Winds of Change
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Published By: DAW Books
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Usually, when I start reading a trilogy, I read one after the other until I finish the books, but for some reason, after I read the first book of The Mage Winds series by Mercedes Lackey, I never got around to reading the rest of the series. When I was perusing the bookshelves, looking for a new book to read, I realized that I had never finished The Mage Winds series. Thankful that the first book, Winds of Fate, was still fresh in my mind, I decided to read the next book, Winds of Change.
When we last left our heroes, Queen Selenay’s daughter, Elspeth, her co-Herald Skif, and their Companions Gwena and Cymry joined forces with the Hawkbrothers, the Gryphons, a Changechild and a shaman to defeat and evil blood-mage Mornelithe Falconsbane, preventing him from destroying the Hawkbrother’s Vale and the Gryphon children. At the opening of Winds of Change, Elspeth, Skif, their Companions and the Shaman Tre’valen are being inducted as Hawkbrothers. By taking the vows, they will not only be accepted into the brotherhood, but Darkwind, a powerful mage turned scout, will now be able to train Elspeth in the mage arts.
The members of the k’Sheyna Vale are still recovering from their war with Falconsbane, their leader, Darkwind’s father Starblade, still reeling from the torture he suffered at the hands of the evil mage and the betrayals he performed for him. Darkwind has agreed to once again take up his position as mage, a path he had given up long ago when the Vale’s Heartstone was damaged. In order to teach Elspeth, he must relearn many of the mage arts he had forsaken years ago – not an easy task, especially when his student is heir to the Valdemar throne, haughty, and obstinate…and distractingly beautiful.
Meanwhile, Wintermoon, Darkwind’s brother and a talented scout, offers to aide Skif in finding the Changechild Nyara. After defying her “father” Falconsbane in an effort to save Skif’s life, Nyara ran off with the special mage sword known as Need. Skif believes he may be in love with the Changechild and wants to bring her back to the Vale to keep her safe from Falconsbane in case he did not perish in his last thwarted attack. Not everyone is in agreement that the Changechild is no longer serving Falconsbane and so Wintermoon’s offered help is both surprising and much appreciated. In order to find Nyara, the two will face some of the deadliest magical creatures living outside the Vale.
And while all of this is taking place, the mages of k’Sheyna Vale, with the help of the magical Gryphons, attempt to heal the damaged Heartstone. They soon learn that the Heartstone may be beyond repairing. In fact, the Heartstone may be so beyond repair that it has become destructive. With a destructive Heartstone, how with the k’Sheyna Hawkbrothers ever hope to heal their Vale of the dark magic imposed upon it or find the rest of their tribe? And with Falconsbane possibly lurking in the shadows how much more evil magery can the inhabitants of the Vale expect to face?
When I picked up Winds of Change, I wasn’t quite sure I could pick up where I last left off. I was surprised to find that I didn’t have to skim the first novel thanks to a nice prologue included summarizing everything that happened in the last novel. Although Winds of Change started off a bit slow, I found that once things started picking up, I couldn’t put the book down. Little by little, more and more secrets are revealed, raising more unanswered questions. The reader learns a great deal more about the magery of the Hawkbrothers and the origins of Falconsbane, but Mercedes Lackey doesn’t give everything away and we are still left wondering about quite a few things.
What we aren’t left wondering about is the romance that readers expected to sprout between Elspeth and Darkwind. By the middle of the book, the romantic tension is fulfilled as expected. However, there are some rather unexpected romantic couplings to be found in this novel that lend a bit of surprise to the tale.
Winds of Change is filled with magic, action, suspense and romance with a story that leaves you yearning for more. I can’t imagine what the final installment of the series will bring, but I can promise that I won’t wait as long to read that novel as I did to read this one.
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