confident manner leads Skan both into and out of trouble. I found Skan's friend, Amberdrake intriguing... an enigma to most, since he reveals as little of himself as possible.

The White Gryphon takes up the story of Skandranon, Amberdrake and their people ten years after the cataclysm which destroyed the stronghold of the world's most powerful Mage, killing Urtho, creator of the gryphons, and sending his forces into exile. Having built a secure stronghold, the people of White Gryphon soon discover that they've erected their city on land claimed by the Black Kings, who suddenly appear in the harbor aboard a fleet of ships ready for battle. Travel to the homeland of the Black Kings and negotiations for a peaceful alliance account for most of the content of this book, which could have been better thought through... although a who-done-it mystery is included once the people of White Gryphon reach the court of the Black Kings.

The Silver Gryphon begins a dozen years after peace between the people of White Gryphon and the Black Kings has been negotiated. Amberdrake and Skandranon have settled into comfortable lives, but things are not so tranquil for their children. At first, I was disappointed that this third volume deals with the adventures of the next generation rather than directly with Amberdrake and Skandranon... until I realized that intervals between the events depicted in these novels would mean that the heroes of the first and second novels have aged quite a bit; time for someone else to take center stage. This novel does not seem to be as well thought out as the first two, yet it is worth reading.

I can recommend these to fantasy readers of all ages from 13 and up.

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