Published by DAW on June 6th 1989
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 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...
After resisting reading these books for over a decade I have finally caved and taken the plunge. My mom has been a Mercedes Lackey fan for something like 25 or 30 years and she’s been trying to get me to read them ever since I started devouring books. So why didn’t I? Mostly the sheer number of books in Lackey’s Valdemar world. There’s just so many! She’s incredibly prolific. But after meeting her at TBF and discovering that she’s a fabulous lady (I dared to call her my spirit author on more than one occasion) I had to cave.
So I began with the first book in the Last Herald Mage Trilogy.
My mom has been saying for years that Mercedes’ books could easily have been YA if YA had been as much of a thing as it is now and I think I really agree. The main character, Vanyel, is around 16 and spends most of the book discovering himself. It really is a coming of age story.
But let me say right here this book is heavy of LGBT themes. If you have a problem with anything to do with same sex relationships you WILL have a problem with this book. And this in the 80’s, before it was talk about much in mainstream fiction. I loved it. It’s so open and encouraging, I just want to give the author a giant hug.
The one downfall of this book is that the MC is really, really whiny. Now I’m not saying he has no reason to be, because he certainly does, but it does start to grate on you. This boy is angst city. I can also say that this is one of the books that will get you so invested in certain characters, even though you know it can’t end well, that you’ll be screaming at it anyway in anger and frustration.
This book is fun. Is it deep and complex? Not really. It’s certainly no Game of Thrones. It’s easy to follow and easy to read and sometimes that’s all want. I can’t wait to continue on with book two. *wanders off to Amazon and orders more Valdemar books*
From my shelf to yours,