Magic's Pawn
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Magic's Pawn (Valdemar: The Last Herald-Mage #1)

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  14,733 ratings  ·  464 reviews
n Magic's Pawn, an ancient age in the history of Valdemar comes to life--an age when the kingdom was ravaged by the ungoverned fury of bandit warlords, ferocious ice dragons, and the wild magic of wizards. A new addition to Lackey's Valdemar kingdom--and her most powerful series to date
eBook, Adobe Digital, 295 pages
Published June 6th 1989 by Daw Books (first published 1989)
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Jan 04, 2012 Luisa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: angsty people
Recommended to Luisa by: Limyaael, psychedeliceyes
Unlike most reviewers, I did not have high hopes for this book. I first heard about it from Limyaael's rant on gay and lesbian characters in fantasy, where it sounded so ridiculous, I had to read it. Honestly, I didn't think the book would be as bad as it was.

Forget the back cover description, because it's a ruse written to skirt around the homosexual themes. Magic's Pawn is about Vanyel, a 16-year-old boy who feels out of place and his journey through angst, angst, a cheesy love affair with an...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Vanyel, only fifteen, is the oldest son and therefore heir to a Holding. His mother is seemingly weak-willed and obsessed with her vapours, while his father is such a Man that he needs must push Vanyel into Manly pursuits as well, which includes letting the incompetent and ignorant Armsmaster beat the crap out of him. Vanyel is more interested in music. He's also self-absorbed, introspective, selfish, arrogant, a bit petulant - in other words, young and spoilt, as well as very handsome. His fath...more
Dec 19, 2007 Emma rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adolescents who think they might be gay or who are put upon
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
By popular demand (ok a friend asked me to "do the one with the blue-eyed telepathic horses and the owls you could ride on"), a review of the Vanyel books. This series, with it's billowing clouds of adolescent angst, gay boys, and yes, blue-eyed telepathic horses, basically got me through my teenage years. I would lock myself in my room and sob. Oh the tragedy! Oh the gayness! Oh the telepathic horses!

Note: I don't think the owls were in this series. Or the magic valleys where there were lizard...more
I feel the need to explain myself. First, I read this when I was fifteen. The rating I gave it is the one I gave it when I first read it. And I admit, I still love it, even though I am a more discerning reader and can tell it's really not as great as I thought it was when I was only a squealy fangirl. End Discaimer.

The main character is Vanyel Ashkevron; he's the eldest son of a minor noble. Vanyel's not like the rest of his brothers or cousins, who take after his father; they're all tall, stron...more
Noah Soudrette
What can I say about this book? I'm torn between being serious here, or funny. How about both?

First, let me warn you: This book is gay. Really, really gay. Gayer than He-man, gay. So, if you can;t handle lots of gay in your books, skip it. I find it a bit refreshing, if not amazingly melodramatic. That's this books big problem. The story is fine and simple, but boy oh boy, it is as melodramatic as it is gay. This book definitely falls under guilty pleasure, and is probably only a few tiers up fr...more
Jul 24, 2007 Wealhtheow rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of histrionic fantasy
Shelves: fantasy
Melodramatic, over-the-top, and as subtle as a brick to the skull, this is nevertheless an engrossing read. Vanyel's journey from a spoiled, effeminent musician-wannabee to a heart-broken, effeminent Herald-Mage is really engaging. Teenagers will especially find themselves drawn to this story. The one truly boring part is Vanyel's time spent healing with the elves (or whatever they're called--they're basically mystical Native Americans with equally mystical white hair and magical birds).
Pat Childs
I picked up this series because I was in the process of writing a fantasy novel with a gay hero and I wanted to see what other works were out there. I had never read Ms. Lackey's work, so I didn't know what to expect. I was not just pleasantly surprised by this trilogy, I was completely captivated by it and very sad when I reached the final page. The plot is interesting and the pace is quick. The characters, especially the hero Vanyel, are extremely sympathetic, primarily due to the fact that th...more
Cat Hellisen
This is the first Mercedes Lackey book I have read.

First of all, this review might have been pushed up a notch if I could have had an ebook version and stripped it of all italics ever. As it was, my eyes were bleeding from being stabbed repeatedly by little slanted daggers. For emphasis.

The story is standard fanfic fare - super emo kid is hated by everyone, is sent off to "become a man" by his evil dad, falls madly in love with the Most! Beautiful! Guy! EVA! after 3 seconds, is bonded for life b...more
Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌

If you're a spoiler tag reader like I am, then I will tell you now that my spoiler isn't going to be a spoiler spoiler. It just very obviously hints at some incredibly frustrating events, which you will stab yourself for if you ruin it for yourself.

(view spoiler)...more
No! That blurb gets the book all wrong. What really happens is Vanyel is a young, somewhat vain, interested in music teenager at odds with his warrior father who sends him off to Savil because he doesn't know what else to do with him to make a REAL MAN of him. Vanyel reluctantly falls in love with a Herald in Training Tylendal who turns out to be his life bond soul mate. Then a tragedy strikes and THAT gives Vanyel his powers.

Dang. Who writes these things? Also Tylendal was a guy because Vanyel...more
Jenni Lea
Jun 10, 2014 Jenni Lea marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition

I could have been reading M/M back in the 80's? Mercedes Lackey was always on the shelves next to Anne McCaffrey in the bookstores and library. I always chose Anne McCaffrey. Not sure why I never read anything of Lackey's. Look what I've been missing!
Gorgeous cover. Reminds me of long forgotten children's books.:)
There's lots of praise and lots of laughing about Mercedes Lackey's books, either of which apply for those of her books I read alike. But still, despite constantly reoccuring elements that would bug me into stopping to read other books altogether, I never can put one of her books down. It's no different with Magic's Pawn, first in the trilogy on Vanyel, a character in the Valdemar universe.

This book has everything. Absolutely too many italics AND BOLD PRINT, angst, more angst, over the top magic...more
Magic’s Pawn is absolutely brilliant! It took me about 100 to 150 pages to finally get into it, (when Vanyel finally meets his aunt Savil and her Herald trainee Tylendel, (too dangerously close to the OTC Tylenol)), but once I did I couldn’t let go. Mercedes Lackey had me smiling as I read, falling in love, crying my eyes out, and joyously cheering Vanyel on. It’s one of the best emotional roller coasters I’ve read.
I’ve only read her work The Obsidian Trilogy, which I loved and there are just a...more
I don't normally like Mercedes Lackey books. I'm not certain why, but most of her stories leave me cold, and I forget about them shortly after I close the cover of the book. But Magic's Pawn is different.

I truly care about Vanyel Ashkevron, the main character of this series. He is handsome and proud and arrogant and lonely and desperate and scared and insecure, all at once. There are moments in the story when I wish he would be a little less insecure and chin up, but those moments are rare. Most...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It was one of the worst books I've ever read. I read it because many people told me it was great, but, really, it was pure masochism. That level of stupid angst is almost unbearable. The worst things happen to the main hero and he's totally emo all the time. Oh, and tries to kill himself all the time. I was hoping for some light reading; instead, I ended up with a book that made me want to bang my head into the nearest wall because of it's sheer stupidity.
Gary Stu does shonen ai. Although this book contains no unicorns, there are still too many unicorns.
Deja Dei
I read these forever ago and they'll always have a special place in my heart.
Zach Sweets
It was truly a great read and I wished I'd find that book many years ago but better late than never :)

It only lose a star bec there are certain parts in book that really drags on too long. It wasn't a quick read for me but I was able to enjoy the book. Also, the characters think too much in the book that bothered me a bit.

There was so much emotion in the book and the deaths shocked me completely while reading the book. I'm looking forward to continue the journey in the second book!

Great recomm...more
Perhaps the most disappointing thing about this book was the back-of-the-book blurb. Because, well, pretty much every word of the blurb is a lie. When you read it, you're filled with a desperate sense of urgency, the sense that at the outset of the book Vanyel is already extremely powerful and dangerous and gets sent to his aunt so that she main contain his power.

Not so. In fact, it is no great spoiler to say that half the book passes with Vanyel being a simple whiny powerless boy, and he is sen...more
***Dave Hill
I read this book (and the full LHM trilogy) many, many years ago, and really remembered it largely as being horribly, tragically, soul-suckingly depressing -- not so much because of Vanyel, but because of the Herald-Magery going away.

On at long-last reading it again, I find myself being depressed more by ... just how godawfully bad this book is. Melodramatic-to-bathetic gay romance doesn't begin to describe it. There's a terrible waste of interesting characters in service to the most emo angsty...more
I liked Vanyel. Goodreads consensus seems to be that he's a whiny little shit, and I'm not saying that's not true, but I liked him for his being a whiny little shit. Once in a while you're allowed to be.

Vanyel has bad luck with pretty much everything. He doesn't like up to his father's inflexible ideas of masculinity, he's being beaten for being effeminate, and no one understands him. Two out of the three are actual legitimate grievances, and if you think this angst is overblown just wait until...more

I just finished this book, and I gotta say that I can really see a high school girl swooning over it. Soooo much angst, sooooo much melodrama, sooooooo much pretty ponies, soooo much....well, adolescentness. I can see it all the way.

OTOH, as an adult, I have to do a lot of head shaking. For some of the very same reasons. The main character, Vanyel, is a self-absorbed self-pitying jerk of a teenager for most of the book. Fortunately, he's SUPPOSED to be a self-absorbed self-pitying jerk of a...more
I feel like I need to explain this one.

Mercedes Lackey was easily my favorite author when I was a kid. I was obsessed. I wrote Heralds of Valdemar fanfiction. I ran Heralds of Valdemar roleplay sites. All I talked about was this series of books.

But for some reason my parents didn't have this book, and I knew from having read the second two in the series that they featured a gay guy with a magic talking horse and oh my God guys, I just can't describe how desperately I needed this book.

So I told...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
When I first started this book I remember thinking 'Seriously? This little prick is the main character?' I almost didn't get past that, then upon finding out how his family treated him I warmed up to him just a little bit. It was when he went to live with his aunt that I really got into it because until then there had really been no 'fantasy'(my favorite genre) to the book. When Van found love I was happy for him because not only was the guy good to him but he finally understood WHY his family t...more
Smothered by his oppressive country family, Vanyel is given a second chance when he's sent to the city to live with his aunt, a Herald instructor. But his maturation begets tragedy, and magic, and perhaps war. Magic's Pawn seems intended to be a powerful emotional journey of love and loss, but Lackey expresses almost no understanding of human emotion. Vanyel lives in emotional extremes, his character growth is delineated and repetitive, and most of all his experience and reactions are both so tr...more
Don't get me wrong, this isn't a stunningly well-written trilogy but I have always enjoyed it- I guess for its tragic story-arc.

This is one of Mercedes Lackey's series set in Valdemar, a world with Companions (intelligent horses), magic, bards, bond-birds, and of course various and sundry foes. This, however, is by far my favorite of any of the Valdemar series.

Vanyel, while initially a difficult to stomach troubled youth, turns out to be quite the tragic hero. He's somewhat of a failed-bard-turn...more
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Companions 7 27 Aug 05, 2013 11:32AM  
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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 &...more
More about Mercedes Lackey...
Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar, #1) By the Sword (Valdemar: Kerowyn's Tale, #1) Magic's Price (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #3) Magic's Promise (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #2) Arrow's Fall (Heralds of Valdemar, #3)

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“The great love is gone. There are still little loves - friend to friend, brother to sister, student to teacher. Will you deny yourself comfort at the hearthfire of a cottage because you may no longer sit by the fireplace of a palace? Will you deny yourself to those who reach out to you in hopes of warming themselves at your hearthfire?” 115 likes
“Van, Van, we’re only simple, fallible mortals - we aren’t saints, we aren’t angels - we fall on our faces and make errors and sometimes people die of them - sometimes people we love dearly -” 3 likes
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