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Magic's Pawn (The Last Herald-Mage Series, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – June 6, 1989
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From Library Journal
Vanyel's disdain for swordsmanship earns him an unexpected exile--at the High Court of Valdemar under the guardianship of his stern and implacable Aunt Savil, one of the legendary Herald-Mages. A young man's painful discovery of his own immense talents and his true nature form the core of this richly detailed fantasy, the first in a new series set in the same world as "The Heroes of Valdemar." Lackey's talent for characterization lends depth to this coming-of-age adventure that will appeal to most fantasy readers.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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
Top customer reviews
Vanyel is a very traumatized teen when the story first introduces him to you. He has all the emotions that most teens and young adults face just from being that age, and then more from the abuse he receives. When his father finally sends him off (exiles) him to the capitol to live with his Aunt Sayvil, it seems like the abuse will only continue. however, that is the best thing his father could have done for him, because it allows Vanyel to come to grips with reality, as well learn about some of his own actual faults.
Do not get me wrong either, he faces a LOT of very difficult scenarios that many adults would be hard pressed to navigate succesfully; and he faces it all witht he expected clumsiness and accidental reactions, as well as the intentional reactions that you would expect a teenager to use. he faces soem of his demons inthis book and in the next two books as well: Magic's promise and Magic's Price.
An excellent book for teenagers AND adults to read and learn from while enjoying a great story at the same time!
Vanyel Ashkevron is the eldest son of a rather minor noble in the out country. His father is a rigid man, believing very firmly in certain things. And if you do not fall into his idea of what should be or what is right, then you are somehow lacking. This describes the relationship between Vanyel and his father for most of his childhood. His brothers and cousins, while not stupid, were far more interested in weaponswork and women than intellectual pursuits. Vanyel was intelligent and a gifted musician that took after his mother far more than his father. None of these things raised him in the eyes of his father. His mother, however, celebrated most of these things. She was a flightly woman who knew all too well how to play all of the "womanly" games and she loved having a son who could entertain her so well. However, she spent a lot of time throwing her lady's maid at him, despite his repeated assurances that he was not interested, often creating a bit of a mess for them both.
When Vanyel's father finally tires of trying to change him, he sends him to his aunt in Haven, a rather brusque woman who is a Herald. Vanyel knows, even as he lives the prison that ihis own home has become, that he is really only trading one prison for another. But things at Haven aren't what he expects and his life changes so very much.
I absolutely love the blend of characters in this book. No matter what your life story is, there is a character in this book that is relatable. No two characters are the same, giving a rich tapestry of characters in a wonderful story. I have heard many complain about the rather whiny attitude of Vanyel throughout the book. They are not wrong; he is whiny. But it is totally appropriate for the story. He is a young teenager, a fact easy to forget, and the reality is that he has a lot to whine about. I love that the character isn't portrayed to be perfect, that he is portrayed as realistic.
My Recommendation: As with every book in the Valdemar series, I am in love with this book. Such a wonderful epic read!
This review originally posted on my blog, The Caffeinated Diva reads.
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