Reviewed by Holly White
Winds of Change is the second book in Mercedes Lackey’s Mage Winds trilogy set in her Valdemar universe. In the first book, Winds of Fate, the great mage-gifted Ancar was threatening the kingdom and Valdemar needed mages of its own in order to stand against him. Unfortunately, they no longer knew who to identify and train their own Gifted, so Elspeth, the Heir to the throne of Valdemar, traveled on a quest with her best friend Skif, another of the Heralds. Together they sought out the Hawkbrothers, mage-gifted men and women who bonded with birds instead of the horse Companions, and who could help Valdemar regain their mages.
In Winds of Change, Elspeth began her training under a Hawkbrother named Darkwind, and the two of them, unbeknownst to the other, began to have feelings (undeclared) for one another. Meanwhile, Skif teamed up with Darkwind’s brother, Wintermoon, to leave the Vale, the home of the Hawkbrothers, on another quest to try and seek out Nyara, a changechild who was Skif’s true love who had been taken by the evil Mornelithe Falconsbane. Nyara was undergoing training with the enchanted sword called Need, which was also protecting her from Falconsbane’s schemes.
Then before they were ready, Elspeth and Darkwind found they were going to have to face Mornelithe Falconsbane, who had declared a personal vendetta against Nyara, against the Gryphons (powerful allies of Darkwind who had repeatedly helped defeat Falconsbane in the past), and against everyone in the Vale. They called in outside help, but would their help come in time? Would their alliance be powerful enough to defeat Falconsbane once and for all? Would their ideas and strategies be enough? And what would be the terrible price if they did succeed?
I really enjoyed Winds of Change, and I think it is a great read for any adult who loves fantasy, magery, and good vs. evil battles. My next review will be on the third book in the trilogy, Winds of Fury, in which I’m told that some of the Hawkbrothers, the Gryphons, and the Heralds, will have to unite against a powerful alliance of evil.