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Foundation: Book One of the Collegium Chronicles (A Valdemar Novel) Hardcover – October 7, 2008
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The new Valdemar novel takes place earlier in the kingdom’s history than has any other, set when the Heralds’ collegium was established. At that time, the system of heraldic training was changing from one-on-one apprenticeship to the collegial system used by Healers and Bards, because there were too many trainees for the old system. Some older Heralds weren’t happy with that change, and as all three collegia rapidly grew, there was much rivalry for builders and teachers. Young Mags, an orphan who drudges for a greedy, cruel mine owner, is Chosen and eventually brought to Haven for training, where his goodheartedness and near-total ignorance make him very dependent on his companion. Thanks to court intrigues and an attempt by foreign infiltrators to trick Valdemar to its disadvantage, Lackey makes a real page-turner out of Mags’ and the collegia’s development. Though similar in some ways to both Brightly Burning (2000) and Take a Thief (2001), this book’s outstanding characters, especially Mags, will greatly please Valdemar fans. --Frieda Murray
Praise for the Collegium Chronicles:
“Returning to her beloved Valdemar universe, Lackey opens her new series at a pivotal time in the history of Valdemar, when the education of Heralds is changing and dangers from other lands are felt in the court and on the training field. Series fans will enjoy the variations on a familiar theme, while enough information is presented for first-timers to discover a world of high adventure and individual courage. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal
“A real page-turner.... Outstanding characters, especially Mags, will greatly please Valdemar fans.” —Booklist
“An enjoyable and pleasant read.... Mags is an appealing protagonist facing challenges (and successes) with which readers will empathize." —RT Book Reviews
"Top Pick! ... A wonderful amalgam of fantasy and character study." —Night Owl Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Readers of her other novels in Valdemar's will be familiar with the places, people, and magic she uses. If you're a first time reader I feel like the background and history will be missing which would add a richness to this story.
I really like how in each of her stories the main characters are so different from each other, they are very memorable and don't fall into easy tropes. In this story, the main character Mags, is a solemn and reserved person observing more than speaking a lot of the book is very internal. It is refreshing because it's like meditating in a familiar setting (Valdemar's) but seeing it with a new perspective.
However, I'm not fond of the main character's name as trivial as that may sound. It feels like the third instance of using this name. I feel like she could have been more creative in that area.
Overall a great first book. Looking forward to the second.
Mags is the main character in this book and to be honest - I dreaded it a little when I found out how far back in the Valdemar time line he appeared. I thought, how can you have a strong character with a strong story line despite not being mentioned (so far) in the future Valdemar books? Thankfully Mercedes Lackey proved me wrong in a huge way. You will find yourself routing for Mags throughout the entire time. I was crazy to doubt the abilities of Mercedes Lackey for even a moment.
Five books in this series: Foundation, Intrigues, Changes, Redoubt, and Bastion.
Mags had slaved at the gem mines for as long as he could remember, completely unaware of how unusual his paltry existence was—until some strangers on huge white horses forced their way past the mine owner and carried him away to Haven to become a Herald Trainee.
The remaining books tell us of Mags’ life adjusting to the real world, the friends he makes, and the decisions he makes; setting us up for CLOSER TO HOME of the Herald Spy.
And, you know? It wasn't as bad as I remembered.
All of Misty's novels are based on the more "interesting" characters; therefore, Mags is different (to the point just approaching Mary Sue-dom) from all of the other Heralds. All of her novels stick the climax somewhere in the last 20 pages. All of them talk about food so much that I get hungry reading them. And all of them could use a second copyedit (perhaps a developmental edit as well) and some thorough fact-checking.
I found myself liking Mags a lot more the second time around, though I found Dallen irritating. He's giving away the Companion's secrets! They were all quite serious about hiding the fact that they are reborn in the other novels; why has this changed? I did find the parts about the conflict over building the Collegium interesting. (It also explains away the change in teaching styles that irritated me before.) The timeline is wonky, but I've gotten used to the lack of fact-checking, so it doesn't bother me as much anymore. (Anyone else wonder where the whole arrows thing went?)
Overall, it was not up to par with the rest of the Valdemar novels, but it was a decent read if you're looking for something fluffy.
I've seen reviews complaining of "Mary Sue" and so similar to the other previous books. I have to just give it the dumbed down comment of "Well DUH!" If it's not broken, don't change it for change's sake! The story stands on it's own, but is enriched by the details that harken back to that original battered paperback trilogy that I've replaced over 10 times and now have on my Kindle, and continue the magick that IS Mercedes Lackey and the Heralds of Valdemar!
Mags isn't perfect, he and his friends' flaws get them into messes, but the core nature of the Heralds get them back out, with help from the Companions, of course. His frustrations are ones that anyone who is in a situation that is totally foreign to them would predictably be feeling.
My only question is, when does Mags get to set up that the Trainees have to do their own mending and help out in the kitchen?! LOL
Most recent customer reviews
Mercedes Lackey always turns out a winner!