cover image Storm Rising

Storm Rising

Mercedes Lackey. Daw Books, $21.95 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-88677-660-2

Lackey's latest continues the old-fashioned, simple-is-as-simple-does tradition that has made her numerous series set in and around the kingdom of Valdemar so accessible to so many readers. Her bloated prose is balanced by two-dimensional caricatures such as those of Karal, the diplomat who ``knows he is too young,'' An'desha (``Do I want to be--alone?'') and Firesong, who is prone to neurotic ramblings. Expectedly, Firesong's ills are not of his own making; he and the good characters here are uniformly good, lacking any shades of gray to give them depth. Even Grand Duke Tremane, who ordered murders in this novel's prequel, Storm Warning, has a heart of gold. Above all, this volume suffers from lack of a proper villain. Perhaps the windup to this promised trilogy will be more engaging; meanwhile, this middle volume fits Karal's description of a council meeting: ``very little accomplished and nothing really settled.'' (Sept.)