Friday, December 23, 2011
Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey
Mags, recently arrived in Haven after being chosen by the Companion Dallen, is still finding it a bit hard to fit in. Even though everyone keeps telling him that he is supposed to be there, Mags still feels it can be yanked away from him at any time. Mags, who grew up as a virtual slave in a gem mine, came from a level of poverty nobody else can even begin to grasp, let alone relate to. It's that poverty though that taught Mags to never complain and be a bit intolerant of other's complaining. It's stopping him from being befriended by most of the other trainees, other than a few loners, like himself.
The isolation grew even more when he was "recognized" by foreign assassins, and now the ForeSeers are seeing his hands covered in blood, standing by the King. Between his "foreignness", his unsociable tendencies, and the new visions; his fellow students and even a few other Heralds, start to doubt whether or not he really belongs there. It's up to a thirteen-year-old Mags to figure out what's going on so he can prove himself once and for all. Somewhere in there, he has to learn to play a new game, figure out who his parents are, and try to make some more friends. It's going to test Mags to the core, a core that will either break or become stronger.
I'm going to admit to be a little ashamed of myself for taking so long in reading this book. I had read the first book in The Collegium Chronicles over two years. I actually reviewed Foundations back in October of 2009. I'm not really sure what took me so long in delving back into the world of Valdemar as seen through Mags eyes. In my defense though, even if it took me years to buy the second book, I read in within a few days of the purchase.
Mags is the typical Mercedes Lackey hero. When I say typical, I mean it in the nicest possible way. He is a Herald in training who from a young age has had to deal with hardships that most of us could never understand. Instead of him being broken and bitter by it, he has grown into a young man who cares about others and just wants to do what is right. He tries his hardest to be accepted and to fit in, but never really feels like he belongs. He has a few friends, but even then he thinks they could go away at any time. So when his right to be there is challenged by those who should be accepting him, he takes it upon himself to prove to everyone that he in fact was rightfully chosen by Dallen and that he is meant to be a great Herald.
I'm not saying he doesn't whine and feel sorry for himself at times, because he does. What thirteen-year-old doesn't? What I love about Mags, and most of her heroes/heroines, is that he doesn't wallow in self pity (at least not for long) and he takes it upon himself to fix the problem. If others think he is going to kill the King, he is going to prove that the ForeSeers are wrong or not understanding their visions totally. He manages to do just that.
He puts himself into danger more than once, a few times coming out the other end with a few bruises and broken bones. He finds a place amongst the other trainees and manages to make even more friends, friends who will stand by him no matter what. He comes through the trials even stronger and better for it. He is a character I can't wait to meet again in the third book. Now I just need to get off my butt and buy it.