Book Review: Valorian by Mary Herbert (TSR Books – 1993)

Set a few hundred years before Dark Horse, Valorian serves as the story of where all the magic came from. In almost myth-like style, it follows the legendary father of the clans Valorian on a quest into the Underworld and then beyond the bounds of the lands he’s lived to a place he’d never seen. An oppressive military government breathes down his neck the entire way, while his own allies waver back and forth over whether to take a leap of faith with him or keep fighting the losing fight they know and understand.

If you like myths, this is the book for you. Herbert’s interpretation of the classic mythical “Underworld” is both familiar and terrifyingly new. All the unearthly elements of Dark Horse and Lightning’s Daughter come together in one very exciting tale that feels a bit like a more land-locked Odyssey in theme.

The transition of Valorian as a legend in Dark Horse to an actual multi-faceted character in his own book is surprisingly smooth. He lives up to the tales about him while still having his flaws and coming alive of his own accord. It’s easy to reconcile him as being one and the same, which I hadn’t expected. While the ultimate conclusion of the story can be known if you’ve read Dark Horse, the culminations of other threads of plot keep the story interesting.

I definitely enjoyed this book more than Lightning’s Daughter, but I’d love to hear the perspective of someone who loves Lightning’s Daughter.

Next month, we’ll get back to dragon lit.

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