Author: Mercedes Lackey
Series: The Collegium Chronicles #5, Valdemar #11
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fantasy
Publisher: Daw fantasy
5th sentence, 74th page: If anything, it was with a certain measure of relief.
When Herald Trainee Mags was abducted by two magical foreign assassins, he spent weeks drugged, robbed of his Mindspeech, and unable to communicate with Dallen, his Companion. Trapped in terrifying, drug-induced dreams, his only moments of peace came from brief visions of a woman who he felt might be his mother. Though he eventually managed to escape his captors, he left with many unanswered questions.
Moreover, Mags knows that, after searching for him for years, the assassins will not give up.
Mags has powerful allies in Haven, and together, the heads of Herald’s Collegium devised a plan: to send Mags, all of his friends and loved ones, and other trained fighters into the hills to a stronghold called The Bastion. Banded together, they are less vulnerable to the assassins, less likely to be picked off one by one.
The Bastion is the same stronghold where Mags’ parents had been murdered by bandits. The drugs he’d been given opened up memories that couldn’t be his – and gave him knowledge of fighting styles unknown in Valdemar. Perhaps his new-found memories will spark recognition in the place where his parents had once been imprisoned. Mags might unlock the secret of who his parents had been and, in doing so, finally know his own identity.
This was a fantastic conclusion to the Collegium Chronicles. The slow lead up to understanding Mags’ past and his integration into the Heraldic society finally hits its climax and we are welcomed into a new age for Mags and his cohort. Getting a completely open look into his past let’s all the pieces of the puzzle that Lackey so painstakingly laid out fall into place.
I love this conclusion to the Collegium Chronicles, but there was never one story or challenge throughout the series (unlike say, the overall battle between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort). I’ve found this throughout the majority of Lackey’s books thus far, there isn’t one over-arching tale, but rather, a group of little ones. Normally I would find this tactic within writing really frustrating, after all, a character needs a good character arc. But in Lackey’s books, it works very well. The character arc is about finding oneself and your place in life, rather than an epic battle or one single lightbulb moment of self-discovery. This uniqueness is what keeps me coming back to Lackey’s books again and again.
Mags and Amily’s relationship is one of the least drastic literary relationships that I have ever come across. And I love it. They don’t have a passionate and all-consuming love, and there is almost no drama throughout their courtship. They are both quiet and contained people, and this shows in the way that they handle themselves in their relationship. It’s the way in which they are so distinctly different from others that draws me in. It’s a great reminder of the fact that love takes many forms and it doesn’t have to be bright and flashy to be real.
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