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The Last Herald Mage: Magics Promise
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Today, we'll be reviewing Magic's Promise, the second book in the Last Herald Mage Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey. In short, last time Vanyel (the main character) loved and lost a boy named Tylendel Frelennye, and in the resulting chaos his magical pathways were forced open. Vanyel is now a Herald-Mage, one of those gifted people that have both psychic and mage abilities, a change from the majority of the first book.

Overall, I enjoyed Magic's Promise. While it does share many of the same faults of the first such as sloppy writing, a tend to the melodramatic and at times predictable writing, Mercedes Lackey still draws her readers into the story. It seems as though you are traveling along with Vanyel, feeling his confusion over his sexuality, his doubts and fears, and his strength and determination.

Unlike the first book, where I mentioned it focused more on Vanyel than plot, this is to some degree the reverse. There is no romantic interest, as Vanyel is still getting over the death of Tylendel. (Sorry to those that like the romance! But it does return in Book III.) Between sponsoring a child that reminds Vanyel of himself, reconciling with his family, mourning Tylendel, worrying over King Randale, and overall general confusion as he tries to figure out his sexuality.. As you can imagine, Vanyel has a lot on his plate. The main plot of Magic's Promise is a murder mystery, with plenty of magic and spells being thrown around. But it is not all about the murder mystery. Vanyel really starts to mature in Magic's Promise, going from something of a brat to a more sensible and, to a degree, world weary young man.

You also finally start to see some things resolved. Vanyel is comfortable with being gay, and figures out that Shavri is just a friend. (Shocking, I know. Who would have guessed!)

My only complaint about the book, once you get around Mercedes Lackey's writing, is how.. neat the family reconciliation was. After how Jervis and his parents treated him in the first novel, this felt a little anticlimactic to me. It worked, but in real life emotions are rarely so easily soothed. Hell, I think a lot of the confusion Vanyel felt over being gay is because of the reactions of his parents. Both do, after all, try to get him to "reconsider" being shay'a'chern.

In the end, if you enjoyed the first book you'll love this one, even with the flaws. You get to see Vanyel mature, and how he deals with all of the trials of the first book that were somewhat left unresolved. Give it a try, I don't think you'll be disappointed.


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