Today, I wanted to give you a review of one of my all time favorite fantasy books, Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey.
Summary: The story follow the main character Vanyel as he is transposed from his unhappy life on a country holding to the wild world of the capitol in Lackey’s rich world of Valdemar. While Vanyel dreams of becoming a world famous Bard, he discovers he lacks the necessary Gift to make it. As he spirals into a deep depression, new feelings grow for his roommate Tylendal, a romance that is strictly forbidden by his father. After Tylendal’s twin is murdered, Vanyel helps his lover do whatever he has to for revenge against those who murder his brother.
While I will be the first to admit that there are some issues with the story, mostly the fact the main character might be hard to like due to the fact he is angst-ridden, I still loved it. Typically, I am not one for romance, but I really liked the bond between Tylendal and Vanyel in this story. While the bond between them causes Vanyel to commit some fairly stupid things in the name of love, it is believable he would do anything to support his lover. However, I will note if you are not comfortable with gay romances, this is probably not the book for you as a lot of the themes in the novel have to do with acceptance of homosexual couples.
The novel does commit the crime of head-hopping. There are several points of view in the book and the narration often hops from one perspective to another. This can become sort of confusing at times since there are not many clues as to who’s head we are actually in. This is a trait I’ve noticed a lot in fantasy from the 80’s and 90’s, but I think that this novel as well as others set in the world of Valdemar definitely do it the worse.
Overall, the novel may appear to have more bad things about it than good things, so why is it one of my favorite fantasy books? The first fantasy novel I ever read was set in the world of Valdemar, hundreds of years in the future from Vanyel’s story, and often referenced to Vanyel as a hero. The really neat thing Mercedes Lackey has done with her books is connected all the major points in the world of Valdemar together and created a believable and intriguing history. Having the opportunity to explore the past so many people reference in the future is a unique and exciting thing for me. Also, I loved the main character Vanyel. Many reviews claim he is overdramatic and too angsty. This is probably true. However, the first time I read this I was Vanyel’s age and I thought his reactions were completely understandable and justified. It will always be one of my favorite fantasy stories and definitely one of the stories I read that made me want to write fantasy, no matter the criticism.
Goodreads Rating of Magic’s Pawn: 4 stars
Personal Rating of Magic’s Pawn: 4.5 stars
So now I am curious, is there a story you absolutely love that no one else seems to?