Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey is an older fantasy novel as well as the first book in a trilogy. (I got the whole thing in one volume so I’ll be doing reviews on the series for a few weeks.) I’ve seen it around a lot and, lately, been seeing more and more mentions of it, so I finally picked it up. Before I get into the review itself, I have to get one thing out of the way: the main character’s gay. (…*fangirl squealing to the max*…apologies for destryoing your eardrums)
Now that’s over with, Magic’s Pawn, like I said, is the first book of a trilogy called The Last Herald-Mage and follows a character named Vanyel. At home, his family practically hates him for reasons Vanyel can’t understand and is sent off by his father to study under his Aunt Savil, a Herald-Mage, though he has no magical talents of his own (at first). Once there, he meets and falls in love with a boy, named Tylendel, who is training under Savil. …And, that’s pretty much it.
Okay, there is more plot later on involving Vanyel having magical powers awakened in him, but the events that lead up to it are major spoilers. However, I felt that the book was mostly about the relationship between Vanyel and Tylendel than anything remotely fantasy. I loved every bit of it, of course, but there just seemed to be no real meat to the book as a whole.
I also have to say that I found the changes in character to be really sudden. There was more than one time where I was really confused as to a character’s motivation, yet once things got rolling, I tended to ignore it. And, to be honest, I kind of wish there was a little more internal struggle with Vanyel coming to grips with his homosexuality since he really only began to identify it once he met Tylendel (butterflies in stomach and all).
Lackey’s writing style was also a little…old-fashioned. At first, it was really hard for me to get into the book, but by the time I did – boy, was I into it. I could not put the book down at all once I got past chapter three. My only pet peeve about her style is that she used dashes instead of ellipses when indicating pauses or trailing off, though that might just be an era thing (late 80s/early 90s) more than anything else, so I’ll just let it slide.
Despite the lack of meat and kind of a blah ending, I really did thoroughly enjoy the book and I look forward to reading the second installment.
For a more in-depth review, check out my YouTube video here. Warning: video contains spoilers.