Changing the World is a collection of short stories set in and around Mercedes Lackey’s kingdom of Valdemar. I particularly enjoyed Lackey’s “The One Left Behind,” about a weaver whose father and lover both left to become Heralds (a young Sendar plays a role, too!), and “Softly Falling Snow,” by Elizabeth Vaughan, which gives us a glimpse of Elspeth the Peacemaker. Another favorite is “The Thief of Anvil’s Close”, which deals with an investigation by Sgt. Hektor Dann of the city Watch. If you’re a fan of Jem and Ree the hobgoblin, whose adventures have appeared in one or two other anthologies, they feature in two stories here, one by Kate Paulk and one by Sarah A. Hoyt.
All the stories are well-written, but a few break with canon to varying degrees — particularly the last story in the book, “Interview with a Companion,” by Ben Ohlander. While I enjoyed the surprising premise (a reporter interviews a Companion vacationing in our world) and the humor, I felt that Ohlander took a rather cynical view of Heraldic, Companion, and Valdemaran politics.
Bottom line: If you’re a Valdemar fan, you’ll probably enjoy most or all of these stories. If you’re new to Valdemar, you’re better off starting with the novels, which offer a more thorough introduction to the world.
Rating: 3 stars
Categories: Fantasy; short stories
Series: related to Lackey’s Valdemar books
Publisher: DAW (2009)
Book source: library book sale