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Book Review

Book Cover

Collegium Chronicle
Book IV


Author: Mercedes Lackey
Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $9.99
ISBN: 978 1 781 16591 1
Available 28 December 2012

Mags escapes the life of a mining serf when a telepathic Companion chooses him to become a Herald of the King. Together Horse and man maintain the king’s law, protecting the population. Changes in the land of Valdemar have brought forth the colleges, places of study for the lands most prominent professions. Mags finds that school also has its challenges, but finds friendship with Bear and Amily and a direction when he is recruited to be a spy for the kingdom...

Reboubt is the fourth book in the Collegium Chronicles, part of the Valdemar series of book by Mercedes Lackey.

Lackey is a great tease, if you have been following the books, apart from all the school guff, the two main narrative threads are, who are the stranger intent on evil in the kingdom and what does this have to do with Mags's missing past?

Well, after my criticism of the previous book of being all smoke and mirrors, with little actual narrative progression, we are finally on the home stretch with book four which starts to answer some central questions whilst, simultaneously, adding some more in.

Lackey seems to stick to a well-worn formula in each of these books: open with an event, in this case a wedding, throw in some Kirball, introduce a crisis, drugged recollections of his time down the mines and a rescue, with everybody back home for lashings of ginger beer. Its function, in this series, is akin to a nursery rhyme, in that the repetition or the known is comforting to the reader.

The structure also allows Lackey to pepper the story with tit bits of information to entice her loyal following, but from a neutral perspective it does feel like most of the books are overlong for their actual story content. But then, I don’t think that the books are designed to challenge the reader, rather they are akin to spending some relaxing time amongst well known characters. The pace then is more of a potter than a run.

That said, this is better than the previous book as we actually feel that the overall story is finally getting out of the school and getting on with sorting out the central plot lines.

Although it is formulaic, the book is none-the-less well written and should appeal to the young adult target audience. The character of Mags works well, silly accent aside, and Lackey has taken pains to develop his character through the series.

So, we look forward to book five and hopefully the resolution of the story.


Charles Packer

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