Series: The Collegium Chronicles #4
Published by Penguin on October 2nd 2012
Number of Pages: 400
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery
Purchase: At Amazon
Life at the Heralds' Collegium in Haven has definitely improved for Mags. He's even become something of a hero since risking his life to rescue his girlfriend Amily -- daughter of Nikolas, the King's Own Herald -- from Karsite kidnappers. His training as an undercover agent for the crown is progressing. He is no longer the "foreigner" so many students distrusted. Life is good.
But Mags still doesn't know who his parents were, and though he knows there are skilled, determined assassins hunting for him, hired by Karse, Valdemar's longstanding enemy, he doesn't know why. So it is necessary for Mags to be always on his guard.
Mags has grown extremely strong, agile, and remarkably adept at running across rooftops, slipping down drain pipes, and sneaking unseen along dark alleyways. But now it is time for Mags to graduate to a new role: Nikolas' partner and information broker. And Mags discovers that he's quite good at his new job. So good, in fact, that Nikolas decides to let him run the undercover operation in town alone one hot summer night.
Mags has barely unlocked the shop when everything goes black in a blinding flash of pain.
He wakes with an agonizing headache, bound, blindfolded, in a conveyance of some kind. But worst of all, he's head-blind. No Mindspeech -- he can't even sense his Companion Dallen. And if he can't sense or hear Dallen, then no one can sense him. And if no one can sense him, then this may well be his demise.
Having not enjoyed the last book in this series as much as I usually love Valdemar, I was a bit skeptical of this book as well. But having already purchased it, I figured I might as well give it the benefit of the doubt. The first half of the book was more of the same. I’d place it somewhere in the 3 to 3.5 stars range.
The second half? Was so completely different it was almost as if two books had been shoved together and a cover put onto them to make a single book. The plot totally did an about face and got interesting again. Where I slogged through the first half of the book, the second half made me not want to put it down. I had to know what was going to happen next, how he would make it out of the next fix.
And Suncats! Yes, Valdemar is primarily about Companions and Heralds. And I like it that way. But I do love reading about Suncats, and the pelagirs and such sometimes too. We really haven’t had many books that have a Suncat as an important character, so Reaylis was a fun touch.
We get a little bit closer to finding out about Mags’ past in this book. But not really all that much info comes out. Dragging that plot point on for so many books is getting fairly old. There has to be other things that could be done with Mags if there had to be x-number of books in this arc.
For the second half of the book, I would say it earned 4 stars. But due to the slow first half, I couldn’t honestly give it that many overall. If you love Valdemar and like Mags even a little bit, this book is worth reading for that second half. If you haven’t read much Valdemar, avoid this set and go for one of the better older ones. Like the Gryphon books, the Tarma and Kethry books, or my favorites, Herald-Mage Vanyel.