This is book 2 in Mercedes Lackey's "The Last Herald-Mage" series. The first book, Magic's Pawn, introduced us to Vanyel Ashkevron, a complex and alienated youth just coming into his Herald-Mage powers. In that book, he met and lost his life partner, Tylendel.
This book opens twelve years later, and Vanyel is now a very powerful and respected Herald-Mage. He is still alienated, he's a loner and most fear him since his power is so far beyond others like him. He is still grieving for Tylendel, unable to open himself up to try to find a new love in his life.
This book was even better than the first in the series. This volume has a much more developed plotline. The story finally matters - this time the story has a hint of a mystery to solve in it, and explores much more of the background of the land and peoples of Valdemar. But Lackey doesn't neglect the characters that made the first book so involving. Vanyel remains an interesting hero, even though he is exhausted and despairingly lonely throughout most of the story. (An encounter with Death near the end of the book is particularly evocative, enlightening Vanyel's mindstate.)
I'm moving on to the third and last book in the series next. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a good outcome for Vanyel (although I'm dubious, since the next book is entitled "Magic's Price" and the name of the series is "The LAST Herald Mage" (my emphasis). I guess I'll have to read it to find out!
This is probably my least favorite of this trilogy, but despite that, it is still quite good... it's just the saddest one because Vanyel is so lonely. Well, actually, I know that the next one is the saddest, but I think it's also my favorite... it is so very good... Still, I am glad that I am re-reading these books... they are so good!
This one was much better than the first book, and I hope the third is even better than this one.
I loved every book in this series. I read all three one after the other. The story is great, and I won't ruin it by saying anything more in the review. Just read it!
Book 2 of the Last Herald-Mage Series
Part of the Valdemar series, Herald-Mage Vanyel searches for the source of the wild magic ravaging the land.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
The wild magic is taking its toll on the land, and even Vanyel, the most powerful Herald-Mage to ever walk the world, is almost at the end of his strength. But when his Companion, Yfandes, receives a call for help from neighboring Lineas, both Herald-Mage and Companion are drawn into a holocaust of dark magic that could be the end of them both.