November 20: Crossroads and Other Tales of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey and others. An early collection, and it shows. The first couple of stories are very intense. (Also I think I like the gryphons and the Hawkbrothers least of that whole world, with the nasty parts of Karsite culture as close second.) Further on there are some I skimmed or even skipped because they were very military, one I started and kept reading even when I realised it was a horror story (but it’s bearable and ends well), one love story between people I like in later collections but the beginning of their relationship is too much like stalking. The last, by Mercedes Lackey herself, is nice fluffy fun.
November 19: Spy, Spy Again by Mercedes Lackey. #3 of Family Spies. Starts with comfortable domesticness, but in the next chapter there’s so much worldbuilding that might have been much better if it had actually been part of the story. (And that’s me saying this; I usually don’t mind infodump. One of my favourite pieces of SFF is the chapters-long infodump at the beginning of, I think, Downbelow Station; I’m not interested in the rest of the book.) — Gah! I was about to write “this is a very gentle book, nothing really bad happens in it” but bad things start happening at 85%, I think a record even for Mercedes Lackey. (Also a bit of lazy writing and/or lack of copy-editing: “rocks ranging in size from a man’s head or a child’s ball to rocks the size of a village house”, which I’d probably have written as “rocks from the size of a man’s head or a child’s ball to the size of a village house” without the awkward “ranging in size” phrase.) And worse things happen at 92% and later, ending with I can only call equus ex machina.