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Magic's Price (Valdemar: The Last Herald-Mage #3)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  17,723 Ratings  ·  273 Reviews
The final chapter in Mercedes Lackey's spellbinding fantasy trilogy! The Herald-Mage, Vanyel, and his Companion, Yfandes, are alone responsible for saving the once-peaceful kingdom of Valdemar from the forces of a master who wields a dark, forbidding magic. And if either Vanyel or Yfandes falters, both Valdemar and its Herald-Mage must pay the ultimate price.
ebook, 352 pages
Published July 3rd 1990 by Daw Books (first published July 1990)
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Review may contain spoilers for those who have not read the first two books in the Last Herald-Mage series.

Vanyel gets a new boyfriend. Sure, there's a lot of other stuff about ruling a kingdom steward-style for the ailing king and loads of heroic feats including surviving torture, defeating an entire army with several powerful mages, and dying a bloody death. But mostly, Vanyel gets an awesome new boyfriend. (view spoiler)
Mar 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Parts of these books I really like -- and then other parts make me want to either throw the book across the room, or smack Mercedes upside the head a few times.

Lackey is pretty darned good at manipulating emotions when she sets her mind to it. I'm just as susceptible to melodrama as the next person, and probably more susceptible than many -- and Lackey's books don't lack for that. On the other hand, Lackey often doesn't seem terribly concerned with logic. For instance, an especially egregious (a
Experiment BL626
The books are well written, I'm not debating that. What I am hating is the main character, Vanyel. I usually tolerate goody two-shoes to a great extend, but this character just want to make me barf. Pretty much he sacrifices everything in order to save his kingdom, a kingdom that doesn't even like him for who he is and only care for his supermagic.

Frankly the ending suck, so if anyone is expecting a HEA or HFN, this series is not for you—it's a tear-jerker. It's one thing to give up your life f
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
This initial fantasy trilogy is a really fun read.
I had been warned. I sort of knew what was going to happen. I had no expectations, considering the trainwreck that was the first book. But when I read the ending, I was pretty much

I mean, after pretty much everything you've done for Valdemar, that's what you get in the end?

Forget about duty, responsibility, and doing what was right because you can't do otherwise. As Pat Jr from Silver Linings Playbook more or less said, there's enough shit we have to deal with in real life, why can't we have a
Mar 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Last one! It's a toss up whether this one or the first is my favorite, it's so hard to pick. Anyway, here we go:

Price is set about eight years after the end of Promise. Vanyel is no longer on the front lines of the war; he's been put in a more or less administrative position in Haven. That doesn't necessarily mean he's not working as hard. The king, Randale, who has been suffering from a chronic illness for years, suddenly becomes fatally ill, and the Healers don't even know what is causing his
Dec 04, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-fantasy, fantasy
Cheesy, tawdry, melodramatic with a hero who supposedly resembles a cross between Fabio, an elf and Gaston from the Disney Beauty & The Beast. I LURVED these so hard when I was a teenager, you better believe it.

There's still a little voice inside, today, who says "But... protagonist! Romantic storylines and heroism and GAY(yay)!"
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I was debating giving this book a three, because I did enjoy parts, but in the end I decided it just wasn't good enough. You can read other reviews to see what's wrong with it, but, in a nutshell: most of the issues in the story aren't well-resolved, such as the king's illness and the idea of Stefen as a reincarnation of Tylendel, and most importantly, who the hell Leareth is; there is a severe inconsistency in the difference between the deaths of the two herald-mages and Savil's death which is ...more
Catherine Thompson
The final book of The Last Herald-Mage trilogy finds Vanyel quite literally the last Herald-Mage. Most of the other Herald-Mages have been killed in battle, and no child has manifested the Mage Gift in years. As Van probes more deeply into the problem, he discovers that someone is targeting anyone with the Mage Gift--someone who is determined to bring Valdemar, already on the brink of losing its king, into utter chaos.

In this book, we come full circle, as Vanyel finds love again and learns to tr
Mar 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

Generally a character becomes more likable as a series goes on. But Vanyel actually seems to get worse or at least he doesn't much change as he gets older. It is one thing to see those things in a neglected, abused boy, but they become very unattractive in an adult man. I think part of the problem is that there are times here when he does or says something that just seems to come completely out of the blue. Instances I generally blame on author convenience. (view spoiler)
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Avery by: Sabrina
Shelves: my-favs
I love it. It is really sad, but really good at the same time. Vanyel reminds me of Tylendel in his last moments. The way his obsesion with revenge has taken over. However, unlike Tylendel he has 'Fandes to set him right. Also he listens to Stefen more than 'Lendel listened to him. (view spoiler)
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Valdemar
Ugh. So many things wrong with this book, where to begin…

Magic’s Price, the third and final novel in Lackey’s Last Herald-uMage series, takes place nine years after the events of the series’ second novel, Magic’s Promise – which, when added to the 11-year gap between the events of books 1 and 2, puts us at a convenient 20 years after the events of Magic’s Pawn. “Price” centers on the political and personal upheavals threatening or taking place in (respectively) Valdemar: religious war may break
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last of the Valdemar-Vanyel-magic in this series, and it's taken me a couple of days to digest it. While reading it, I enjoyed it immensely, but it left a lot of questions hanging in thin air.

I liked it well enough, it was a good story, but the last half of the book felt hurried, hastily and shoddily put together, and this had me falling out of the narrative more than once. I feel it was not up to Ms Lackey's usual standards. I have only a couple of excerpts from the whole book, which—for m
The Last Herald-Mage trilogy concludes in this exciting and romantic novel, which had me both happy and sad at the same time. Some will argue that this is the best novel in the trilogy. For me, it was the first novel, Magic’s Pawn. Throughout the book Mercedes Lackey addresses all kinds love and all kinds of situations/issues lovers deal with because of this powerful love. And through all these, the message remains the same, and it is a message of tolerance.
Karse’s self-proclaimed Prophet-King h
Jun 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: university, fantasy, lgbt
what a bummer of an ending omg. Vanyel lived one hell of a short and miserable existence.

idek what I think of this trilogy? it was fun and easy to read but there were really weird elements to it lol. The last two books were better than the first in that it wasnt sO ANGSTY AMD DRAMATIC but nothing felt particularly cohesive. this book like, changed plot halfway through, from focusing on the growing relationship between Vanyel's new boytoy and Randale's declining health to the Greatest Threat to V
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook Review
I am writing this review after listening to all three books in this series. I’m glad I waited to review because I have adjusted my ratings from 5 to 4 stars on the overall story. This series is about Vanyel, a Herald Mage. It starts in Book 1 when he is about 16 and ends in Book 3 in his late thirties. This series was written in the 1990s, so I tried to listen to it with that filter. Back then, gay themed YA books were rare and gay themed fantasy book even rarer. Overall I really
May 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This last book in Vanyel's trilogy finally brings us his lifemate, Bard Stefen, who is wonderful. He's supposedly the reincarnation of Tylendel, but who cares, he's awesome all on his own.

And the story comes full circle, as Vanyel goes through something very like the situation that was Tylendel's undoing in the first book. It's painful to read, especially since you know what's coming, but Vanyel manages to avoid going down the same revenge-driven path as Tylendel—interestingly enou
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I told you I would never leave you when I Chose you...I knew what our bond would come to then, when I first Chose you - and I don't regret my choice. I love you, and I am proud to stand beside you. There is not a single moment together that I would take back."
I am legitimately so conflicted about this book. I figure that any book that can make me cry (that ending, like of course I was bawling) should get I high rating, but I have some issues with it that are kind of preventing that.

I found th
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Skimming through some other reviews I passed one that called this book "Cheesy, tawdry, melodramatic". I completely agree, but I actually reveled in those facts while the other reviewer gave it two stars. :P It's definitely over the top and has some logic defying moments, but I find myself quite invested in Valdemar. I *was* a little torn on my rating and I think 4 stars is rounding up for me because there was a resurgence of the plot point that bothered me in the Vows & Honor books I've rea ...more
Kris Irvin
Dec 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, 2017
This is my favorite book in the Last Herald Mage trilogy. That said, I kind of hate this trilogy, so it's not saying much.

Vanyel finally quit whining in this book. One thing I will say is that Lackey does a great job at showing Van's growth and maturation over the course of the story. I didn't think Van would ever suck it up, buttercup, and quit whining all the time.

This book reads like an after school special in so many places. Van and Withen's reconciliation, for example, was so cheesy I had
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 21, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 01, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeffe Kennedy
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another addition to my #readinghistory! Continuing the Mercedes Lackey lurv fest with the Last Herald Mage trilogy. OMG, so much goodness in Vanyel's history. Beautiful Vanyel. *sigh* He wasn't the first gay hero I read, I'm pretty sure, because I wasn't surprised at all by his sexuality. But I'd also had friends who'd come out as gay by then, so Vanyel's journey from not fitting in to finding his first lover felt familiar to me. I loved this story so much, even for its tragedy. Vanyel's arc fro ...more
Spider the Doof Warrior
This is my favourite book in the series, but there's one small problem.

What does Mercedes Lackey have against Vanyel? He's such a nice guy, but he's got so many problems, it's not even funny. He gets a love in the first book, and all of those who read it know what happened and how much he had to suffer as a result. Then, fast forward to this book.
But, at least there's a bit of happiness to look forward to for Vanyel.

But it doesn't last.
Sian Jones
Re-reading this (after having originally read it 20+ years ago), I was struck by how the best world-building doesn't let things last; the best world-building takes the world you've just spent previous novels reading about and then cracks it open, shows you its weaknesses and failure, and draws you into understanding what is gained by the loss even as you mourn it. I know that's a fancy way of describing it, but danged if it doesn't show mature judgment on the author's part.
Kat Williams
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book will destroy you and revive you and destroy you again. It is simply heartbreaking, but perfectly and beautifully so. I don't think I've ever cried so hard at book with the possible exception of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Honestly, prepare to get your heart ripped out with this one. It's a doozy.
Mel (booksandsundry)
It's not bad, but it's not really that good either.
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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: The Last Herald-Mage (3 books)
  • Magic's Pawn (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #1)
  • Magic's Promise (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #2)
“A quaint conceit, don't you think?” 12 likes
“Don’t you see, Stef? It’s not that I’m serving Valdemar, it’s that I’m helping to preserve the kind of people who leave the world better than they found it, and trying to stop the ones who take instead of giving.” 1 likes
More quotes…