Magic's Pawn –

Mage Craft 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 Famed Herald Mages Of ValdemarBut, 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

10 thoughts on “Magic's Pawn

  1. says:

    I feel the need to explain myself First, I read this when I was fifteen The rating I gave it is the one I gave it when I first read it And I admit, I still love it, even though I am a discerning reader and can tell it s really not as great as I thought it was when I was only a squealy fangirl End Discaimer.The main character is Vanyel Ashkevron he s the eldest son of a minor noble Vanyel s not like the rest of his brothers or cousins, who take after his father they re all tall, strong, and not stupid really, just not very interested in intellectual pursuits Vanyel is the only one who takes after his mother, which means he s kind of short, scrawny, likes books, and is a fairly decent musician He wants than anything to be able to abdicate his position as heir, and study to become a Bard in Valdemar s capital, Haven His duty minded father isn t about to let him, though Eventually, Vanyel s father decides that he ought to go to Haven to study, not music, but fighting, how to be a good Lord, etc and he is fostered with his aunt, Herald Mage Savil A Herald is kind of like a hybrid police oficer soldier FBI agent, with super powers People become Heralds only if they get Chosen by a Companion Companions are benevolent guardian spirits who inhabit the bodies of white horses, and can sense people who have special powers Gifts , like telepathy mind speech , telekinesis fetching , fire starting, or the ability to do magic Companions can also look into a person s heart and see if they are Good, besides just being Gifted, so it s absolutely unimaginable to think of there ever being a bad Herald Back to the summary Vanyel has to go live with Savil, but is not pleased by the prospect He knows he isn t getting special treatment he s being gotten out of the way, because of mounting tension between him and his family So, he decides that since no one cares about him, then he won t care about anyone, either, and convinces himself that the world is against him and it s better to just ignore other people Which helps him make tons of friends when he gets to Haven seriously, he s popular with the other noble kids Other regular people Bards, Healers, Heralds and their trainees , think he s an arrogant snob and avoid him Even his aunt can t stand him Except for one person Tylendel, who is Savil s trainee and lives with her and Vanyel Tylendel is an Empath as well as a mage, and can sense Vanyel s loneliness and depression, and reaches out to him.Vanyel distrusts Tylendel at first, but he eventually breaks down and opens up to Tylendel When that happens, Vanyel also finds the courage to confess that he also has a crush on Tylendel Tylendel, who is openly gay, also has a crush on Vanyel They keep their romance a secret from everyone except Savil, which would have been hard to do in any case, since they all live together Savil agrees to keep quiet, and even starts to warm to Vanyel, since he s starting to drop the whole since they don t like me I don t like them either attitude.To make an already long summary less long, by the end of the book Vanyel has been Chosen, to everyone s everlasting shock He has the most powerful mage gift of anyone, ever In addition he also has nearly every other Gift mind speech, Empathy, fetching The reason he suddenly got these powers is complicated and full of major spoilers, but suffice it to say that this book is full of Angst Now, the review First, some technical critiques whoever was the copyeditor for this book needs to be fired Typos abound, not to mention there s one or two continuity problems, but they re pretty minor Also, the dialogue can be a little awkward in places, but again, just a few, so I can overlook that.The whole tolerance theme gets shoved in your face a lot I think one reviewer said in places it starts to read like a PFLAG pamphlet But that was necessary, I think, considering her target audience, young adults Now, she may brag that she has fans of all ages and backgrounds, but even if she didn t start out to write YA novels that s what she ended up doing in my opinion Subtlety really doesn t have a place in YA, because none of us were particularly astute when we were thirteen and up So I can forgive the book for getting a little preachy A lot of people say they couldn t handle this book because Vanyel was just so damn whiny Well, he is, actually, I can t refute that, except to say he s a teenager Teenagers whine I didn t notice that when I first read it, and I got upset to hear people say that, because to me, Vanyel wasn t whiny, he was just stating facts His life sucked I believed that, because I thought my life sucked sometimes, too One thing about Misty, she can create believable characters who are easy to relate to If Vanyel had been any less fleshed out, any less compelling, then when she sprung the whole he s gay surprise on her readers, then I would have been disgusted and stopped reading But even though I was cringing in the back of my mind and thinking, ew, he s gay Why did she go and ruin the book that way for I kept reading, because I was already far too emotionally invested in him to just abandon his story And surprise, surprise, I ended up changing my mind about gay people This is not an eh, it was okay book you either love or hate it And I am unapologetic fan.

  2. says:

    What can I say about this book I m torn between being serious here, or funny How about both First, let me warn you This book is gay Really, really gay Gayer than He man, gay So, if you can t handle lots of gay in your books, skip it I find it a bit refreshing, if not amazingly melodramatic That s this books big problem The story is fine and simple, but boy oh boy, it is as melodramatic as it is gay This book definitely falls under guilty pleasure, and is probably only a few tiers up from those accursed Twilight books However, I can say with complete certainty, that this is the kind of book some confused young kid might pickup, not knowing it could really help him figure out himself, or even save his life yes, I know, melodrama All the typical coming out fears are dealt with here, as well as general self discovery So, a mediocre fantasy novel Yes Way to melodramatic to be considered good Yup An interesting guilty pleasure for sad, sad man like myself You bet.

  3. says:

    By popular demand ok a friend asked me to do the one with the blue eyed telepathic horses and the owls you could ride on , a review of the Vanyel books This series, with it s billowing clouds of adolescent angst, gay boys, and yes, blue eyed telepathic horses, basically got me through my teenage years I would lock myself in my room and sob Oh the tragedy Oh the gayness Oh the telepathic horses Note I don t think the owls were in this series Or the magic valleys where there were lizard servants to cater to your every whim Yes, lizards magically genetically modified to be slaves but happy about it Nice huh

  4. says:

    No That blurb gets the book all wrong What really happens is Vanyel is a young, somewhat vain, interested in music teenager at odds with his warrior father who sends him off to Savil because he doesn t know what else to do with him to make a REAL MAN of him Vanyel reluctantly falls in love with a Herald in Training Tylendal who turns out to be his life bond soul mate Then a tragedy strikes and THAT gives Vanyel his powers Dang Who writes these things Also Tylendal was a guy because Vanyel is a strong awesome gay hero Books need of these The only thing is Mercedes Lackey puts poor Vanyel through hell I just want to take him out of this book, give him a cup of tea and some cookies and a hug because he suffers so much I continue to love this book but I want to pull vanyel out and give him cake and cuddle him because he goes through hell.

  5. says:

    Vanyel, only fifteen, is the oldest son and therefore heir to a Holding His mother is seemingly weak willed and obsessed with her vapours, while his father is such a Man that he needs must push Vanyel into Manly pursuits as well, which includes letting the incompetent and ignorant Armsmaster beat the crap out of him Vanyel is interested in music He s also self absorbed, introspective, selfish, arrogant, a bit petulant in other words, young and spoilt, as well as very handsome His father, Withen, decides to pack him off to his sister Savil, a Herald Mage who lives in the capital, training young apprentices.Vanyel s one meeting with his aunt Savil years ago didn t impress either of them, and being sent off into exile doesn t improve his manners He hasn t shown any Gift, any ability in Mage powers or creativity, not even in music, which shatters his only dream to be a Bard Savil isn t like her brother, though, and with her favourite protege, Tylendel, keeps an eye on him to see if he really is an arrogant little shit, or if he s hurting inside and needs help His attraction to Tylendel only makes him hate himself , and fear the older boy s reaction should he find out even though Vanyel knows Tylendel is shay a chern gay When the two do finally take the plunge, they fall in love, and become lifebonded When Tylendel s twin brother is murdered, though, his pain and grief sets him on a dangerous path of revenge and retribution, drawing Vanyel along with him, with tragic consequences.What starts out as a fairly conventional, formulaic fantasy doesn t stay that way long While the land of Valdemar may be fairly typical in fantasy fiction in terms of its culture, attitudes, prejudices, sophistication and class structure i.e boringly medieval to middle ages , it s not entirely patriarchal or old fashioned Contrary to what I would expect from a fantasy world that s been revisited so many times, it is not detailed or richly described you get mostly only a cursory glance at the landscape, which is where falling back on fantasy stereotypes of a medieval English setting comes in handy This would normally have alienated, disappointed and bored the hell out of me, but for the characters and the story itself.Although Lackey overuses italics this when the story is narrated from Vanyel s point of view, to show his nature, but it wears thin pretty quickly the prose is smooth and quite fast paced I much prefer these I shall call them bildungsromen style fantasy stories, compared to the Quest motivated ones I like stories where the characters are mostly stationary, where you get to watch them live, grow, mature, develop, learn through studies and interactions with others and, yes, adventures, but not quests Quests get very boring, but it s than that There s something enjoyable about the low key, homely, comfortable static fantasy story most of the Harry Potter books are like this, especially The Order of the Phoenix, which a lot of people found boring but I really enjoyed it s quite possibly my favourite even It has precisely this quality, where you really get to know the characters, and you get to indulge in political scheming, feuds, that kind of thing Magic s Pawn is one of those bildungsromen type fantasies, but it s still a very busy book, and when adventure happens it certainly doesn t dither.I did feel a bit like I d walked in on a group of role players and a game that s new but familiar I had no trouble following the story or understanding the world, but because I haven t read any other books set in this world, there s a lot that isn t explained and plenty that you would expect would be dramatised but isn t like the Companions intelligent, magical horses finding their Chosen new Herald Mages and the difference between a Herald and a Mage, or why some are both, is unclear Also, what the Hawkbrothers do went mostly over my head I really didn t understand that part of it.Vanyel s story, though, was clear and passionately told Despite his flaws and he really is a self indulgent, vain little shit most of the time you still come to care for him and cheer him on And I was proud of him, in the village scene at the end I certainly want to read the next two, Magic s Promise and Magic s Price, to find out what happens with him.

  6. says:

    Melodramatic, over the top, and as subtle as a brick to the skull, this is nevertheless an engrossing read Vanyel s journey from a spoiled, effeminent musician wannabee to a heart broken, effeminent Herald Mage is really engaging Teenagers will especially find themselves drawn to this story The one truly boring part is Vanyel s time spent healing with the elves or whatever they re called they re basically mystical Native Americans with equally mystical white hair and magical birds.

  7. says:

    Oh, what a validating novel this would be for a child who had no sports talent, but was being forced to participate anyway Every boy convinced by his father to set aside his violin or book in order to fail dismally at baseball or hockey would be able to relate to Vanyel Music is everything to Vanyel with academics running a close second, but his father only wants him to become a brutal swordsman.Others who may relate those who excelled in their own small pond small town or small school , but find themselves out shone by talented peers when they arrived at university Vanyel is considered smart and musically talented at home, but once he is sent to his Aunt Savil at the school for Herald Mages, his talents fall short of the mark.Also a book for a youngster in the 1980s struggling with his her sexual orientation The good thing that comes out of this new situation is that Vanyel realizes that he is interested in boys that s why bedding girls at home was never alluring to him And although some people are prejudiced against him for his orientation, the author makes it clear that they are provincial and not to be listened to I was pleasantly surprised to find this viewpoint expressed so unequivocally in literature from the 1980s.Like most teenagers, Vanyel is very self centered It goes with the territory, but it does make the kid hard to like at least for a woman in her 50s However, it was also disappointing that the instructors at the mage school made so little effort to see behind the arrogant pose that Vanyel used to protect himself The situation improves as the book progresses, with Aunt Savil realizing that there is a great deal to her nephew that she had previously realized and that maybe her brother was even thicker than she had thought This is also a pretty standard plot device I think of Simon in The Dragonbone Chair, who also starts as a self involved teen with fewer talents than Vanyel , but eventually becomes a person of character.I had to wonder at the addition of the horse like Companions in order to become a Herald Mage, one must be chosen by one of these superior, magical beings, who reminded me very much of the Houyhnhnms from Swift s Gulliver s Travels Maybe in the next book, I will figure out why the Companions are necessary to this world.Book 244 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

  8. says:

    This is the first Mercedes Lackey book I have read.First of all, this review might have been pushed up a notch if I could have had an ebook version and stripped it of all italics ever As it was, my eyes were bleeding from being stabbed repeatedly by little slanted daggers For emphasis.The story is standard fanfic fare super emo kid is hated by everyone, is sent off to become a man by his evil dad, falls madly in love with the Most Beautiful Guy EVA after 3 seconds, is bonded for life because of twu wuv, shitty things happen, and he discovers he is super amazing AKSHULLY.I could have almost lived with this, because I am also a not so secret emo jelly baby, and my Achilles Heel is hurt comfort and magical life bonds and all the associated wangst.But guh No I just had too many issues with the writing and even I can only take so much La We are beautiful, and now we are in love OH NO WOE IS ME And it s getting two stars because even though I eye rolled my way through the whole damn thing, I kinda want to read the next one Oh god someone kill me now, for I have no shame.

  9. says:

    3.5 starsWell, I was all ready to go with this one, geared up to finally get to this trilogy which has been on my Kindle for the last three years, actually looking forward to one of these and then my friends helpfully reminded me of how the trilogy ends Granted, there was a very brief detailing of Vanyel s legend in the Arrows of the Queen trilogy, very early on, but I had managed to forget it completely by this point Being reminded accidentally, granted right as I was starting this book kind of soured me on the whole trilogy, but I did my best to power through that and read the book on its own merits.It was actually pretty good There were some rough patches Lackey still doesn t know how to write romance and or a convincing love story at all The whole lifebond nonsense is so lazy and lacks any kind of investment by the reader to care about the characters in those pairings Still, this was significantly improved over Talia and whatshisname from the Arrows of the Queen trilogy since we actually get to spend time with the couple and see them be couple y And I did care about Vanyel and Tylendel, even if I wasn t really feeling their uber special epic love Vanyel is an interesting POV character since he s quite different from Talia and the horrid duo Tarma and Kethry There are some similarities to Talia, in that they re both characters who have learned not to rely on others and who bottle things up, but they do so in different ways and for different reasons.Clearly, since this was written in the late 80s early 90s, Lackey was dealing with a much different social reality than we have today, so some of the stuff with Vanyel and Tylendel reads as The More You Know for queer characters, but I could generally role with it I was worried that Lackey would be setting things up only to not deal with them until the last book again, but she didn t do that here There were some drama llamas, which included the very unfortunate trope of view spoiler Bury Your Gays, since Tylendel commits suicide after his twin is murdered and he fails to avenge him Vanyel s side of that whole mess makes absolute sense I m not so sure about Tylendel s side of it He just went full on Evil Queer and then died Then Vanyel has to go and nearly kill himself Which, actually, the number of times Vanyel nearly dies in this story is ridiculous I lost count at some point hide spoiler

  10. says:

    Okay, so I GET why this book is super important and ground groundbreaking historically as I ve said, Mercedes Lackey walked so that every current author of LGBT YA fantasy could run and there are some beautiful messages about acceptance and not shutting yourself off to the world because you ve been hurt Buuuuuuuuuut reading this book in the year of our Lord 2k19 The Bury Your Gays The sad damaged white boy getting shipped off to Learn and Heal with the wise, mystical Indigenous People The nasty, nasty villain who makes his first appearance at the 95% mark It s kind of a messRTC