author: Mercedes Lackey
series: Collegium Chronicles #4
published: 2 October 2012
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Mags, a young Herald trainee in Haven, the capital city of the kingdom of Valdemar, has talents not commonly found in Herald trainees. Recognizing this, the King's Own Herald decides to train Mags as a spy in order to uncover the secrets of a mysterious new enemy who has taken an interest in Mags himself. Why is the even deeper mystery. The answers can only be found in the most unexpected corners of Mags' past...assuming he can live long enough to find them.
I really love everything Collegium Chronicles brings to the Valdemar universe. Even aside from the storyline itself, it gives such a comprehensive look into Haven and the world of the Heralds, of how it all works. For someone who is as big a fan as I am, this is wonderful.
And Mags is a character who has become one of my favorites. There is so much to love about his story as we travel with him through this series and watch him grow. I think what draws me to Mags so much is the way in which, while he grows, his fundamental self doesn’t. He stays honest and sweet, noble and kind, no matter what he goes through. There’s something moving about him, about seeing a child come from literally nothing and watching him come into his own.
While maybe this story isn’t as fast-paced as some of the others, I still enjoyed it just as much. It gave us some good insight as to Mags’ past, from before he even remembers. In essence, this is as much a survival story as a fantasy, which is in keeping with Mags’ history. He’s put in situations that no one and nothing could have prepared him for, and it is only his smarts and sheer determination that allow him to survive.