Title(s): Magic's Pawn, Magic's Promise, Magic's Price
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Genre: fantasy, romance, adventure
Main Characters: Vanyel, Savil, Yfandes, Tylendel, Stefen
Warnings: M/M romance (suggestive themes, but absolutely nothing graphic), magical violence here and there
Long time no review! Sorry about that, guys. I've been lazy. Well, a couple nights ago I finished Magic's Price, the last novel in the Last Herald-Mage series, and I decided it was time that I wrote a review/overview of some kind. The series has 3 novels. I'll be as general as I can about the entire series because I don't want to spoil anything.
I'll start off by giving a resounding YES to a recommendation. I absolutely loved this trilogy. Mercedes Lackey has a great many books she's written, and most of them take place in the land of Valedmar, just like this series does. I'd never read anything by her, but I saw that the first book, Magic's Pawn, got a good review on Goodreads.com. I was tempted to get it for a while, but I never got the chance! My chance came when a friend asked me what I'd like for Christmas, and I told her Magic's Pawn! :) She was determined to buy me something from Barnes and Noble, soooo there you have it. I'm very glad I picked it for my gift.
As mentioned in the warnings, it is M/M (gay) romance/fantasy. But also mentioned in the warnings is that there isn't anything graphic at all. The most that is revealed as far as sex goes is something like...”We went to bed, exhausted, but we didn't get much sleep.” No, that isn't a quote from the book lol. But, seriously, there are hints at sex scenes, but you never really read any of them. For a good lot of you that's a good thing! For me, I was saddened, haha. Ok, not saddened necessarily. But anyway, if you aren't a fan of M/M, you could still read these books (if you love fantasy), unless you are so against homosexuality that the fact that the main character is gay would put you off. If that's the case, then okay. XD But again, there are sexual themes and hints at things, but nothing explicit.
All three novels revolve around the main character, Vanyel Ashkevron. In the first book, he is a teen, unable to fit in with his brothers and live up to his father's standards. He doesn't want to be a fighter of any kind; he wants to become a Bard. He also notices other things that make him feel different compared to the other boys. And his father, quite frankly, hates him for it. He sends him off to the Collegium in Haven to be schooled by his aunt, Savil. He hopes to become a Bard, takes the classes and all, but he shows no Talent. Rather, he has skills, but he doesn't have the magical talents that a bard in this world need. Of course, he gets all depressed, and that depression and coldness wraps him up...keeps him away from everyone. Until he meets Tylendel. Cue first romance! After many mixed emotions, Vanyel realizes he is shay'a'chern, which is the word for “homosexual” in this world. Saych, for short. Well, so is Tylendel. They fall in love and all that good stuff. And it turns out that they are what's called “Lifebonded.” In the Valedmar novels, being lifebonded to someone basically means that you are attached emotionally and mentally. They can sense when something is wrong with the other, when they are lying, if they are hurt, etc.
When something very, very tragic happens (I am not spoiling it), Vanyel gains mage powers in every possibility. He showed no talent for magic his entire life until this happens. He can Mindspeak, Fetch (move things with his mind), Heal, and use magic to fight with, and is “Chosen” by the Companion (basically, they are horses that can speak mind to mind) Yfandes. Basically, he gains all of the talents Heralds can possibly have and more, which was never heard of before. Savil, as well as other characters known as the Tayledras, teach him how to use his powers properly (rather, they try). And very quickly, he becomes a Herald-Mage, and everyone in the land knows of him, especially when he fights an evil mage that was terrorizing towns.
I am being very general because I don't want a spoil a thing. Lol. Sorry. XD Something that happens in the first novel really sets the tone for the second and third novels. In these two books, he is older. Roughly 10 years older in the second, and 17 years in the third. It is interesting to see how his personality develops as well. You can see such a difference. In the first, he is a huffy, sarcastic and somewhat cold teen, but as the stories go along and he ages, his personality certainly matures. When I started the second book, I almost couldn't believe that it was still Vanyel. The author changes his voice (as in how his words are written) as he ages, and so after 10 years, he is definitely a different man. But not in a bad way.
In the second book, Magic's Promise, it revolves around him and his duty as a Herald-Mage, protecting Valdemar and discovering the past of a character named Tashir, who is a young Chosen boy that is accused of murdering his entire family. He also meets his nephew, Medren, who happens to have amazing talent as a Bard. Majority of Magic's Promise centers around Vanyel and these two, figuring things out, beating baddies, and also coming to terms with his confused emotions.
The third book was, I want to say, my favorite of the three. I won't say too much about it because crucial things that happen in the first two lay things out for the third and final book. However, I will say that the ending made me want to cry. I mean, really. I don't think I ever became so attached to a character in a book...or so emotionally invested in a relationship of two characters (that weren't my OC's lol). I didn't want this series to end! But, sadly, it did. It ended in such a beautiful and touching way that was also so...just...gah, like I said, I wanted to freaking cry. Although, I have to say, there were a lot of parts in these books that made me want to cry lol! But just one more thing I'll say because I mentioned one of the main charas as being Stefen. He appears in this book and plays a very, very, very vital role. What role, I am not going to say, but I'd say half of Magic's Price is from his POV.
This “review” is rather long. Sorry about that, and I know I didn't even sum the story up as well as I could have. But the thing with this series is that so many things happen that could be considered spoilers. I mean, I know I was surprised when said events occurred. But, anyhoo, overall this series is amazing. Filled with magic, adventure, love, struggles that people today can connect to (in the second book, there was a part I wish I had written down; the quote was so unbelievably relatable to an issue today), and characters that seem so real. I have to admit, the first half of the first book seemed a little cliché to me, but man, after that little bit, it was far from cliché and incredibly entertaining. Highly recommended!! <3
Thanks for reading. :)