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Book Review

Book Cover

Collegium Chronicles
Book III


Author: Mercedes Lackey
Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $9.99
ISBN: 978 1 781 16589 8
Available 23 November 2012

Valdemar is a world of both wonder and danger. Mags, having escaped his low life as a mine worker, has secured a place as a trainee herald, more than this is peasant background gets him recruited into being a spy for the king. But life for a young lad is also dominated by school and the friendships he creates there...

Changes is the third book in the Collegium Chronicles, part of the Valdemar series of books by Mercedes Lackey.

Lackey was always going to run into problems basing her new series around a young lad who goes to school, with his best friends, a male and a female, who engages in games and, outside of school, engages in adventures. It all smacks a little too much of medieval Harry Potter. Unfortunately, it reads that way as well.

The book opens with a protracted description of the colleges games, here fans of the books will be as thrilled as fans of Harry Potter were, personally it left me a bit cold, but then I have not spent a couple of decades in this world.

Lackey has extensively mined this world and for those readers she has taken with her, both the author and audience seem to want to revel in the minutia, rather than get on with any engaging plot.

What sounds like a criticism isn’t really, this phenomena happens in most long running series, even in a few I prefer to read, but whilst it delights the hard core fans it makes it more difficult for the casual reader to either care or engage with the story.

Games out of the way Mags is off, undercover, with Nikolas running a pawn shop, trying to discover the reasons behind the assassination attempt against the King and the identity of the mysterious enemy.

I had hoped that by this time we would be getting real clarity regarding both Mags’s secret ancestry, or just what the hell was going on. Seems this is to be left for some future novel. It’s a shame as three books into the series so much is taken up with his friendships/love life, spying and generally engaging in stuff, that what we actually want to know falls by the wayside.

The book is well written, Lackey could hardly have published so many books without at least the basic requisite tools to tell a tale.

The book does not work well as a standalone novel, but will appeal to those who have read the previous two books in the series and Lackey fans in general.


Charles Packer

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