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Foundation: Book One of the Collegium Chronicles: A Valdemar Novel Mass Market Paperback – October 6, 2009
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“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
Top Customer Reviews
Firstly, the writing style is overly simplistic. It almost reads like a Young Adult book. I think it's to try and showcase the main character's general ignorance about the world at large, but since the book is still written in the third person, it brings the whole book down. Speaking of the main character, he's a bit flat....and also seems to be near perfect at everything he does with little struggle. There also isn't much in the way of story...very little really happens. I suspect that's because this is more of a just prologue for more books to come, especially since the ending kind of came out of nowhere and left things unexplained.
The most glaring problem for me though, as a long time reader of the series, are the many places that it contradicts things that are stated in other books, and that even though it's supposed to be taking place hundreds of years in the past (from the "present day" Valdemar reign of Selenay), some things actually seem to be more advanced, and the rest seem exactly the same, as if the passing of time has very little effect.
It's also worth noting that if you've never read a Valdemar book, this is not the one to start with. Most of the other books offer at least some background, information, or explanation of the general aspects Valdemar...this one very much does not, and just assumes that you already know. You particularly would want to read The Last Herald Mage trilogy before this one.
I'm afraid this story will annoy serious fans and bewilder those new to the otherwise admirable Valdemar series. Skip it.
In a nutshell: don't waste your money on the hardcover version, and unless you're a big fan of Valdemar, and HAVE to read every book out there, you can probably live your life without having read it and be okay.
The main character of the book is a TOTAL Mary Sue. He's practically illiterate, malnourished, knows nothing at all of the world outside his slavery, but once he is freed and Chosen, he pretty much can do anything he tries to do, and do it better than most other people. Even if he's never done it before. Or even heard about it before. And he does it all in a totally unrealistic short period of time. Oh, and his Gift of Mindspeech is greater than anybody else's, ever. And he has no failings (unless you count his wavering doubt of others/self-doubt as a failing). He is also, apparently, the only one in the ENTIRE Circle who can do what he does, and he does it as a newly Chosen.
If that weren't off-putting enough, the characters in the book play blindman's bluff, and I Spy (and actually call it "I Spy"). The student Healer-herbalist uses pills rather than tea and knows all about heart disease and its causes ("Cut down on red meat..."), there is a mechanical log-splitter, the houses have wall-to-wall carpeting in them and are furnished like houses in the modern world. There are so many references to 20th-century type things.... I don't know how she can put this in a medieval setting. And yet, this is supposed to take place 500 years before Talia.
It's been less than 50 years since Vanyel died, but Stefan died a long time ago from the way it reads....Read more ›
Mags is distrustful of his new environment and has a difficult time making friends. He slowly uncovers the hidden power struggles and politics in Haven, and is relieved to discover the hidden discord, as this is something he can understand and trust.
Foundation appears to have been written to explain why the method of training Heralds changed between Vanyel's time and that of Lavan Firestorm and Talia. The whole book spans about 4-6 months in the life of a 13 year old. The name of the reigning King or Heir is never mentioned, unlike every other Valdemar book. It was an enjoyable read that I had trouble putting down, but the book was shallower than all previous Valdemar books. I can tell Lackey intends to develop a new series following this book, but the novel did not do a good job of standing alone. It did feel like a young adult book, good, but I always hope for more in a Valdemar book. Guess I shouldn't be surprised, as most Valdemar series' start chronicling the life of a teenager, with the exception of Winds of Fate and Exile's Honor.
I thought the title Foundation was misleading as Herald's Collegium was founded a year before the story starts, and Mags has nothing to do with the process. The book felt unfinished as I did not understand or feel the significance of Mags' character in the world of Valdemar.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Save your money and go to the library. This is the first book of a five book series that should have been three books at the most. The main character is well developed. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Wildlife girl
Good book, I have in hard back as well. Kindle makes it easier to transport when traveling.Published 10 days ago by Connie Stafford
I haven't been reading a whole lot these last few years. As a young child through graduating high school I'd read anywhere between 2-5 books a week. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lexie
The usual Mercedes Lackey- interesting characters, well written and a good story, but the book does not so much end as just stop. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Linda
Mags is rescued from deplorable conditions and (intentionally or not) rescues others. He learns things about himself that, I think, surprises him and pleasantly so.Published 3 months ago by Sylvie
Interesting characters and despite some confusion with the book's name 'foundation' - which has no real baring on the story of Mags - I found it a good read.Published 3 months ago by Harry Benjamin