Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book Review: Redoubt by Mercedes Lackey

Redoubt: The Collegium Chronicles Book Four
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Publication: DAW Hardcover; 1 edition (October 2, 2012)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: This fourth book of the Collegium Chronicles starts out as one sort of book and then turns into something else. When the story begins, Mags and the rest of Haven are preparing for the wedding of Crown Prince Sedric and his bride Lydia. So the story begins with a romance that turns other characters' thoughts to romance too. Mags questions the consequences of his feelings for his mentor's daughter Amily and Bear and Lena run off to get married which solves some major problems for both of them that were begun in earlier books in this series. It was a good story about growing up and forming adult relationships. But there was more...

We also get to see Mags playing his beloved game of Kirball and learning in every situation not excluding watching rope walkers entertain at the wedding. Mags is constantly observing everything which is a large part of why he is being trained by the King's Own to be a spy. But the one thing that he is willing to overlook is the mystery of his own beginnings. He has done some research and learned that his parents where well-dressed foreigners who died when he was two or three. He has come to a dead end in his search to learn more.

It looks like they mystery is coming to him when he is kidnapped, drugged and dragged into Karse by the same assassins who have been attempting to kill or kidnap other Valdemarans and who have attempted to kidnap him before. 

The sections of the story where he is experiencing drugged hallucinations about the terrible time he spent as a small child in the mines were very moving. (As was the description of his life there that he was finally able to share with his mentor Nikolas and a Healer.) Gradually, he gains control of his mind and manages to escape his captors in a raging thunderstorm. 

Then we have a survival story of a young man who isn't trained in wilderness survival and has few assets but who has a strong will and desire to survive and return home. After being attacked by demons, Mags is rescued by a hermit Karsite priest and his suncat. He learns that life isn't good for anyone is Karse because of the abuse of the black robed priests who control the demons. He is recaptured, drugged again by the assassins, and gets some information about his past that he will still need to sort out since it came as a series of drug-induced visions. 

Beginning with romance and ending with heart-pounding danger, REDOUBT moves the story of Mags along. I look forward to more volumes so that more of the mysteries will be solved. 

Favorite Quote:
But when he asked Dallen to help him out with Amily, Dallen would only chuckle and say, :That sort of thing is best left for you to discover for yourself.:

Definitely nothing like fair. I don't want to work it out fer myself, he thought with irritation. I want instructions, like! I want...maps! Guidebooks! All this discoverin' for yourself stuff is overrated!
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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