Review: The Black Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon

Morning tea with The Black Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon

A friend lent me the Mage Wars trilogy, which is a prequel trilogy in Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar world. I love Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series to bits, so I’ve been keen to read Valdemar books for a while. This friend is a massive Lackey fan, and offered to lend me the first Valdemar book, so of course I accepted.

(This super-informal review also posted on goodreads)

The only snag is that The Black Gryphon is the internal chronology first Valdemar book, not the publication order first :/ I am usually super pedantic about reading series in publication order. I probably should have been more specific about that when talking to my friend. Oh well! I had it in my hands and this is what he gave me when I asked for the first book, so I started reading.

It took me a few chapters to get into it and get my head around the world. I don’t know if that was actually because it’s better to read it after having read the Valdemar books that were written earlier, or whether it was because I was a bit paranoid that there were references I was missing because I haven’t read earlier books.

Once I got into the characters, however, I was totally captivated and stopped worrying about reading order. There were bits where I could tell were foreshadowing of things to come, but the book was just so lovely that I couldn’t mind too much.

Like every other Mercedes Lackey book I’ve read, it’s just plain fun to read!

I really like how, while the book is set during the height of the massive war, most of the main characters are support personnel rather than combatants – counselors/therapists and healers, mainly. Also, gryphons! All of the characters are just so nice (but also sufficiently complex) that you can’t help loving them all.

I was reading it on the train home last night and I missed my station because I didn’t look up until I finished the book. If that’s not a good sign, I don’t know what is.

After I read this trilogy I will definitely read the publication-order first book next, but I can live with having read this trilogy out of order.

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