Winds of Change
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Published By: DAW Books
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Winds of Fury is the last novel in The Mage Winds series, set during the Reign of Queen Selenay in the Heralds of Valdemar series of books. I couldn't wait to read the last book in this series as it would put me one step closer to my goal of reading every book in the Heralds series. I fell in love with this series of novels ever since a friend sent me the Arrows of the Queen series and couldn't wait to read more about the Heralds of Valdemar and their adventures. In this series, Elspeth, the Queen's daughter, comes into her own, cultivating her mage gift at a time when her people sorely need it.
As Winds of Fury begins, the Vale has been saved and the evil wizard Mornelithe Falconsbane has been vanquished. Now Elspeth and Skif are free to return to Valdemar with Elspeth's newly cultivated mage powers. Her powers are sorely needed as Hardorn's King Ancar is renewing his efforts to destroy the kingdom of Valdemar. Thus far, he has been unsuccessful, but with powerful magic on his side, Ancar could conceivably reek havoc on the lands of Valdemar should a weakness in the borders arise. Accompanying her on her return journey are her new lover and skillful Adept Darkwind, the Healing Adept Firesong, Skif's new lover and Changeling Nyara, her mage/sword Need and the magical creatures known as Gryphons.
While traveling to Valdemar, the group is suddenly transported to the Forest of Sorrows. There, the ghost of the most powerful Herald Mage in the history of Valdemar, Vanyel Ashkevron, explains why magic has been forgotten in Valdemar and what Elspeth will encounter upon her return to her lands. The magic walls of the borders will be lowered, thus offering Ancar the break he's been waiting for. Elspeth and her friends must train all Heralds located with an inkling of Mage gift as quickly as possible or Ancar will find a way to overrun the Valdemarans. And he will have help for, unbeknownst to the heroic group, Falconsbane is not dead, but in the clutches of Ancar. With Falconsbane's aide, Ancar's forces could be invincible. But with a little help from some unexpected resources, Elspeth and her friends may find a way to strike at the very heart of the beast and cripple Hardorn's leadership from within.
Being the last novel in The Mage Winds series, Winds of Fury is full of action and suspense as Selenay's troops march off into war and Elspeth and her friends head off for a face to face encounter with their enemy's leadership. You would think that all of the surprises of this series would have come in book two, but this final book has plenty more in store for readers, featuring a brand new character and the return of an old favorite in Vanyel. For lovers of intrigue, there is plenty of that as the heroes go undercover to infiltrate Ancar's kingdom while Ancar himself is embroiled in an interior struggle between his most powerful Mage, teacher and one time lover, Hulda, and his new and mysterious Mage Falconsbane. There is also a smattering of romance. Nothing like what was found in Winds of Change, but enough to whet the whistle.
Although it does tie up a great many loose ends, this book does leave an opening for another series of sequel novels through an accidental event that may bring a new enemy against Valdemar. And thus, the battle to maintain the kingdom of Valdemar continues with a new and powerful ally in the mages that have pledged their allegiances to her Queen. I can't wait to check out The Mage Storms Trilogy to see what new adventures lie in wait for the Heralds of Valdemar.
For more Mercedes Lackey novels, check out: