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The Last Herald-Mage Trilogy Paperback – February 2, 2016
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Praise for series:
"Lackey has written another intensely wrought, finely detailed story of heroic victims struggling to do the best with their fate. Vanyel’s magical strengths are countered by his very human insecurities." —VOYA
"Lackey’s characterization, plotting, and wit are all of a high order. A real page-turner for any fantasy collection." —Booklist
"Emotionally tense and full of drama and magic." —Locus
"In Vanyel, [Lackey] has created her most empathetic male character to date, making our emotions run high as he meets his fate. And best of all, the very last plot twist is one of haunting beauty that will touch your heart." —RT Reviews
"In this trilogy, Lackey reaches an intensity she had only begun to achieve.... The story of Vanyel is darker than her earlier books, and the pace is unrelenting." —American Fantasy Magazine
About the Author
Mercedes Lackey is a full-time writer and has published numerous novels and works of short fiction, including the bestselling Heralds of Valdemar series. She is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband and collaborator, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots. She can be found at mercedeslackey.com.
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In Magic's Pawn we meet Vanyel who will become the last Herald-Mage. Here Vanyel, a gay teen, grows from a young popinjay to the kind of person who cares for and protects others -- in short, a Herald.
Magic's Promise requires a tissue warning! Sometimes the middle book of a trilogy is a weaker one than the ends. This one is a powerful book in its own right. Vanyel has come into his own as one of the most powerful (if not THE most powerful) Herald-Mages ever. Valdemar is still taking the geographic shape it would have in the Arrows trilogy. This story is one of personal sacrifice made for the good of others.
Magic's Price is a strong and moving conclusion to Vanyel's story. I like Vanyel, in part because he does his best, but isn't perfect. His strengths and flaws make this book a powerful story of love (of people and country) and duty. There are some scenes of sexual violence that are more implied than graphically covered, but that violence is integral to the story.
If you enjoy fantasy and have not yet read this trilogy, then I urge you to do so. I don't think you will regret the time you spend reading it.
Vanyel and 'Lendel were the first gay people I "knew" as an adolescent, and even as a straight woman I felt deeply, fundamentally connected to these young men, and to Vanyel as he aged into a lonely, impossibly strong, dangerously stubborn man, broken and reluctant to lead but doing his duty nonetheless. I bawled my eyes out in each book through my teen years, and then set these books aside for more adult things. But as an adult, I have to say, I bawled my eyes out again until I felt emotionally and physically wrung out and my partner began to worry about me. Time and maturity did nothing to diminish the power and pain of this story for me. These remain three of the dearest books to my heart.
They have stayed with me ever since, and are books I read again almost annually. I have worn out countless copies of the individual paperback novels and always feared I'd not be able to find copies at the store when I had to get new copies. I was quite happy to discover this omnibus edition of the trilogy on Amazon after getting my Kindle, and it was one of the first books I purchased for it.
I don't think Lackey has, at least among the Valdemar books, written anything else I've found more personally powerful. The MC, Vanyel Ashkevron, is a strong character, even when he's at his weakest (in book 1). His home circumstances are completely believable and the life he grows into after his potential is triggered is both glorious and heartbreaking. Vanyel's strugles, to me, feel real and true, and still do even to this day, despite my familiarity with the stories. I can find few flaws in these books, and nearly every flaw I find is in my own perspective on the books, not in the stories themselves.
While I sometimes come to believe I have outgrown Valdemar and its Heralds, I have never ever come to believe I have outgrown this trilogy. These are books I NEVER fail to recommend to people who are looking for new fantasies to read, or who are seeking a first taste of the genre, and are, to me, timeless and will always be completely compelling, no matter how long I set them aside.
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Vanyel is one of those characters it's impossible not to cry with.Read more