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Magic's Pawn Mass Market Paperback – Jun 6 1989

4.6 out of 5 stars 185 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: DAW; Reissue edition (June 6 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0886773520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0886773526
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.4 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 185 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #115,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Library Journal

Vanyel's disdain for swordsmanship earns him an unexpected exile--at the High Court of Valdemar under the guardianship of his stern and implacable Aunt Savil, one of the legendary Herald-Mages. A young man's painful discovery of his own immense talents and his true nature form the core of this richly detailed fantasy, the first in a new series set in the same world as "The Heroes of Valdemar." Lackey's talent for characterization lends depth to this coming-of-age adventure that will appeal to most fantasy readers.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Praise for series:

"Lackey has written another intensely wrought, finely detailed story of heroic victims struggling to do the best with their fate. Vanyel’s magical strengths are countered by his very human insecurities." —VOYA 

"Lackey’s characterization, plotting, and wit are all of a high order. A real page-turner for any fantasy collection." —Booklist 

"Emotionally tense and full of drama and magic." —Locus

"In Vanyel, [Lackey] has created her most empathetic male character to date, making our emotions run high as he meets his fate. And best of all, the very last plot twist is one of haunting beauty that will touch your heart." —RT Reviews 
"In this trilogy, Lackey reaches an intensity she had only begun to achieve.... The story of Vanyel isdarker than her earlier books, and the pace is unrelenting." —American Fantasy Magazine

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
this is the first book that i read by mercedes lackey and boy am i glad that my friend recommended it.
everything about this book is wonderful. Its exciting and emotional and lackey is amazingly apt at creating characters that you feel you know and love.
the main character vanyel starts out as a bit of a stuck up brat and transforms into a wonderful young man under the care of his aunt in Haven, the capital city of the kingdom Valdamar. he discovers the love of his life tylendel and just as his life is coming together, a tragedy tears it apart.
i won't tell you what it is because that would ruin the book so go get it now!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
My girlfriend has a great affinity for finding slashy books that make our hearts palpitate and keep us entranced for the duration-- if not longer. This is one of those books.
I know that if not for this book, I'd never have gotten into any of the Heralds of Valdemar books. The idea of a young man pressured into a mold he does not fit and punished for that which he cannot help is something many people can sympathize with.
Vanyel is a young boy whose only intrest is music -- he longs with all his heart to be a Bard; however, he is heir to his father's holdings. Withern, Vanyel's father, has for all of Van's life tried to make the boy fit a mold he was never meant to fit. His trying does more harm than good and fed up with the inability to make Vanyel into the man he thinks Van should be, sends him off to be fostered at Valdemar's capital with the boy's Herald-Mage aunt, Savil. In a stunning tale of romance, Van's life whirls out of control and into 'unforseen' directions for the young man.
After rereading this book too many times to remember, it does seem a little trite and simplistic -- but I think that's what makes it so dear to me. Yes, by the covers of the following books in the trilogy you know that somehow Van becomes a Herald-Mage (assumably the Last Herald-Mage, by the title of the trilogy), but how things occur and the pain or joy of each happening is just wonderful. I read the back of this book then started it and found myself asking "ok, I thought he was a Herald... what gives?" But it all comes together in this beautifully written story.
My problems with Mercedes Lackey's works aren't really tied to the errors in the printing or anything like that, it's the time frame jumps between certain books. Particularly in the Last Herald-Mage Trilogy.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is also the turning point in the Valdemar series, where you can really tell that Lackey has found her voice and has settled into a comfortable and refined style that carries her through the rest of the books she writes. It's smooth, it's detailed, and it's captivating. The way she handles deep emotional scenes is wonderful, and I'm always entertained by the way she writes the thoughts and observations of the character whose viewpoint we're seeing. Unlike some, who will only write the important and relevent thoughts of a character, Lackey will take the time and space to have them seem realistic in their random observations and jokes and misconceptions. Some may consider it a waste of space, but I consider it a sign that the author has a good handle on how people actually behave and think.

True, there are problems with this book. It has its inconsistancies, as I think every Valdemar novel has by this point, but it even makes a few internal flubs, such as referring to a period of 60 minutes as an hour instead of the series-established candlemark. But the internal errors are few and far between, and most of them are only evident if you're really paying attention for them.

Maybe people who dislike this trilogy do so because Vanyel's a whiny little brat and they can't stand his emo tendancies. I have to admit, they do have a point. Even other characters point out that he's a brat. In fairness to him as a character, though, a large part of his bratty nature was posturing, another large part was because he had a screwed up set of circumstances and issue that don't end up getting resolved until well into adulthood, and thirdly, he was 15! Think back to when you were 15, and I bet you were brattier then than you are now. For this, I cut the guy some slack.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Young Vanyel would rather be a bard, playing his lute and performing for the courts, much to the chagrin of his father Lord Withen. So infuriated is Withen that after Vanyel is almost beaten to death by the armsmaster Jervis, he sends him to train under his Aunt Savil, a Herald-Mage at the court of Valdemar.
Savil doesn't really know what to do with Vanyel, either. Somewhat vain, ill-mannered and continuously broding, even the other bards and mages don't feel that he has the right gifts. Savil feels that something is keeping Vanyel from showing his true self. When her herlad-mage trainee, the handsome Tylendel, spies Vanyel and falls for his beautiful looks almost immediately, she allows Tylendel to get closer to Vanyel, hoping to pull him out of his shell.
Vanyel soon finds himself falling for Tylendel, now that he's aware of the world around him, the world that Withen tried to keep from him. But events take a tragic turn, and soon Vanyel's untapped herald-mage gifts are ripped open. Unable to control his new gifts, Savil takes him away to heal and to learn self-control, but daner lurks in the near future. Something is hunting young Vanyel, through his tortured nightmares and into reality.
I found this to be an enjoyable book to read. Very descriptive and the characters are very likable. With the exception of Vanyel. For a main character, he's too depressing and filled with self-loathing that I wanted the author to get rid of him. (Bad thing, since he's the driving force of the book.) I felt the book lingered too much on those aspects of him, making the book feel sluggish at first. Once Vanyel and Tylendel begin their romance, however, the pace picks up and makes for a fine book, filled with action, magic, interesting and amazing creatures, and just a good story.
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