author: Mercedes Lackey
genre(s): fantasy, romance
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[color-box]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.[/color-box]
This book takes up long after the end of Magic’s Pawn and Vanyel is exhuasted by the wild magic and trauma that he has been through. He is almost an entirely different person in this book, changed and matured with the experiences of his past. As much as I loved the first book, I think I love Vanyel as a character even more in this book.
Over the years, he has become everything he was meant to be… and all of the things his father would never have imagined. He is a hero of Valdemar and has dedicated his life to keeping its people safe, even at his own expense. He is told to take some leave to rest and recuperate and goes to the most unlikely place,… Askevron Manor. But it isn’t long before he realizes that there are things happening just beyond the borders that threaten everything.
Once again, I think Vanyel and his circumstances are universally relatable. I love Vanyel and I love his story. He is such a sympathetic character so it is easy to root for him throughout the story. Even after everything he has done for the kingdom, his parents still can’t see him for who he is. His father is still dismissive and his mother is still throwing her ladies at him. And as a person, despite all that he has been through, he still has so much to learn about life, love, and moving forward after grief. This book also answered a lot of questions about some characters from the first book, particularly the family priest and the weaponsmaster. They were extraordinarily hateful in the first book with no real explanation as to why that was so extreme.
As with the other books, this one is full of twists and turns and intrigue. I think that there is an added level of suspense in this particular book because Vanyel is, as the series title suggests, the last of his kind. He is the last Herald-Mage. So much rides on him and there are moments when you wonder, even knowing there is another book in the trilogy, if he is going to survive.