Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Lackey, who has enchanted readers since the publication of her first novel, Arrows of the Queen in 1987, scores another hit with the paperback release of the first book in an exciting new series. High magic had been lost to Valdemar when Vanyel gave his life to save his kingdom from destruction by the dark sorceries. Now it falls to Elspeth — Herald, heir to the throne — to take up the challenge and seek a mentor who will awaken her mage abilities.
Thoughts: There are two real parts, by my way of figuring, to the Valdemar continuum. There’s the main story, the ‘modern’ stuff, which is written about in the Arrows trilogy, the Winds trilogy, and the Storms trilogy. The rest is history, elaboration of side stories, and all the other books that make up the tapestry of the history of Velgarth. But those three trilogies all take place around the same time period, involving the same characters, and are interlinked so that they’re the central column of the Valdemar series.
Winds of Fate is the first book of the Wind trilogy, and the one where Lackey takes back her original vow of not having large casts and not having magic be central to the Valdemar stories. After first having been introduced to the character of Elspeth in the Arrows books, we now see her grown up, willful and stubborn, and facing her destiny as the first Herald-Mage since Vanyel. Not only that, but she’s the one who gives herself the task of going out and finding somebody to train Valdemaran mages, in an effort to defend Valdemar against Ancar of Hardorn’s attacks.
No easy feat.
Interwoven with Elspeth’s part of the story is that of Darkwind, Tayledras mage-turned-scout, who’s trying to defend a weakened Vale against threats from both outside and in.
Naturally, the stories converge, they end up meeting, and Darkwind is just the one to train Elspeth in the art and science of magic.
It’s not exactly a surprise when that happens, but it’s still all interesting to read about.
If there’s one thing that Lackey is skilled at, it’s making a rich and interesting world, and in providing a wonderful amount of detail about the various cultures within. In this book alone, we see glimpses of life as a highborn Valdemaran, a Shin’a’in shaman, a Rethwellan mage, various Tayledras, and some who don’t fit into any real category except perhaps “exotic misfit”, and seeing their lives from their point of view, even for a short chapter, is always interesting.
The Winds trilogy is not my favourite, but I can’t deny that it’s good, it’s engaging, it’s deep and developped, and it’s an integral part of the story that is Valdemar.