Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The Mage Storms Omnibus by Mercedes Lackey (Fantasy, 10E/10E)

 4th September 2015, Titan Books, 800 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Content: magic, warfare, awesomeness, humour, tissue needed 

Summary from Titan Books
Karse and Valdemar have long been enemy kingdoms- their peoples filled with mutal prejudice and mistrust. Only the vile deeds perpetrated on both kingdoms by Ancar of Hardorn, and the subsequent emergence of the armies of Eastern Empire in the wake of his defeat, have forced these two so-different lands into an uneasy alliance.

For the Eastern Empire, which has long been isolated and shrouded in mystery, is ruled by a monarch whose magical tactics may be beyond any sorcery known to the Western kingdoms.

Forced to combat this dire foe, not only must traditional enemies unite, but the Companions may, at last, have to reveal secrets which they have kept hidden for centuries... even from their beloved Heralds.


Nayu's thoughts    
There was major fangirl squee-ing at being reintroduced to my favourite series when I was a teen - this explains the longer than normal review. Being asked to review it did result in searching out the rest of the series *looks innocent * Although at the moment I don't read much fantasy, any I do read is compared to Valdemar which is just so AWESOME! Valdemar is the reason why I love horses, despite being wary slash afraid of them in real life. Who wouldn't want a creature you can communicate with, who can help you as you live your life? 

Diving back into the lives of people who became my friends when I was a teen was bliss. I'd forgotten how high the stakes were (end of the world catastrophe is kind of a major event, unlike my not entirely successful recent chocolate truffle making), and yet while they are scary to read, and the actual event leads to consequences that no one could have predicted, it's just such a beautiful read. Karal starts off not liking anyone, and finding it really hard to live in a culture so different from his own, but by the end he has his own place, trusts people and...I can't tell you what happens because it's a major surprise. Let's just say that horses aren't the only magical creatures. *grins * Cats are involved! 

There's lots of humour between certain characters, who make me laugh a lot, or shake my head at their stubbornness (a feature of many of them). I got drawn into remembering why I wanted to be a diplomat when I was a teen: it's a little like a herald, only without a Companion (magical horse of sorts), without having some form of magic, and not as fun, so I stuck with reading about them rather than entering political life - safer and more fun! 

A good thing about the Storms trilogy is that because there are new characters like Karal who come from a different culture, it's possible to view the Heralds  as an outsider would, which makes me notice things which were obvious when stories were from the view of the Heralds, but not when from a different perspective. Mercedes is a pro at making you think differently, and opening up unseen angles. Storms trilogy throws up a lot of major plot twists which I remember on first reading (think I've read the trilogy at least 6 times now...) blew me away in the outcome from such discoveries. More fangirl squee-ing!

At the time of my first reading I didn't realise how the diversity of cultures could be related to the cultures in our world, so I see the books in a different light now I'm reading them after a fairly long break. I just might have purchased the other books so I can dive into all the stories once more – it's the one case of getting rid of books which I regret. I had nearly the entire collection! However, I know I got rid of them because I knew them almost off by heart and wanted space for other books. 

Thank goodness for the invention of ebooks! Shelf space isn't an issue. Not all the books are available on ebook, and the Valdemar Gryphon trilogy isn't the easiest to source, but it is possible to get the other books in this awesome universe which means a lot to me. There is heaps of danger and doom and gloom, which I do try to avoid at the moment, but the humour and hope that somehow Elspeth, Karal and everyone else will succeed counters the darker moment. I can never stop smiling when I see Elspeth grown up, as she was a royal brat (literally, she's a princess) when she was little and Talia managed to tame her - that's in the Arrows trilogy starting with Arrows of the Queen which is in a handy omnibus. I think all these omnibus's are a brilliant idea too! 

Find out more on Mercedes website

Available at bookstores including NRC affiliate Foyles

Suggested read
There isn't a series as extensive and awesome as Valedmar, but a fun one still packed with danger but constant humour starts with Masque by W R Gingell (Fantasy, Fairytale, 10E/10E)

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