If it weren’t a Flashback Friday post, I could always write some snarky post about George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones
and Valentines’ Day, complete with lots of death and war, but seeing as I’m supposed to review novels I read back in middle school for Flashback Friday, I’ll stay on topic. I promise!
Like any typical teen, my focus in life was fairly narrow minded in middle school. I followed the religious and political beliefs of my family, because I knew nothing else. When I began reading Sci-Fi/Fantasy, my views expanded and shifted. I found that there were many cultures and beliefs outside my own, and many people in the world who were worthy of my generosity and understanding, rather than my hatred or prejudice.
The Last Herald Mage Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey was one of those series that sent my mind reeling. The main character, Vanyel, is a Herald-Mage in the land of Valdemar, and he’s gay. Without too many spoilers, the story is very much a tragic love story with your typical fantasy series plot-line driving it. The vocabulary and complexity was low enough that I had no trouble reading it as an advanced reader in middle school. There is nothing fancy or deep about Mercedes Lackey’s writing style (at least not in this series). That’s not to say that the book isn’t worth reading–It is. It’s an excellent series made up of three books: Magic’s Pawn, Magic’s Promise, and Magic’s Price.
Before reading this, I’d always been taught that “gay people were horrific monsters. Devils that needed to die,” but when I read this series, Vanyel was just as human as I was. He was young and in love. He made mistakes. And by the end of the trilogy, he was a hero in the story and in my mind. For the first time, my thirteen year old self took a long hard look at gay people and realized that they are human and love just like the rest of humanity. This trilogy was the first of many I read that shook off the prejudice of my childhood and opened my eyes to the belief that we are all people.
We love. We lose. We grow. We hurt.
As cliche as some of Mercedes Lackey’s writing can be, I owe a lot of who I am to this series and others I read in middle school. Even though my pulled muscle is still bugging me, on my anniversary of all times (Yes, my wedding anniversary is today, cheesy as that is! What can I say? We’re hopeless romantics!), today is about loving each other. Not necessarily just your spouse. Remember those you love—be it family, friends, spouses, children, or pets. Be them here or gone. Love others in the world, and love will return to you.
Happy Valentines’ Day. Hugs from me.
Want to read other Flashback Fridays? Click here to see the list in this series.