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Winds of Fate (Valdemar: Mage Winds #1)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  13,551 Ratings  ·  179 Reviews
High Magic had been lost to Valdemar centuries ago when the last Herald-Mage gave his life to save the kingdom from destruction by dark sorceries. Yet now the realm is at risk again. And Elspeth, Herald and heir to the throne, must take up the challenge, abandoning her home to find a mentor who can awaken her untrained mage abilities.

But others, too, are being caught up i
Hardcover, 460 pages
Published July 1st 1992 by Turtleback Books
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Let it be known: Before I was an elitist literary bitch, I utterly adored fantasy books. Mercedes Lackey was the greatest thing in my entire eleven-year-old life.

This is it. The book that started it all. The beginning of my Mercedes Lackey habit and my Fantasy journey.

For me, Everything Valdemar begins with Elspeth. From my review of By the Sword :

I first met Mercedes Lackey while browsing the stacks at the public library in my home town. I don't remember what grade I was in but I was somewhere in the area that covers both Middle and High school. Regardless, before Mercedes Lackey, I'd mostly read a lot of Scie
Oct 13, 2014 Sophie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sophie by: Kathleen
I have mixed feelings about this book. I like Darkwind and Elspeth a lot, and I like the overall storyline about Elspeth bringing magic (and the knowledge of the Tayledras) back to Valdemar. I liked the whole thing with the ruined Heartstone and Darkwind's struggles with his father. All of this was good.

But I don't like how casually Lackey uses rape to get her point across. (Yes, we get it, Falconsbane is evil. Really, really evil.) I also don't like how easily rape victims in her books recover
Lisa (Harmonybites)
If you're new to Lackey and the Valdemir series, I wouldn't begin with this book: I don't think the book, or the trilogy it is a part of, is the strongest in this series, and it would be a spoiler for the earlier trilogy that starts with Arrows of the Queen. Go back and read those first, and if you like them, I think you'll enjoy this tale of Elspeth, a character in earlier books, coming into her own. I enjoy Lackey's "Vows and Honors" series as well with Tarma and Kethry, and in the precursor t ...more
Mar 14, 2017 Kirsti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, that took me forever to read. There was absolutely nothing wrong with this book, I simply didn't have time to read this week, and when I did, my back ached so much I had no desire to read. Bloody work and it's eating into my time to read! :/

Anywho, I quite enjoyed this tale, although it definitely has the old school feel of Valdemar before things were truly established. I enjoyed seeing Elspeth and Darkwind finally meet, and getting more backstory for the books I've read recently. I love t
Elspeth--the legendary Brat from the Heralds of Valdemar--goes traveling with Skif to find someone to teach the Heralds magic. Skif gets a character rewrite as a chauvinist to allow Lackey to preach, which I don't like because he was such an awesome boy when he and Talia were not!dating. Elspeth is ranty and not very sympathetic. I do like Darkwind, the Griffins, and the Tayledras culture--it is a nice break from typical fantasy fare.
May 05, 2015 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Out of all of the Valdemar books, the Mage Winds trilogy - of which this is the first volume - is my most favorite.

The book takes place in the reign of Selenay, where war with a formerly friendly nation is taking its toll. Herald Elspeth, heir to the throne, rides off with her companion at her side to find the training key to winning the war. For those wondering precisely when in the chronology it falls, the book takes up after the end of the Arrows trilogy, which is linked to this one by the st
Sharon Hughson
This book earns 3.2 out of five stars. This author was recommended to me since I love to read fantasy, but if this book is a fair representation of her stories, I don't know if I'll be seeking another of her titles in the immediate future.
The beginning really dragged with two characters narrating the story who had no apparent connection. In fact, the first 1/4 of the book felt like backstory and setup. I was more than halfway through before I finally was sold on the story (I skimmed much of the
I think Mercedes Lackey was at an awkward point when she wrote this trilogy, because this (and the stand-alone novel By The Sword) is where she merged a variety of her fantasy settings together, and the result is a bit clunky.

Pluses: the Companions, the BondBirds, and other animals. Lackey obviously loves animals a lot and it comes through in her writing. Her worldbuilding skills are excellent. Her narrative skills are not, but again, she set herself a hard task by trying to merge divergent sto
Aug 23, 2007 Leila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to wrap this series up
I was a bit of a Mercedes Lackey fanatic back in the day. I still re-read them from time to time just because I really like the characters. This particular trilogy in Valdemar is my favorite for that very reason. Having read 20 other books all with their own separate plots and characters and legends, its fantastic to see them all come crashing together in this one. Before you read it, make sure you've read the black griffon trilogy, which is actually kind of crappy and I blame it on her husband ...more
Nov 01, 2011 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the first book of Elspeth’s story—she’s the daughter of the queen Talia serves, who was the “brat” in Talia’s stories. Elspeth heads off to see whether she has any mage talent and learn how to be a Herald Mage (since she’s already a mage) in company of a Herald friend. And there’s a Tayledras mage, Darkwind, who won’t use his power anymore because he believes he did something wrong. And there’s a gryphon family who are his friends. And—well, there’s just lots going on. Elspeth doesn’t li ...more
Feb 11, 2009 Tarren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I read. It was the launching pad of my love for reading. It is a good book very well writin, good plot, with just a hint of sexual tone to make the teen i was stay on it.
Aaron Anderson
I wish you died somewhere in these books Elspeth. I hate you. I don't think the books themselves sucked quite enough to give a 2, but it wasn't from lack of your trying, you wench.
Mar 01, 2013 Lena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-read. And, okay, they aren't great literature, but they're awesome for when your brain is mushy. I just wish Lackey's idea of a Sexy Man didn't look quite so... 1980s.
Nov 03, 2016 Aelfwina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
Elspeth is a brat (of the 13 year-old girl variety). Constant jumping back and forth is mildly annoying. Constant retelling of the same episode from multiple viewpoints is even more annoying. Only reason I'm reading this is because I read some of the other books a long time ago and got curious to finally find out how it all ends.
Donna Hutt Stapfer Bell
The richest of the Valdemar books

Where most of the world building threads come together, is where you find these books. The trilogy of Elspeth Herald-Mage, starting from the court in Havens to a Vale under attack from a threat out of their long-ago history, travels at a good pace, neither too much or too little in this first book. Read all the books but these are where the threads become cloth.
Luke N.
Nov 30, 2015 Luke N. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The novel Winds of Fate is a wonderful book written by Mercedes Lackey. It has a lot of plot twists, interesting action, suspense and conflict. Sometimes the conflict was between the good people and sometimes it was your ordinary conflict, antagonist or protagonist. Based on all of this I would give this book a 10 out of 10. I would suggest this book to anyone that likes battle and magic in the same book
This book is about a world where magic is everywhere. The kingdom of Valdemar which has no m
Mar 19, 2013 CatBookMom rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pretty much no one.

I posted these comments at Audible, and I've duplicated them here, because I spent a lot of time thinking about this narration and this review, and I don't know that I can do it justice in two versions.

I have been hoping for an audiobook version of this series for years. Now that one has been released, I'm so disappointed.

Karen White has a lot of books listed at Audible, but many aren't well-known, at least not to me. She narrated The Hemingses of Monticello, but those reviews reflect comments
Gnome Claire *Wishes she was as cool as Gnome Ann*
This felt a bit slow going, it was so long before the characters even met and I really felt like it could have been condensed a bit. We lived through week of Darksong's life which seemed to be mostly wondering around with a few political things brewing but not much actually happened.

I also found the characters quite frustrating. Elspeth made a huge decision in the most arbitrary manner, just because you're being manipulated into something doesn't make it a terrible idea, I just wanted to shout a
May 14, 2016 Elaine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: valdemar-books
I’ll be honest – I dislike this trilogy enough and I read it so long ago that I cannot review the books individually. If I ever have the courage and desire to attempt a reread (I doubt I will), I might be able to review each book. For now, all I’m able to do is give my general thoughts on the series as a whole.

The premise of this trilogy sounded good. Valdemar is still fighting the war that began in Arrow’s Fall. There are powerful mages fighting on the enemy side, and Valdemar does not have any
Rachel Parham
Awww… returning to Valdemar. Returning to telepathic warriors, talking white horses, magicians, mind-magic, and powerful energies flowing through an intricate web that some can touch and control. Yes, returning to Mercedes Lackey’s incredible universe is a lot like coming home.

Following right on the heels of the Queen’s Own trilogy, Winds of Fate kicks off the story of Elspeth, heir to the throne of Valdemar and a skilled Herald fighting on the front lines of the war started against Hardorn at t
Amy Aelleah
Mar 21, 2013 Amy Aelleah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: romance/fantasy fans
This was not my first book by Ms. Lackey.

Before this book, I read the Mage Storm trilogy (which I loved with a vengeance) as well as the Phoenix Unchained (which I tolerated with a slight bit of enjoyment). I figured that because this book started the trilogy before Mage Storm, that it would be nearly as good. It wasn't.

If you want a fantasy/romance novel (strong emphasis on ROMANCE!) this might be the one for you. Although I believe you could find books in that sub-genre that had a good deal o
Dawn Livingston
Jun 03, 2014 Dawn Livingston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was a teen I read most of what I consider the big three women fantasy writers; Marion Zimmer Bradley (Darkover), Mercedes Lackey (Valdemar) and Anne McCaffrey (Dragonriders). I think I have read at least some of their books since and liked them still.

Recently I decided to revisit the big three to see if I still liked them. I tried an anthology collection of Darkover tales from Bradley. Nah, don't like Darkover much any more. Maybe TOO feminist...? I'm not sure.

Dragonriders... to be hones
Jun 09, 2010 Bibliotropic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: valdemar
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol Gibson
Here we go again with my love hate relationship with Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series.

This continues the story of the heralds in Talia's time. This book tells the story of Princess Elspeth and Skif search for a mage who can help Valdemar with its magic problem.

It fills in nicely some of the mysteries of the world like where the sword Need came from, what is going on with the barrier that Vanyal put up to keep magic out of Valdemar, you even learn a little more about the companions themselves.
Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series provides one of the cornerstones of my reading history. After discovering her when quite young, I still follow new additions to the series - nearly twenty years later! I read and re-read these books over and over again throughout my youth, but I haven't re-read this series in its entirety in a long time - and never as an adult. There are some new books added to the series since the last time I read them, so this re-reading project is pretty exciting for me since ...more
Nicole N.
Apr 08, 2015 Nicole N. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I was not overly impressed with this book. I do, however, like Elspeth and her...spunk, for lack of a better word. Lackey brings back characters from other previous novels which I have read and enjoyed so it was nice to go into the novel with some familiarity. It is fun to see the change in Elspeth, especially after first reading "Arrows of the Queen" many months ago, a series that introduced us to Talia and the very young Elspeth.

[Possible spoilers. Read at your own risk.]

With King Ancar loomin
Mar 16, 2013 Mynameisntcollins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Elspeth's story, and Lackey does not disappoint. We had seen her from a distance in the Arrows trilogy, and she was just barely growing into her own as a woman, not to mention Heir to the throne. We knew that she was a brat when she was younger, and when Talia arrived, she managed to reform into a somewhat shy creature but a capable one. Now she's a young woman, and a full Herald. And we finally get to be inside her head. Now, maybe I was distracted by Talia's story in the Arrows trilogy ...more
Jun 23, 2010 Brittany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I can't think why I put off reading these books for so long. Possibly because of the embarrassing over-the-top fantasy covers. Possibly because they aren't actually really "meaty" books. However they are perfect for some solid, fun, summer fantasy escapism. Also, as a bonus, when you're sitting on your beach with your sister, who is complaining because her book (about divorce, children, nurses, newborns with devastating diseases) is bumming her out, you can look at her smugly and say, "My book h ...more
Jun 27, 2013 Mallori rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Finishing Talia's Heralds of Valdemar series, I was excited to pick up Elspeth's story. Ancar had been set up as the big bad menacing Valdemar's borders and Elspeth was a redeemed flawed character I was invested in.

While the overarching story in Winds of Fate was interesting, I have to say, this novel was 200 pages longer than it needed to be, and those 200 were all in the first half. (You will notice these books are significantly longer than the books in Talia's series, and from what I read th
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Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts &am ...more
More about Mercedes Lackey...

Other Books in the Series

Valdemar: Mage Winds (3 books)
  • Winds of Change (Valdemar: Mage Winds, #2)
  • Winds of Fury (Valdemar: Mage Winds #3)

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