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(Valdemar: Owl Mage Trilogy #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  9,821 ratings  ·  192 reviews
Once the tiny village of Errold's Grove, located on the border of Valdemar at the edge of the vast Pelagiris Forest, had been a prosperous community, trading the unique plants and fungi which grew in the dense forest for use in dying textiles. But that was before the mage-storms came. The mage-storms had devastated the forest, transforming many of its creatures into hideou ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by DAW Hardcover (first published 1997)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,821 ratings  ·  192 reviews

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Jen A.
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, 2011
A long-time Mercedes Lackey fan, I have enthusiastically read everything she's ever published that takes place in Valdemar. Usually, I will read the trilogies as a set, but I did not ever make it a goal to read them in chronological order according to Valdemar's timeline. While I love stories of Companions and Heralds, the "Owl" trilogy that focuses on the Tayledras, or Hawkbrothers, really captured my attention and imagination.

I remember being drawn to the essence of community and whole-minded
Michael Sahd
Mercedes Lackey has a TON of books that take place in Valdemar. I started reading her work because of The Black Gryphon. Skandranon Rashkae was such a novel character, and I couldn't get enough. I finished that series, then read every single book in the timeline up to Owlflight.

By then, I had had enough. Resigning myself to the fact that I would never see another Gryphon protagonist, I put Mercedes Lackey down partway through this book. I'm sure it's a fine read, but it's candy. It's the Twizzl
Barbara ★
Mercedes Lackey is rather hit or miss with me. This one's a hit. Though it does have a rather slow start. It isn't until Darian leaves his village that the action starts and Owlflight becomes unputdownable. I ended up really liking this and will continue the series.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lackey's novels are, to me, the reading equivalent of a delicious snack. They're easy to read, they have some fun characters, and there's magic, talking (sort of) horses, adventures, heroes, and trained birds. An additional nice thing about these books was that they were among the first that introduced me to relationships other than just straight m/f. I take them out regularly for re-reads.

The Owl Mage trilogy is interesting because it steps outside Valdemar, although I think it's one of the les
Olga Godim
3.5 stars
Not a bad novel, but not the best. Too much of inner monologues, with lots of telling of the backstory. Not enough action. But when there finally was some action, it was an engrossing read. And of course, I love the Tayledras. They are my favorites of all the nations in the Valdemar series, and this book is more about them than about the Heralds, which was a definite plus.
This is really a review for the trilogy as a whole.
I'm a big fan of Mercedes Lackey and her Valdemar series is one of my favorite fantasy series.
I read the Owl Mage Trilogy directly after the Mage Storms Trilogy, and unfortunately after the action packed epic of that trilogy the Owl Mage Trilogy came off as slow paced and not particularly compelling.
Darien is the main character for all three books, with Keisha as a second main character in the second and third. They come off as being very simil
Jordan Erika
Jun 18, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, very little actually happens in this book. A young boy goes through extreme emotional issues. Dialogue, direct as well as internal, makes up about 75% of the book, which is a very poor way to move what little plot that exists along in my opinion. It's okay somethings but not when it's nearly the only device. But the biggest problem I had was all the repetition by going through the same events, and even the same dialogue, several times because she switches the POV though a different cha ...more
Agata Salim
Oct 14, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Why does this book preach so much?
Not that the messages were bad or anything, but really, do I have to dwell with Darian's grief so much?
It could have been better. This is more like an essay to the insight of a character instead of a book which I hoped would be action packed. I am not a pro writer, but shouldn't such essays be kept only for the author's eyes, as a guideline when she built the character a story?
This is Lackey's first book that I read, and I understand that there are other Valdema
Len Evans Jr
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mercedes-lackey
This trilogy has always been one of my favorites, and this first books is particularly good, so of course I loved it after rereading it again. The combo of Ms. Lackey and Mr. Dixon is a great one in all the books they collaborated on in the Valdemar series! Definitely worth multiple readings!
In Owlflight, Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon return to a post-Mage War Valdemar in which magical channels have been disrupted, scattering magic throughout the land and making it difficult for even the most powerful mages to perform significant feats.

The story follows Darian Firkin, an orphan boy living in Errold’s Grove, a village on the outskirts of the Pelagiris Forest. Thirteen-year-old Darian has the Gift, and, upon his parents’ death during a trapping expedition into the forest, he was ap
Lark of The Bookwyrm's Hoard
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read, fantasy, own, reviewed
Owflight takes place after the Mage Storms trilogy (Storm Warning, Storm Rising, and Storm Breaking), and while it’s not necessary to have read the previous books set in Valdemar, it helps. This book is set in and near the village of Errold’s Grove, on the northern border of Valdemar.

The book makes use of several time-honored tropes: the orphan youngster of low social status, disdained by the villagers; his master, the village mage; and disaster in the form of an attack by northern barbarians, a
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*Second Read since creating Goodreads account* Well, that's weird. It's almost exactly three years since I first read this book on Goodreads, although it is much longer than that since I really first read it. I've been working my way through the Valdemar books, and I was excited when I knew this one was coming up. This book is that familiar read that brings comfort from just being there, you know? As the years pass and I read more and more books, this will always be one of the few I truly cheris ...more
Becca Edney
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily Crow
Well, I finally finished Owlflight! It took me several days to plow through this one--partly because I've been juggling five books at once (now four!), but also because, I hate to say it, not much much happened. It could have been a good story. It wasn't badly written. But overall, it was boring.

The story begins with orphaned Darian, mistrusted by the villagers of Errolds Grove, being taught in wizardry by the incompetent Justyn. Darian sulks and runs off into the woods a lot. Stuff from previou
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
it's been many years since I first read this book but it was my introduction to lackey and I Realize I was disobedient in terms of what series I picked up by the writer first.

my 13 year old nerdy self found the main character relatable enough to be of interest I was always a strong willed child and drawn to people of a similiar nature.

The one thing I did want to say about her as a Writer though the most is that Lackey doesn't really cram in the long run of the Valdemar series a lot of politics d
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have read previous Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey and have enjoyed them. It has been several years since I have read any of her novels and decided to read this one. It has not disappointed me. I enjoy her characters and the story line. She is very good at giving a brief history of Valdemar back stories pertinent to the current book in case you haven't read the other books or, like me, you have been away from the stories for some time. It is an easy read and I plan to read the other two of ...more
Lackey is one of my favorite authors ever! I started reading her Valdemar series in 8th grade but I will still pull out her books to reread them. I also love her work so much that I never miss the chance to buy her new stuff. This series was her last full Valdemar series and I’m sad to say I almost wish she hadn’t written it. This whole series just fell flat for me and although, as always her characters were great, the whole work just felt a bit formulaic.
Sep 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I've read all of the Valdemar novels that Mercedes Lackey has written. While I was disappointed in some of her later books because she didn't keep to her own timeline, this was not one of them. I absolutely loved Darian's story. It's the story of a boy who loses everything only to gain something equally as good at the end. It leaves you with just enough of a hook to interest you in seeing what else is going on in Darian's life, which is why I picked up the other two books in the series.
Dan Friskies
Aug 12, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to get into this book but the author is so indulgent with the characters dialogue and inner dialogue that it takes forever for the story to move on. The characters are written almost identically and once a character focuses on something, a whole chapter is dedicated to it for no reason
Elizabeth S
The ending was a little too formulaic for me--everything wrapped up a little too pat, with everyone learning the lessons they "need" to learn. But overall a good tale and worth adding to the Valdemar saga.
Kat  Hooper
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Will review at
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Once again it is the first in a trilogy, although this could easily be a stand alone novel as well.
David Zimny
Owlflight follows the adventures of 13-year old boy Darian, who is reluctantly apprenticed to an elderly, ineffective magician. When an army of humans and other beings attack Darian's town, the old magician sacrifices himself to give others of his village more time to escape. Darian does escape, but as he travels through a forest some ruffians from the army assault him. During the assault he is rescued by Snowfire, a man from a legion of people called Hawkbrothers. Darian befriends Snowfire, an ...more
Christiana Martin
I admittedly read this after it sat on my shelf for years, and I am outside the targeted demographic. I'm now curious to see if my 13-year-old cousin finds the writing to be more enjoyable than I did, because although there are several YA fatasy series that I used to love, and this one certainly is part of a deeply developed world, the writing really prevented me from enjoying it. My main issue is that the emotions are spelled out so bluntly and so repetitively that I felt like I was being beate ...more
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another re-read, just because I really enjoy the Owl... books. This first one introduces us to Darian, a young boy who is a slightly obnoxious teenage orphan unwillingly apprenticed to the village mage/healer. He's been told he has a Gift, but doesn't see the point of using magic to do things you can do with your own hands (Justyn is not a very strong mage.) All the teenage angst and guilt in the book gets a bit tiresome and even annoying, but since I am re-reading, I just skimmed over m ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, adventure
I liked this book a lot. I think that the insight the characters had despite their flaws was refreshing. They seem to have a good sense of self awareness, especially Snowfire. I think that this book has a lot for younger people to relate to and I wish I had read this book when I were a teen.

There are some slower parts and some things that do get a little bit repetitive at times. Twards the end of the book where the Tayledras are working out their battle plans it felt like they were over explaini
Melissa Kidd
I can tell already that this will not be my favorite Mercedes Lackey series. First off, I've always loved the Companions more than the birds. And secondly, the writing style leaves some things to be desired. The story is good as is all Lackey books, and easy to read but there wasn't enough detail or character development here for me. I'm hoping the next two books get better in both of those accounts. I think that the last, at least, should since that is when Darian has grown quite a bit. So sort ...more
Meg Watts
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this years ago, second read was also years ago, and in the meantime I've been learning to be a fiction writer. The first two times I read this, I had no trouble with all the self talk and day-to-day descriptions of the main character. As a more-aware writer, now, I find myself thinking about ways the first fifth of the book could be more concise. Nevertheless, it's a beautifully built story, a stunning world, the main character is a true delight, and most of the book is quite well p ...more
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I haven't read Mercedes Lackey since high school. But my return in this book was fitting.

You have a coming of age story of a young mage. A lot of events happen within a short time.

It has a bit of build up to develop Darian as a character before in contrast to what he will become.

There are flipping perspectives within this book. So, you get to hear the internal thoughts from more than one character of the same events.

Interesting characters, new creatures and new cultures are introduced to the
May 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was enjoyable enough but it didn't really measure up to my expectations for a book that's part of a saga involving magic and fantastic beasts and communication with animals. It really read more like a social work story about abandonment issues and bullying, which was fine for a subtext. There simply wasn't enough development of the story of how and why the birds bonded with the humans, or even the day to day life in camp. Not enough worldbuilding to make it worth reading the next two bo ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Valdemar: Owl Mage Trilogy (3 books)
  • Owlsight (Owl Mage Trilogy, #2)
  • Owlknight (Owl Mage Trilogy, #3)
“To treat a person like a carpet, it is necessary that one do the walking, and one allow himself to be walked on.
--Shin'a'in saying”
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