Thursday, August 19, 2010
Magic's Pawn by Mercedes Lackey
Magic's Pawn is the first book in The Last Herald Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey, and it's one of the books that made me fall in love with Fantasy in general. This will be a rambling review, so please forgive me, I'm having a hard time trying to figure out what to tell you so you will read it, but not too much where you feel you don't need to.
I guess you could call Magic's Pawn the "discovery" phase of the story. We are introduced to Vanyel Ashkevron, a spoiled brat of a teenager who has been emotionally hurt so much by parents that don't have time for him, that he's continually turning inward and shutting everyone else off. When his father finally gets sick of him, he ships him off to the capital of Valdemar, Haven, to be fostered with Savil Ashkevron, Vanyel's Aunt, and one of the most powerful Herald Mages alive.
At first no one is able to figure out what to do with Vanyel, they aren't sure if he is really as snobby and bratty as he appears or if he is slowly dying inside because all he wanted to do was be a Bard and he had that dream shot down pretty quickly after arriving. When forces dictate that Vanyel comes out of his shell, Tylendel is there to help him.
Tylendel is the openly gay, Herald Mage trainee and one of Savil's favorite protegees. It's Tylendel that gets Van to open up and start dealing with all the pain that has been eating him upside. Reading how their relationship grows and develops is a joy to read and one of my favorite things about this book. They make such an amazing couple that it's hard sometime to remember that they aren't real, that they only exist on paper and in the mind. As a older gay teen reading this book, it helped me deal with my own issues and I'm grateful for that. Now that I'm done injecting myself into this, let me move on.
When heartbreaking tragedy strikes (which makes me tear up every time) Van is forced to into his latent Mage and Heraldic powers that no one knew existed. He is chosen by Yfandes, the oldest unbound Companion in the kingdom (she is on the cover with Van), and he is quickly thrust into a situation where he is not only having to heal body and soul but to figure out his own powers. More importantly, he needs needs to realize why he should use them. That self doubt is quickly tested after Savil takes him to a strange land to even stranger people to be healed and taught.
This is a wonderful beginning to a fantastic trilogy that explores one young man's journey through discovering who he is as a man. The fact that the journey brings him a "life bonded" love and unbearable pain, which the author is able to take you into as if you where feelings the same emotions, makes the journey all the more special. Van goes on a journey of self awareness and growth afterwards that you are left in awe at the strength that resides in him. I'm not sure I could have accepted and dealt with what he is forced to do so at that age. For that matter, I'm not sure I could do it now.
What I do now is that I'm unable to fully articulate how wonderful this book is and why I feel everyone should read it, but I hope that I'm able to at least pique the interest of one person who has never read them to give it a try.
This will qualify for the GLBT Reading Challege 2010.