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Redoubt: Book Four of the Collegium Chronicles (A Valdemar Novel) (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles) Hardcover – October 2, 2012
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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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
“Has everything you’d expect in a Valdemar book…and it’s wonderful.” — Romantic Times
“Recalls Lackey's earliest Valdemar books... a worthy entry in the overall saga.” — Publishers Weekly
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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In the previous books of the Collegium Chronicles many people had problems with Mags' country bumpkin speech pattern. I didn't have as much of a problem simply because Lackey alluded that this was part of the face, part of the work that Mags' would be doing. That being said, I liked the loss of the bumpkin speech, it's just too bad that the loss of his accent came with a loss of his character, and the tragic loss of actual plot. (Ladies, this book is like watching Magic Mike, you don't show for the story, you come for the so called "eye candy". In this case, the candy is not half naked men, but a white creature with four hooves and a person in uniform)
I'm trying to avoid spoilers, so I'll make my criticisms brief.
Once again, there is little resolution with regards to Mags' past. The little we get is practically useless,comes at the bitter end of the book, and makes no sense.
There's no character development aside from Mags coming to terms with certain fears, Amily being able to walk, and a kerfuffle for Bear & Lena(primarily Bear). The 100 or so pages of Mags' dreams do little to add to the story or to character development. Imagine reading a nightmare journal, and that's about half the story.
The other half is a recap of Kirball (fun but not exactly worthy of a plot point), and stolen recaps of the other books. Literally. Cut and Paste memories(both part of the dreaming and not).
Readers will meet new characters at the end(and I mean the end because we don't really meet them until we're down to the dregs) with interest. However, this comes with two caveats. 1) Readers will be interested because they're familiar with the world of Velgarth or 2)they will be interested because Lackey provides little information and leaves lots of undesirable and confusing guesswork.
It's obvious Lackey's heart isn't in this series anymore. I just wish that she would have realized that even if her heart isn't with Valdemar anymore, there are reader's who ARE invested in Mags' tale. Readers don't need Mag's to be the amazing stories of yesteryear, but is it too much to ask that Lackey write something worth reading, even if it won't be treasured? I hate hate hate to give Lackey a poor review, but this book isn't a book, it's a cop-out.
So what is going on with this Collegium Chronicles?? Did Mercedes Lackey herself write this or just lend her name to some fanfic?
I made it through the first three in the series and couldn't help but notice that the scope and depth of Valdemar seemed to be shrinking rather than being opened up. Then this latest installment came out, I purchased, and cannot get it read...
Well, I did try...slogged through chapter 1 (the author telling every last detail of a royal wedding), forged ahead into chapter 2 only to get waylaid by an 'of course' thrown in most every paragraph (once I noticed I couldn't un-notice...sorry). The story was going nowhere so I flipped ahead a couple chapters...got a kirball game...flipped some more, planning a kirball game...one more try, folks were sore because a kirball game was tied and no one won any bets....geeez! Enough of the kirball already.
At that point I skipped to the last 100 pages and found, yay! a story going on. There is some nice stuff there with a Karse monk and his Suncat who help Mags. As others have pointed out, there is really nothing resolved at the end, just some more clues to ensure there will be...sigh...a fifth book. May we all hope for something worthy of the Valdemar series.
Aside from that, it wasn't a bad book. The plot kept my attention throughout, even if some of it was reused and recycled from other books. Sometimes tried and true just WORKS. Especially when you are reading it more as a guilty pleasure than for a true read.
Mags serves as decoration at a royal wedding, continues his undercover work, and experiences some terrifying dreams.
If my summary seems jerky and pointless, it accurately represents the book. Lackey rarely follows the usual novel format anyway, but she is normally such a good storyteller the lack of a main storyline is forgivable. She really dropped the ball in this book. The first section isn't bad, or at least not any worse than earlier books in the series, but then she goes into pages and pages of dream sequence that I mostly skipped as Mags gradually realizes his situation. (Can't be more specific without getting into spoilers.) Then she gets back to real storytelling, only to hand the reader a limp and unsatisfying ending that doesn't resolve anything. I honestly wouldn't mind her dragging out the series, if each book offered a good solid tale. She is a superb storyteller and this isn't worthy of her skill. Only recommended for hard-core Lackey fans.