Choices

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

This is a great collection of short stories that are about the Heralds and their companions.  You can read this as a stand alone even though it's book 12 in the Tales of Valdermar series.  It's a great introduction to Mercedes Lackey's fantasy world.  Many authors work with Ms. Lackey on this fantasy series and this anthology has 5 authors plus Mercedes offering new tales.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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I had so much fun revisiting the world of Valdemar. I need to catch up on the new novels! The only thing wrong with this book is that it ended. Some of the stories weren't my favorite, but it was fun to catch up with the characters that have appeared in previous books. I really like doing that. It took me a long time to read this book because I wanted to savour each story. 

Really enjoyed it. I think you'll like it too.
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The latest in a long line of anthologies set in the world of Valdemar. The nice thing for dedicated readers is there are a few stories in here that follow a set of characters from previous years. The plus is the stories are stand alone and yet if read year after year do build upon one another.  The collection makes for a great dip into world to get your fix. Not every story is about heralds and that is for the better since there is so much to this universe that has been build over the years. And the final story is an early days story about Need.  

Digital review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley
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Worthy addition to Valdemar anthologies.

I always love stepping into the world of Valdemar! This collection of tales from such a magical place, always full of adventure is the equivalent of a chocolate lover's guilty pleasure.
Here be stories that encompass the known lands that are part of the Valdemar experience.
Written by a league of talented authors who love this universe Mercedes has created, 'Choices' brings those of us who have a long time relationship with Valdemar fresh new voices to enjoy. If however you're dabbling for the first time this is a portal into a startlingly different world.

A NetGalley ARC
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Mercedes Lackey edits stories set in her Kingdom of Valdemar.  Choices showcases wonderful fantasy stories of sacrifice and adventure for mages, heralds and ordinary folk.  Perfect comfort reading for an evening.
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As with most anthologies, some of the stories are stronger than the others. The nice thing about Valdemar anthologies is that all of the stories are, at least, good. There are some return characters from previous stories, so if you are a new reader, some of the backstories are not present and you may find yourself looking for older anthologies to fill in the blanks.
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Further adventures in the world of the Valdemar Heralds.  These are short stories, and some of the characters were in previous anthologies.  I have been enjoying this series for some time, and its nice to see some of the same characters from these previous books.  A favorite is the one featuring the Iron Street Watch House and the Dann family, many of who are Watchmen.  The Watch House is finally getting some repairs, but when a mysterious locked box is found, they need to find a lock-pick to open it.  Fun story, with a lot of colorful characters.  The other stories are set all over Valdemar, and feature a wide range of characters, from trainees to seniors to  Heralds to hard to explain.  Enjoyable as always.
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I've been reading the Valdemar series for a long time, since the first herald book, Arrows of the Queen. It has been one of the best series I've read but I lost track of some of the anthologies. When I saw a new anthology was out, I was eager to read it, especially with some of the authors I saw listed. It was like coming home, a familiar world with new characters for me to enjoy.
There are a wide range of stories. Some include heralds doing heroic deeds but some are of simple people doing the best they can, making choices that impact themselves and others. Whether with heroic deeds or not, each story satisfies but readers will need to be familiar with the world of Valdemar and heralds. 
I like most of the stories in the anthology but there were a few that stood out. First, I really loved Mercedes Lackey's story featuring the ensouled sword Need. The characters were engaging, the story simple but elegant and the story features the type of twist that was unique and interesting. It is one of her best short stories to date and as trailblazing as her Herald Mage novels.
But her story wasn't the only one that was engaging and complex. Letters from Home by Brigid Collins was especially moving. The character leaves behind an entire lice and must work up the courage to look back home. I like that the author resists the urge to fix everything but has the character take baby steps while gaining the support that she needs to take those steps. It's not easy moving on without the ones we love by our side.
Another story that I loved was “Beyond Common Sense, She Persisted “ by Janny Wurts. She has a lovely way with words and her characters pop from the page. If you took her name of the story, i would still recognize her indelible style and I loved her spin on the collegium and the world of Valdemar.
“The Right Place” by Louisa Swann was another of my favorite choices. It features a fisher boy whose empathy with a special horse leads him into trouble but his choice to help is the right one. I liked it because the character wasn't a Herald and didn't expect reward for his help. It was choice made from his heart.
The last story of my top picks is “Acceptable Losses” by Stephanie Shaver. This story features Herald whose dealt with losses and has a daughter but is also trying to deal with a threat to Valdemar. His struggle is picking the right choice that will prevent the most loss, including his own. I liked the characters and the solution to the problem.
There are some stories that aren't as engaging but overall, each story reflects the theme of the anthology in its own way. Whether the main character is a Herald, a bard, a healer, a warrior, or a common person, they've each had to makes a choice that fits with the world of Mercedes Lackey.  If you aren't as familiar with Mercedes Lackey and her most popular series, her world of Velgarth, you might find yourself a touch lost on some terminology but most of the stories will still be worth the read. If you are a fan, it will be like returning home.
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*ARC received from NetGalley in return for an honest review*

Mercedes Lackey is an author I have loved since childhood. While some of the short stories were not to my taste I still ended up reading every one of them. A statement that many anthologies can't say since I like to only read the ones that instantly grab my attention. Lackey's own work was some of the best I have read from her in years. It reminded me of why I fell for her in the first place. I would recommend this anthology of his in particular for those that might be wary of reading any stories of Valdemar from different authors.
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Very good follow up to the prior books as some of the stories continue stories that were in them. I don't believe you need to read them first, but of course it will make more sense. Valdemar has always been an interesting world to visit and I hope these short stories continue. 

I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.
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A serviceable anthology. A few familiar names--both contributors and characters--will make the book enjoyable for fans of Valdemar.
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I received a digital ARC copy of this book via NetGalley and the publisher. All views within are my own.

As the twelfth anthology of Valdemar stories, I wasn’t sure if there was anything unique left to read about the Valdemar universe. I was wrong. These stories are interesting and heartwarming, relevant as ever in our own world as in the Valdemar universe.

The first story “With Sorrow and Joy” by Phaedra Weldon was among my favorites. It’s about a young herald, Uli, and ultimately his relationship with his family.

Another favorite of mine was “A Siege of Cranes” by Elisabeth Waters. Its dry humor has you laughing with Lena and about Lord Repulsive. 

This is a definite must-read for fans of the Valdemar universe and Mercedes Lackey.
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