I read Winds of Fury (1993) because I owned it at Audible and had already reviewed the previous books in this MAGE WINDS trilogy (Winds of Fate and Winds of Change). I haven’t been enthusiastic about the story or the characters thus far, so if you have enjoyed them, you should ignore this review because it won’t be helpful. If you haven’t read those books yet and are trying to decide whether to read them, perhaps my review will be helpful.
When we left our heroes in Winds of Change, they had been trained up in their magical abilities and, at the very end of the book, fought the evil wizard Mornelithe Falconsbane. But, instead of being defeated, the evil wizard was sucked through a portal and ended up as a prisoner of another evil wizard named Ancar, the same evil wizard who has been harassing Valdemar and who was the original cause of Princess Elspeth’s journey to find a good magician to help her country. It should be noted that Ancar has another evil wizard for a mentor. Her name is Hulda. So now there are three evil wizards to contend with and they are the evilest evil wizards you could ever imagine. If you thought Mornelithe Falconsbane was reeeely eeeevil, wait until you meet evil wizard Ancar! He is extra extra evil.
So, off our heroes go to Elspeth’s and Skif’s home in Valdemar. They bring some of their new friends with them as well as their lovers Darkwind and Nyara, and the gryphons. Back in Valdemar they work with Elspeth’s mother on an overcomplicated plot to overthrow the evil wizards before the wizards take control of Valdemar. This involves impersonating a traveling carnival. They also deal with some political issues such as Elspeth’s succession to the throne and the problem she creates by bringing home an unapproved guy like Darkwind. They also run into some heroes and legends from previous VALDEMAR stories.
The plan to eliminate Falconsbane for good (this time) gets thwarted when our heroes discover something strange about him that makes us see him in a new light. The new character introduced in this plotline is the most empathetic in the entire trilogy and I actually felt a few pangs of compassion toward him. But only a few. And, unfortunately, I didn’t give a fig about any of the other characters.
Winds of Fury is better than the previous book, but that’s not saying much. I didn’t find the story very engaging (there’s a lot of time spent with dull repetitive introspection), the prose is utilitarian, the pacing is unbalanced (slow for most of the book, then frantic at the end), and Mercedes Lackey’s sense of humor didn’t at all resonate with me. A major problem, which I’ve mentioned in my previous reviews, is that most of the plot (which involves blatant foreshadowing and some overly dramatic acting), and the parts that are supposed to be enlightening (such as discussions/advice about good marriages), seem so simplistic and juvenile, yet the sexual content is definitely not.
I don’t think the MAGE WINDS trilogy will satisfy most adults, yet I can’t recommend it for teens, either. But even if I could figure out who these books were written for, I can’t really think of any compelling reason to recommend them when there are so many other better fantasies available.
Again I listened to Audible Studios’ version of Winds of Fury. Karen White does a fine but not spectacular job with the narration. The book is almost 16 hours long in audio format.