I am a bit late posting this review because my family and I recently moved across the country from British Columbia to Ontario.
I received an e-ARC of Beyond by Mercedes Lackey from Netgalley and DAW books in exchange for an honest review. Mercedes Lackey is one of my favourite authors, so I was thrilled, both to receive it and to read this book. The book came out on June 15th, so it is available now.
The long-awaited founding of Valdemar comes to life in this new series from a New York Times bestselling author and beloved fantasist.
Authors: Mercedes Lackey
Length: 384 Pages
Publication Date: June 15, 2021
Goodreads Rating: 4.55
My Rating: 4 Stars
Within the Eastern Empire, Duke Kordas Valdemar rules a tiny, bucolic Duchy that focuses mostly on horse breeding. Anticipating the day when the Empire’s exploitative and militant leaders would not be content to leave them alone, Korda’s father set out to gather magicians in the hopes of one day finding a way to escape and protect the people of the Duchy from tyranny.
Kordas has lived his life looking over his shoulder. The signs in the Empire are increasingly dire. Under the direction of the Emperor, mages have begun to harness the power of dark magics, including blood magic, the powers of the Abyssal Planes, and the binding and “milking” of Elemental creatures.
But then one of the Duchy’s mages has a breakthrough. There is a way to place a Gate at a distance so far from the Empire that it is unlikely the Emperor can find or follow them as they evacuate everyone that is willing to leave.
But time is running out, and Kordas has been summoned to the Emperor’s Court.
Can his reputation as a country bumpkin and his acting skills buy him and his people the time they need to flee? Or will the Emperor lose patience, invade to strip Valdemar of everything of worth, and send its conscripted people into the front lines of the Imperial wars?
I love the Valdemar books. Interestingly, when I read them, I often did find myself wondering about the early beginnings of Valdemar, so I was very excited when I found out that Mercedes Lackey was writing an origin story.
One of the things I thought was great about this book is that it can appeal to anyone. Whether you are a die-hard Mercedes Lackey fan who has read all of the Valdemar books, or a newcomer to her books that has no idea what in the heck Valdemar is, you can enjoy this book.
As usual Mercedes Lackey presents engaging, fantastical world-building and a fast paced story. I really enjoyed Kordas’ character too. In an empire that is brutal and harsh, Kordas and his family are kind and treat their people with respect. I also appreciated how he played the role of a simple country lord – to fool the empire.
I really liked the magic system in the book too. I don’t want to spoil the plot too much, but if you enjoy fantasy stories where a heroic main character stands up to an evil empire and tries to save his people – then I think you will definitely enjoy this book. The only thing I will say is that sometimes the book was almost too fast paced. I enjoyed the characters and story so much that I wish it was even more detailed/given a bit more time to develop.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars and definitely can’t wait to read the next instalment.
Thank you again to Netgalley and DAW books for the advanced copy.