Series: The Collegium Chronicles #5
Published by DAW on October 1st 2013
Number of Pages: 342
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Purchase: At Amazon
Mags returns to the Collegium, but there are mixed feelings--his included--about him actually remaining there. No one doubts that he is and should be a Herald, but he is afraid that his mere presence is going to incite more danger right in the heart of Valdemar. The heads of the Collegia are afraid that coming back to his known haunt is going to give him less protection than if he went into hiding. Everyone decides that going elsewhere is the solution for now. So since he is going elsewhere--why not return to the place he was found in the first place and look for clues? And those who are closest to him, and might provide secondary targets, are going along. With Herald Jadrek, Herald Kylan (the Weaponsmaster's chosen successor), and his friends Bear, Lena, and Amily, they head for the Bastion, the hidden spot in the hills that had once been the headquarters of a powerful band of raiders that had held him and his parents prisoner. But what they find is not what anyone expected.
There were a number of flashbacks in this book. Which is good if it’s been a while since you read the first book in this series, but if you mostly remember what happened, there are quite a few pages to skip over. This book wasn’t as slow as some of the earlier books in this series, but it wasn’t as suck you in as the previous book either. It was a mixture of both.
I liked the mention of Tayledras and their vales in the book. I also liked the circuit bits, and how not all the towns Mags and Jakyr visited were happy to have Heralds. I expected a bit more of the caves though, since it had been talked about so much in the beginning. And how that was the last place Mags’ parents had been alive and all.
I did end up liking Bey. His personality made sense for his character, and I could see why the others liked him. I’m also curious as to what Mags is going to do with the skills he picked up from him in the future. (As to the extent of those skills, and the how? It’s a bit unbelievable honestly, but did make for some interesting fight scenes…)
There aren’t any more books listed in this series, which is both good and bad. Good since the series kinda dragged along and I wasn’t sure it was worth finishing at first. And bad because the ending of this book doesn’t really wrap anything up. There’s an idea of how to get the assassins to stop following and trying to kidnap Mags. But we don’t know if it’s actually going to work.
There is also romance in the book. Not just for Mags, but Lena and Bear, as well as Mags’ senior Herald on the circuit. There is no description of sex in the book, but there is at least one scene that it is obvious it is going on. And there’s a really funny part where Jakyr has to give “the talk” to Mags in more detail than was expected!
Overall, it wasn’t a horrible book. But I still think books #1 and #4 were the best in the series. If it was possible to skip #2 and #3 and still understand what was going on, I’d say do that. But unfortunately you’ll end up lost.