Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Magic's Promise (The Last Herald-Mage #2)” as Want to Read:
Magic's Promise (The Last Herald-Mage #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Magic's Promise

(Valdemar: The Last Herald-Mage #2)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  19,109 ratings  ·  320 reviews
The wild magic is taking its toll on the land, and even Vanyel, the most powerful Herald-Mage to ever walk the world, is almost at the end of his strength. But when his Companion, Yfandes, receives a call for help from neighboring Lineas, both Herald-Mage and Companion are drawn into a holocaust of dark magic that could be the end of them both.
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 2nd 1990 by DAW Books (first published 1990)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Magic's Promise, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,109 ratings  ·  320 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Magic's Promise (The Last Herald-Mage #2)
Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~
I don't know what just happened, and I'm almost afraid to examine it too closely in case I find things to nitpick (and I certainly could nitpick) and end up lowering my rating.

This hasn't been a very good year for me, rating wise, and I was pretty close to giving up on Lackey altogether. I was really tempted to just finish up this trilogy and move on. And for all I know, it goes downhill from here (I know how the next book ends) and this book is a complete fluke. After the dregs of the Vows & Ho
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Sep 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, fantasy
Herald-Mage Vanyel has spent long years defending Valdemar against wild magic at its borders, and has seen many of his friends and fellow mages die in the fierce demonic battles. Returning from one such bitter victory, Vanyel is exhausted, haggard, lonely and heartsick. By king Randal's order he takes time off to rest and recuperate, all the while knowing the safety of Valdemar rests on his shoulders - for who else could do his job? There is no one else.

Reluctantly returning to his family's esta
How wonderful to have a more mature and thoughtful Vanyel to narrate the second volume of this series. Not there is no angst, but it is dealt with in a much more adult way.

A depleted & exhausted Vanyel returns from the battle front, only to discover that his family insist on his presence at home—not the most restful place for the young man. His father is having difficulty accepting Vanyel’s sexual orientation and his mother frankly refuses to believe him, proceeding to push any and every attrac
Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt, nostalgia-books
(Spoilers for Magic's Pawn, discussion of child sexual abuse.)

Ugh, guys, this book had such a good chance of being - maybe not brilliant, but the kind of decent, entertaining medieval fantasy that got me into Mercedes Lackey's books eleven years ago. Rereading Magic's Promise for probably only the fifth or sixth time, I was completely invested in the characters, interested in the plot, embarrassed to be seen with that cover... and also I kept having to cover my face and hide. Because this is pos
Final Rating: 4/5

Then I sang you a love song. The first one I ever sang for you. It was the first time I’d ever sung one with my heart in it.

Well, while the second book is definitely not on the murder spree of my emotions (thankfully) like the first one was, it took on an actual murder spree mystery with around 50 dead - a royal family massacred, with a disinherited prince left the only one alive, second royal family, a very greedy uncle, a family reunion long incoming, vacations and
D Dyer
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.
Reviewed after re-reading.
The character growth definitely continues in this book and this trilogy’s second volume feels very congruent with its first. Vanyel has grown into his power just in time to aid in the defense of Valdemar as peace retreats. But after years of aiding in this defense he is exhausted both magically physically and emotionally and heads for a long visit with his family and a chance to rest. But this forces him to deal not only with his continuing ambivalence about h
Magic's Promise is definitely the weakest of the Last Herald-Mage Trilogy. I think that's because it is primarily a book tying up the loose ends of book one (such as Jervis and Father Leren) while setting up book three (establishing why Vanyel becomes distant from almost everyone, the growing chasm between "ordinary" Heralds and Herald-Mages).

There are some incredibly well-done moments--this is still a strong Lackey book (and head and shoulders above the current disasters set in this world). In
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Easily the best book of the trilogy; the relationships here felt the most genuine, the plot unfurled organically rather than being tacked on in the last thirty pages, and sometimes it's nice to read about a main character who's just really awesome at a lot of things. Many of the problems I had with the first book where also present in Magic's Promise, but my least favorite elements of the first book (the romance, the Hawkbrothers, and the "Powerful Enemy From Out Of Nowhere") were not present in ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Re-read 2018
I'm dipping into some of my favorite books to take a break from my more serious reading for college classes. Vanyel and his lousy luck are one of my favorite things to read about. It makes things I'm going through seem not as bad.

Re-read 2017

I love Van and the journey he takes to adulthood and being one of the main Heralds in Valdemar. I do feel bad for everything he has to go through to try to save his country.
Mar 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I was actually a little apprehensive to read this (particularly since I borrowed the Polish translation from the library) for how dated it would possibly feel.

The first volume definitely felt like a book that can only be fully appreciated by a teen, or someone well in touch with their inner teen. It was so angsty and emo, each feeling of the protagonist turned up to twenty, little filter. I mostly expected more of the same - but this volume is, as far as I can tell, having read volume 1 a coupl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
SHRUGS i mean??? its not BAD i guess????

ok but like, to be honest, there´s one thing really bothering me about this book tho? like i mentioned before, other sexualities than straight and gay don´t exist in this book apparently? its so black and white tbh? PLUS what REALLY BOTHERED ME is that they made up this whole weird ass term for being gay, like, just litterally translating the word gay to this nonsense fantasy world term i cant even remember because its such a long and obnoxious word and tb
Arshad Ahsanuddin
The second volume of a trilogy always has big shoes to fill, to maintain the energy of the first book, keep the momentum of the story rolling into the third book, and yet leave the reader satisfied that the second is a complete story rather than just a lead-in to the third.

This book picks up 12 years after the first book, when Herald-Mage Vaneyl grown into his potential, but remains heartsore over his lost lover, exhausted by his own deeds in defense of his country, and emotionally wrung out ove
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-read-of-2012
This is what magick is supposed to be all about. Saving the world. Things that explode without reason. People who finally realize their full potential. Youngsters who grow up to be valiant adults, and get their due kudos from those who used to scorn them. The revenge for having been treated poorly? To live fully and be good and happy.

I adore the language in this book, it is so uplifting, even in the parts where everything goes to hell with a bang. And the humor is outstanding, listen to this, s
Melanie Page
May 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
While second-book slump is a flaw of most trilogies, Mercedes Lackey kicks it in high gear with Magic’s Promise and delivers a highly-engaging, action-filled fantasy mystery.

Twelve years have passed since our little brooding peacock Vanyel was Chosen by Yfandes and healed by the Tayledras. He’s spent years on the battlefield by the Karse border, nearly meeting death more times than his friends are comfortable with. However, Vanyel is still heartsick over the death of Tylendel, his lifebond. He’s
Stephen Poltz
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Magic’s Promise is the second installment in the Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage trilogy. It picks up over a decade after the first book. Vanyel visits his family after four years away and confronts many of his own demons as well as real demons in this highly enjoyable follow-up. In the first half of the book, there is really no action, only the encounters with his family and the household employees. Yet Mercedes Lackey writes it really well, with all the immediacy and pacing of a well-crafted advent ...more
Chance Lee
After 100 pages, nothing in the plot summary on the back of the book had happened, and, because this book lacked the angst and strong emotions of the first, my patience wore thin with the story's rambling nature. By the third time the same conversation was had about a horse, I started skimming until the end. I initially found it interesting how Vanyel's main internal conflict in this volume was his fame, not his sexuality. And his visit home making him, an all powerful wizard, feel like a child ...more
Oct 04, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars? This was fun and I liked Vanyel much better as an adult in this book than as an adolescent in the previous one. Felt that there was a long build up for an ending that was a little slapdash, but I still enjoyed reading it and am going to read the third. I dunno. Sometimes it’s just so refreshing to read a fantasy novel with a queer MC that I have a hard time deciding whether I liked it for that or for the rest of the story itself. It just feels good to live inside a queer narrative for ...more
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I will be giving you a brief overview of the second book in The Last Herald Mage trilogy, Magic's Promise by Mercedes Lackey. In most trilogies the middle book is normally the filler that sits in between the introduction of the first and the climax of the third. It's generally more of a transitional book than anything else. In Magic's Promise, while Mercedes Lackey may do a little of that, the story is more about building an image in our minds of who Vanyel Ashkevron has become.

The story takes p
Mar 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
This one was probably the weakest of the entire trilogy; it's set twelve years after Pawn. Since the end of book one, Valdemar has become involved in a war with Karse, it's Southern-most neighbor. We never get told why, who started it, or anything else. It's just a fact that there's a war going on, and Vanyel is a key part in it. His powers make him an invaluable tool, and he gets used almost to his breaking point until he finally is given leave.

Vanyel decides to go visit his family instead of
Mar 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Full review here:

While I still have issues with Vanyel's portrayal in this particular volume, age and experience suggest it's much more realistic of grief than I'd care to admit.
Kat  Hooper
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
2.5 Originally posted at FanLit.

Magic’s Promise is the second book in Mercedes Lackey’s THE LAST HERALD MAGE trilogy. This review is likely to spoil some of the first book’s plot, so be warned.

It’s been several years since the horrid events that took place at the end of the Magic’s Pawn. Vanyel is now the most powerful Herald-Mage on the planet and he’s been traveling all around the realm helping to fight a war with one of Valdemar’s neighbors. He’s exhausted and his body is scarred, but his rep
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm always a bit suspicious of sequels, especially the second book in a trilogy. It's rare that it will be as strong as the first, or it serves as filler between the two important books. Mercedes Lackey is a talented enough author that this wasn't the case, managing to write something that I loved just as much as the first, and I can only imagine the third will be the same.

There is quite a time jump between this and the first, Vanyel is no longer a teenager; he's a full grown adult, grown in to
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was jarred from the beginning when I surprisingly realized that this book takes place 10 years after Magic’s Pawn. So as I’m reading along and trying to get into it, in the back of my mind I’m hungry for the Valdemar short stories that will fill in this time gap. I assume what I miss is how Vanyel learns to control his awesome ability and how he deals with his loneliness.
In Magic’s Promise Vanyel discovers that his friends, family, and the population are not leery of him because of his sexua
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It may interest those who have read this book to know that Mercedes Lackey also put out a cassette/CD based in the Last Herald Mage trilogy. You can sample some of the songs on YouTube, although the only place to buy it is from the Firebird Arts and Music website. The songs below are all from "Shadow Stalker" (as far I know).

Magic's Price

Shadow Stalker

The Shadow Lover


Windrider Unchained

My Lady’s Eyes


Web of Light

The Colddrake

Vrondi’s Eyes

Earth Spirit

Hawk Brother

The Herald’s Cr
Sep 28, 2010 rated it liked it
The fabulous Herald-Mage Vanyel Ashkevron decides to take a vacation after pretty single-handedly defeating Karse in a border war. This and other magical displays have grown Vanyel from the hurting, uncertain sixteen year-old from Magic's Pawn to the twenty-eight year-old hero of all Valdemar. To take the break that the living-legend of song and story deserves, Vanyel goes back to the Ashkevron home and all the people who gave him so much trouble in the first place.

There is a very interesting e
Jun 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgtb-protag
These books are so heavily character driven. The plot can be summed up so easily in a few sentences but the actual story is about Vanyel and his internal turmoil.

In fact a HUGE portion of this book is just Vanyel questioning everything: himself, his abilities, his weariness, his comrades, his friends, his enemies. Everything.

So I don't know why I don't get tired of it. I actually liked it despite it being annoying in some aspects. For example, just like the first book, half of it is almost solel
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: epic-fantasy
A fun, powerful fantasy epic of overpowered superheroes bashing away at villainous villains. Everyone assumes Vanyel is a pedophile because he is gay, but he has no pedophilic tendencies, because that is evil. Although later it is at least implied that he only wants sex with equals... with friends... which is a bit more positive.

But given all the changes in characters from Magic's Pawn to this book, I'm not sure it is the same world. Vanyel seems to have different powers and talents and seems co
Sian Jones
The rating reflects my re-reading of this series. When I first read it, as a teenager, it would have given every star I could have assigned it. (For more on that evolution, see my review of the first book, Magic's Pawn.) One of the things this series does well is manage time -- this novel picks up years after the first in the series, and it does so with purpose. I've been reading another series where it feels like very single day of the saga is described, and it was a relief to have the author m ...more
Apr 19, 2014 rated it liked it
ahhhh... chercherz shay'a'chern. It's book two, and without giving away spoilers...Vanyel goes home to deal with his past, mainly his father, an abusive weaponsmaster, Jervis, a lady seeking his favors, and his mother. Can he accept who he is, let others know, and receive their acceptance?
After dealing with that funky business, it's back to work (he's a mage now) and back to keeping people at a distance. Why? Because he fears his enemies will try and get to him through his friends.
He is pursued,
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Traitor's Moon (Nightrunner, #3)
  • Shadows Return (Nightrunner, #4)
  • Stalking Darkness (Nightrunner, #2)
  • Casket of Souls (Nightrunner, #6)
  • The White Road (Nightrunner, #5)
  • The King's Dragon (Fire and Valor #1)
  • Luck in the Shadows (Nightrunner, #1)
  • Shards of Time (Nightrunner, #7)
  • Lord of the White Hell, Book 2 (Lord of the White Hell, #2)
  • The Hanged Man (The Tarot Sequence, #2)
  • Greenwode (The Wode, #1)
  • Lord of the White Hell, Book 1 (Lord of the White Hell, #1)
  • The Sunken Mall (The Tarot Sequence, #1.5)
  • Sorcerous Rivalry (The Mage-Born Chronicles, #1)
  • The Last Sun (The Tarot Sequence, #1)
  • The Mirador (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #3)
  • Glimpses: A Collection of Nightrunner Short Stories
  • Hella
See similar books…
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 & M ...more

Other books in the series

Valdemar: The Last Herald-Mage (3 books)
  • Magic's Pawn (The Last Herald-Mage #1)
  • Magic's Price (The Last Herald-Mage #3)

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
24 likes · 1 comments
“The gods gave you a brain, boy,' he'd say. 'If you want to honor them, use it.” 8 likes
“He studied a roll, weighing it in his hand. It seemed awfully heavy. As good as the food had been so far, it didn't seem likely that it was underbaked, but he was not in the mood to choke down raw dough. He nibbled it dubiously, then bit into it with a great deal more enthusiasm when it proved to have sausage baked into the middle of it.” 0 likes
More quotes…