author: Mercedes Lackey
series: Owl Mage Trilogy #2
published: 1 October 1998
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Owlsight is the companion volume to Lackey & Dixon's most recent Valdemar novel, Owlflight, and follows the fortunes of Darien, who watched his mentor die as his own life was saved, and of the village he left, Errold's Grove--now safe from the barbarians under the watchful eyes of the Hawkbrothers--and of Keisha, a natural born healer, though not yet officially recognized for her gift. Though he fought long and hard to avoid his destiny, Darien is now gaining new skills as a mage, but a very particular mage with an affinity for the Hawk Owls which have become his closest companions. An imaginatively realized fantasy that brings to life a world rich in natural magic and wonder, beautifully illustrated with Larry Dixon's character portraits.
Owlsight begins about four years after the end of the previous book, with Darian finally accepting his Gifts as a mage and as the new presumptive leader of the newly created K’Valdemar Vale near Errold’s Grove. He’s living a life now that he never would have imagined as a child, but he’s embraced it. In this book, we also meet Keisha, a Healer Trainee with powerful healing gifts that she struggles to understand. Her only training has been with the nearby Lord’s healing, but the student had surpassed the master long ago, leaving her frustrated. So she’s ecstatic when she discovers the Vale will include highly trained Healers than can finally help her.
I loved this book, as I do all of the Valedmar books. There is so much depth to the story, so much beneath the surface. Keisha is such a strong character, self-reliant and endlessly loyal to the people she serves. She is a smart character, one who stands for something and doesn’t back down in the face of others’ influence. I appreciate that in a character.
There are messages in the storyline, too, although not given in such a way as to feel preachy. When a new clan of “barbarians” comes from the north, everyone in the Vale assumes the worst, which is justified in light of the events of the first book. The dynamic with this new clan has a lot to say about judgments, even xenophobia, which is something I had never paid much attention to during previous readings of the novel, not before the life-changing year of 2020.
And, as always, the Mercedes Lackey’s world-building is beautiful and intriguing! This is high fantasy at its finest, so if you enjoy that, this trilogy is a great option.