Mercedes Lackey is an incredibly prolific author, especially if you consider all of the things she’s written with other authors. I first started reading the Valdemar books in high school, so they became the kind of books that Rachel Neumeier talks about in this post. After a while I branched out into Lackey’s other worlds, discovering that while I enjoyed most of them a few were not for me, and developing favorites among those I enjoyed.
Lackey writes a lot of trilogies, but also has longer series as well as several series of related but independent books set in the same worlds, and a few complete standalones. She often writes sets of trilogies from the same world. All of this makes it rather difficult to decide how to count favorites.
The Heralds of Valdemar trilogy is where I started with Lackey, and it has remained a favorite, not just among Mercedes Lackey books, but a favorite in general. A good entrance into the world of Valdemar.
The Collegium Chronicles is, unusually, a 4+ set books from the Valdemar universe. This latest addition to the world chronicles a time of change in the way the Heralds of Valdemar are trained and organized. (Number 5 is to come out this year; I don’t know if it will be the last. While I do feel that the series is a bit drawn out, I am still very much drawn in.)
The Mage Storms trilogy is in some ways the culmination of everything that came before it, and includes quite a cast of characters.
The Obsidian Mountain trilogy, co-authored by James Mallory, is a new and fascinating world with highly developed cultures, a long history, and interesting types of magic.
Crown of Vengeance, also co-authored by James Mallory, goes back in time to the history and legend of the Obsidian Mountain trilogy. It’s the first book of a new trilogy, and it is spectacular. It was really fascinating to see in the Crown of Vengeance elves the roots of what elven culture will have become in the Obsidian Mountain time. (Just for the record, I did not like the Phoenix trilogy. In fact, I didn’t even finish the first book.)
The first three Dragon Jousters books make a perfect trilogy in my mind, and though there is a fourth book I don’t like it nearly as much. The egyptian-inspired world is fun.
The Five Hundred Kingdoms are light romances with a unique fairy tale retelling perspective. The Sleeping Beauty became my favorite when it was published, mostly due to its humor and combining of multiple fairy tales. (But I might have read it a few too many times in quick succession.)
Many of the books in the Elemental Masters series are set in England around World War I, a setting I enjoy. I was delighted to discover the spoken Yorkshire dialect in Unnatural Issue, which takes place partly in that region.