Friday, September 11, 2015

Magic's Promise by Mercedes Lackey

The wild magic is taking its toll on the land, and even Vanyel, the most powerful Herald-Mage to ever walk the world, is almost at the end of his strength. But when his Companion, Yfandes, receives a call for help from neighboring Lineas, both Herald-Mage and Companion are drawn into a holocaust of dark magic that could be the end of them both.

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This book continues Vanyel's story and shows us much of the man he has become a decade or more after the events of Magic's Pawn. He's grown up a lot and is far more responsible and duty-minded than he was as a teen, yet in many ways that abused and resentful boy is still a part of him. He's learned to put some wrongs behind him, manages through the course of this story to resolve even more old grudges and move on from them, yet some hurts remain all too fresh for him and healing is still a long way off.

As with many of Lackey's trilogies, at least in the Valdemar universe, this second book in the trilogy is much less action packed and much more introspective in many ways. The focus shifts more to character development and establishing and defining relationships between characters. We receive far more insights into who the characters really are as people in this book, insights that help set the stage for some of what happens here as well as things that are yet to come. Vanyel is still dealing with many of the same bigoted attitudes regarding his sexuality that he did in the first book, though other attitudes related more to what and who he is as a herald-mage start to become more of a problem for him as well. For someone as given to depression and black moods as Vanyel is, having to deal with this new attitude towards him is something he could well do without.

Though it may not be as exciting or action-filled as the other two books in the series, this book is still one you won't want to skip if you're reading through the Valdemar books. The events of this book may not have as long-raging effects on what comes later as the others do, but it is still well worth reading for the insights into Vanyel and some of the other characters. Another on my all-time must-read recommendations list.

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