This sixteenth anthology of short stories set in the beloved Valdemar universe features tales by debut and established authors and a brand-new story from Lackey herself.
The Heralds of Valdemar are the kingdom’s ancient order of protectors. They are drawn from all across the land, from all walks of life, and at all ages–and all are Gifted with abilities beyond those of normal men and women. They are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and more. These inborn talents–combined with training as emissaries, spies, judges, diplomats, scouts, counselors, warriors, and more–make them indispensable to their monarch and realm. Sought and Chosen by mysterious horse-like Companions, they are bonded for life to these telepathic, enigmatic creatures. The Heralds of Valdemar and their Companions ride circuit throughout the kingdom, protecting the peace and, when necessary, defending their land and monarch.
I probably say this every time I review one of these books and that is that I’m not normally a big fan of anthologies. They tend to be hit or miss with the stories and then just as I’m getting into a story it ends! I always make an exception for Mercedes Lackey’s anthologies because in all the years I’ve been reading them I’ve yet to find one that disappointed me in any way. Until I read this one. While there were plenty of stories in Shenanigans that I enjoyed but overall I do have to say that as a whole this book disappointed me.
A large part of that is I just didn’t enjoy the theme that all the stories were written around. I’ve never been a fan of pranks and I tend to skip every story or video I see about people playing them on people. Then throw in that suddenly they’re talking about a ‘prank day’ in a bunch of the stories at the collegium that has never once been mentioned in over 30 years worth of Valdemar books when we know if such a thing ever existed, even if it had been banned, Skif would have had a field day with it. I was also disappointed that some of my favorite ongoing stories from previous anthologies weren’t included in this one and can’t help but feel like they weren’t in the anthology because they couldn’t be made to fit the theme.
Don’t get me wrong I think pretty much every author in this book is amazing and all the stories were well-written! The theme of them all the stories and the fact that my favorite characters weren’t in them just made it difficult for me to enjoy. I feel like I’m going to be in the minority of Mercedes Lackey fans so like always I would tell everyone to read the book and judge it themselves. Just don’t expect Shenanigans to stand out the way the rest of her anthologies have over the years.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.