Heralds of Valdemar Reviews: Winds of Change

Winds of Change
Mercedes Lackey
The Mage Winds: Book 2

I recently read this book and I have trouble remembering what happened. That doesn’t augur well for the staying power of this series—to be honest, what I remembered from this series, not having read it since I was thirteen or so, was Elspeth telling off Gwena, that Need did stuff, Mornelithe Falconsbane was an anthropomorphic cat, magic happened, and Nyara was cool. Full stop. I’d pretty much entirely forgotten about the gryphons, Darkwind, Starblade, the Heartstone, that the Shin’a’in involved themselves, and, somehow, Firesong. Yes, I forgot Firesong. Don’t tell him.

The action of Winds of Change is centred on the Vale: Elspeth and Darkwind learn magic together so that they may control their magic and heal the Heartstone. Another Vale hears of their plight and sends them a a teacher with rare talents: A Healer-Adept named Firesong. Meanwhile, Skif searches for Nyara, who is out in the wilderness with the sword Need.

BEYOND THIS POINT THERE BE SPOILERS

I found this book pretty tedious, and part of it is that I’m not a huge fan of Elspeth and Darkwind’s relationship. I mean, it’s cute and all, but it’s not very compelling. It becomes worse, in my opinion, when Firesong shows up, a flamboyant, gorgeous mage: immediately Elspeth is attracted to him and Darkwind gets jealous. It’s so painfully obvious that Elspeth and Darkwind are going to resolve it that there’s no tension or fun at all. Firesong turns out to be gay/shay’a’chern, everyone has an uncomfortable laugh, Elspeth and Darkwind have great sex. One thing I did appreciate was the scene where Darkwind makes Elspeth wear his more attractive clothing: I thought it was cute. It’s also nice to see men in fiction who like—even design!—nice clothing. I know plenty of men in real life who like vibrant, fanciful clothes, but have trouble finding them or finding a culturally-sanctioned way to express this preference.

Firesong’s pretty great. He has a firebird bondbird! Hah!

Nyara with Need makes for an interesting subplot. I really like their relationship. I think Need is really good for Nyara. Skif’s subplot of seeking out Nyara really didn’t do much for me. I found Skif kind of boring in this trilogy. He was amazing in the Arrows books, I don’t know what happened.

This book does include lots of worldbuilding and gryphons. I like worldbuilding and gryphons, but I like plot and good characterizations too.

To be honest, I can’t think of anything else to say. It’s not a bad book. It’s just kind of… fluffy. It didn’t work for me, I just wanted to get on past it to Winds of Fury.

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