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Intrigues: Book Two of the Collegium Chronicles (A Valdemar Novel) (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles) Hardcover – October 5, 2010
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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
About the Author
Mercedes Lackey is a full-time writer and has published numerous novels and works of short fiction, including the best-selling Heralds Of Valdemar series. She is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots. She can be found at mercedeslackey.com.
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Intrigues is the second in the Collegium Chronicles series and continues to focus on Mags, a former mine slave. I have loved this character from the beginning. He was neglected and abused, as well as woefully under educated, during his years at the mine. He saw things and went through things that would have broken most people, yet somehow his spirit stayed alive and stayed strong. Instead of using his lack of education and lack of knowledge about the world as an excuse to give up or to complain, he finds a way to use it to his advantage. There is an undeniably good message in that.
The mystery and intrigue is at high levels in this book, with Mags' past at the center of a lot of it. He is a person without a past. No one knows who he is or where he came from until a foreign operative seems to recognize him. And that moment of recognition puts Mags in the spotlight, and not in a good way.
My Recommendation: I love all of the Valdemar books and this one is an important part of the series. Not only does it give some information about the Collegium, it focuses on a character that is different from many of the others that have been the focus of other series within the saga.
But Intrigues felt rushed and incomplete.
So Mags finally gets fed up with Bear and Lena, two of the biggest whiners Lackey has ever inflicted on us. Given pre-ability Vanyel, pre-mage Elspeth, Pol, and An'desha, that is saying something. So he explodes, and gives them a piece of his mind rather than cater to their fragile little egos. And they give it back to him, taking him to task for not fitting in. Really? Were they raised as slaves in total ignorance for the first 12 years of their lives? Oh, that's right, they just have difficult parents. Boo-freaking-hoo.
So Mags accidentally hurts Dallen, and runs away before he can be repudiated. After all, he feels it is what he deserves. When he finally comes back, does he get an acknowledgement of how unfairly he was treated? Nope. He gets a lecture on doing his duty as a Herald, and has to save the day - AGAIN - to prove his worth.
The editing is problematic as well, though that didn't bother me. It just felt hurried. We don't get any really solid character development. After reading Changes, I wish this could have formed the first part of that novel, with the middle of this book being totally excised. While I'll read this anytime I go back through Mags's story, it is close to being my least favorite of the Valdemar books.
So pick this up if you are already a fan of the series. If you are new to the world of Valdemar, I would suggest starting with Magic's Pawn or Arrows of the Queen. You'll get to this eventually, and will be able to take it for what it is - a mediocre novel from an usually good author.
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.
His friends need to get over themselves. Yea yea they're kids but still. That's a lot of hurtful things to say and I don't care how sorry you are, you've shown your true colors and I would have ended the friendships if my friends did that to me.
Also, why is the actual plot in the last chapter in the book? It was all pointless conflict amung the trainees then bam! Oh yea, here's the real threat!
Not one of her better books but I had some time and it wasnt a terrible read. I'm hoping the next one will be better but I have low expectations of this series now.