I would have to say the 3 books of this trilogy are the best books Mercedes Lackey has ever written. These were the first books I read by her and i've read them over 150 times. I reread them at least once a year and sometimes more. I would highly recommend them to anyone. Vanyel just touches you heart and his story won't let you go. I would post my paperback copies on here as I finally obtained an omnibus hardcover copy but they are well loved and spine creased so bad you can no longer read the title.
I just love this series. I have read these books out of order and then went back and read them all in order. I love the pre-mage/during the war ones as well. Skip these particular books if you are a homo phobe. None of the other books outside of the last herald mage deal in depth with homosexuals. They are usually kept as side characters, if it really bothers you. I was a little shocked when I first read it, but I was like 11 and had read a lot of the other books in her series. I would highly suggest The Oathbound (Vows and Honor). To have such an expansive world to read about truly rocks. I love seeing how their history has progressed and in the earlier books you can see how this world came to be and why there are talking horses.
I don't normally like Mercedes Lackey books. I'm not certain why, but most of her stories leave me cold, and I forget about them shortly after I close the cover of the book. But Magic's Pawn is different.
I truly care about Vanyel Ashkevron, the main character of this series. He is handsome and proud and arrogant and lonely and desperate and scared and insecure, all at once. There are moments in the story when I wish he would be a little less insecure and chin up, but those moments are rare. Mostly, we see Vanyel develop his talents and discover his true identity while identifying with him and cheering him on to each new phase in his development.
The magic/fantasy world of Magic's Pawn is typical Lackey, serviceable but forgettable. The main plotline is likewise not particularly memorable but merely serves to display Vanyel's thoughts and emotions. The main selling point of this series is the complex character interactions and Vanyel is the star. Other characters pale in comparison, especially the seemingly unnecessary Companions.
I will continue to Magic's Promise, the next book in the series, to see if Lackey can keep me interested in Vanyel's future trials and tribulations.
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."
Every time I read this trilogy, it brings me to tears. But in a good way, really. Obviously, I remembered just about everything from the many, many, many times I have read these books before. But they're still very exciting and fun to re-read - like watching a favorite movie until the tape wears out. The romance is fun too. I'm looking forward to finishing this trilogy, because of the fun of reading it. I like it much more than the "The Mage Wars" trilogy... only the Talia books are better, in my opinion... and maybe not even those because I like Savil so much.
The first of a trilogy about one of Valdemar's greatest legends. Vanyel is a lonely and stuck up boy, but slowly opens up to new friends in the captial city. He wishes for nothing more than to be a bard, but is destined for so much more than that. Tragedy repeatedly strikes his life, but Vanyel just grows stronger for it. I feel drawn to him every time I read this series. This is by far my favorite trilogy/book of all time.
Watning: there is homosexuality in this book, so if you don't feel up to reading about that, then you should probably pass this up.
Though Vanyel has been born with near-legendary abilites to worth bother Hearly 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 by to others a well. So he is sent to be fostered with his aunt, Savil, one of the most famed Herald-Mages of Valdemar.
But 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.
This book is an emotional roller coaster in the best possible way. Vanyel, the protagonist in this series, is easily relatable and had me cheering and crying out loud for him. There is a lot of action and drama that keeps the pages turning.
Though Vanyel to most people in his life he is considered strong willed and self centered, Vanyel is just struggling with life and the many difficult facets that falls onto him as the first born heir, as well as nothing he does ever seems right, then throw in there that he is a homosexual and does not know it. Tired of everyone looking down on him, he puts on an act of superiority.
After yet another failure in his fathers eyes he is exiled to Valdemar, in hopes that his Aunt Savil can make a man out of him. But Savil and her fosterling see past his facade and slowly chip away a break down the wall he has erected to keep people out, in order to not be hurt. Through this process Vanyel comes to know about a love so true that it knows no bounds. But poor Vanyel will not get to enjoy this happiness for long, and just like every other joy he has had in his life, it ends in tragedy. For Vanyel lends his raw untapped magic to a spell that unleashes terrifying wyr-hunters on the land, and unknowingly blows all of his potential magic wide open. Unable to deal with losing his love he ties to end his life, and only the love of his Champion, Savil, and his friends save him.
However by the time Savil seeks the assistance of a Shin'a'in Adept, wielders of wild magic, Vanyel's wild talent may have already grown beyond anyone's ability to contain, placing Vanyel, Savil, and Valdemar itself in desperate peril.
This book has good storytelling behind it, but focuses too much on the main character's homosexuality, and how "Normal" it's supposed to be. Oh, please. It isn't presented in an offensive way, but the gay agenda is pushed pretty hard. Too bad, too. Without that "Beat you over the head until you agree with me" aspect, this could have been a good story.