I’d mentioned that the most recent books I’d read were subway books from the library; the first was Lost and Found. The other two were paperbacks, Mercedes Lackey’s Storm Rising and Storm Breaking. These are the final two books in a trilogy (the first is Storm Warning) set in her popular Valdemar universe. I’d read these before, which is why I took out them out even though the branch library didn’t have the first volume.
Lackey has approximately a gazillion books in this world, most of which are your basic misunderstood/abused teen goes through much nastiness, but wins through to a place in the community. (The Arrows trilogy were her first, and seem to be thought of the most highly by her fans.) Lackey also has prolific-author syndrome, unfortunately, and the Storm books are one of the few later Lackey trilogies that I re-read. The plots still suffer from author-induced stupidity (if you’re going to explore someplace completely unknown, on a really important mission, and you have people around who are telekinetic, don’t you think it would be a good idea to bring one of them in case you find something unexpected, or even something on a really high shelf?), some glaring continuity errors, and a fair lack of subtlety, but I happen to particularly like the characters in this trilogy and find their company soothing. Karal is a young priest of a land that’s been at war with Valdemar for generations, trying to make sense of a world where suddenly it was his religious hierarchy that was evil in the past, not Valdemar—while on a diplomatic mission to Valdemar itself. If that weren’t unsettling enough, then weird things start happening—magical storms, as the titles imply. The other major new character is Tremane, head of an Imperial Army that invaded the next country over from Valdemar, with some buried shreds of decency and conscience in a culture that rewards only expediency. Anyway, lots of stuff happens, Karal and Tremane plug along doing what has to be done, the World Is Saved, and more subway rides have passed harmoniously. (Though stickily. It’s pretty miserable in New York City right now, and though the subway cars are air conditioned, none of my stations are.) Hooray.