Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Magic's Pawn by Mercedes Lackey


Though Vanyel has been born with near-legendary abilities to work both Herald and Mage magic, he wants no part of such things. Nor does he seek a warrior's path, wishing instead to become a Bard. Yet such talent as his if left untrained may prove a menace not only to Vanyel but to others as well. So he is sent to be fostered with his aunt, Savil, one of the fame Herald-Mages of Valdemar.

But, strong-willed and self-centered, Vanyel is a challenge which even Savil can not master alone. For soon he will become the focus of frightening forces, lending his raw magic to a spell that unleashes terrifying wyr-hunters on the land. And by the time Savil seeks the assistance of a Shin'a'in Adept, Vanyel's wild talent may have already grown beyond anyone's ability to contain, placing Vanyel, Savil, and Valdemar itself in desperate peril...

Where to Buy

The Last Herald-Mage is probably my favorite trilogy from the whole Valdemar Universe. Vanyel's story is both inspiring and heart-breaking and definitely stands the test of time. Despite being a few decades old now, many of the themes here are very relevant to issues that many are dealing with today. This book tells the story of Vanyel's early life, starting before his enormous mage powers are awakened. We follow him through a journey of self-discovery, of love and devastating loss, and of finding the strength to keep going when the future seems unendingly bleak.

The blurb I posted here was the best I could find, but it hardly does the story justice. Conspicuously missing from it is mention of Tylendel, Vanyels' lifebonded lover and the catalyst for most, if not all, of Vanyel's journey. Vanyel's love for Tylendel leads him into doing things he knows aren't right and also becomes a defining character trait for him for the rest of his life. It's hard to say much more without giving too much away.

Fans of the Lackey or of the Valdemar universe won't want to miss this book and trilogy, in part because Vanyel remains a key figure in Valdemar even centuries after his death. Those who are simply interested in stories about LGBT characters will find much to like here as well, for Vanyel comes up against many of the same attitudes that the LGBT community does in real life. How he handles it can serve as an inspiration I think. One of my all-time must-read recommendations even if in all honestly I can't quite give it a full 5 stars.

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