Author: Mercedes Lackey
Published By: DAW Books
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I enjoyed book one of The Collegium Chronicles so much that I couldn’t wait to read the second book in the series, Intrigues. Luckily enough, I bought this book way back and had it handily on my bookshelf when the need arose.
Intrigues takes place shortly after Foundation. Mags’ friends Bear and Lena are having some difficult times. Lena’s father is a well-known bard, but he is so full of himself that he barely even notices his own daughter. In fact, she is startled and crushed to discover he doesn’t even recognize her, such is his infatuation with himself. Meanwhile, Bear’s family doesn’t believe he belongs in the Healers Collegium. Despite the fact that Bear has not Healing gift, he is extraordinarily well-versed in the use of herbs and plants in healing. This is not enough to persuade his family that his place is at the Healers Collegium and they have decided he should return home, marry and continue the family line.
Meanwhile, Mags is dealing with his own problems. In addition to his studies and a new game/competition he has entered, Mags finds he must defend himself against nay-sayers. The Farseers have had visions of the king covered in blood and have the distinct impression that this future incident is caused by a foreigner. Mags has just discovered that his parents are foreigners, according to the guards’ official archives. Mags had already believed he was not worthy of all the special Herald Trainee treatment, but now that he is getting the cold shoulder and people are whispering about him, he really feels out of place.
When a disastrous accident takes place, Mags finds himself at the center of blame. Can he rise above the damage he is believed to have caused and save Valdemar from a hidden assailant, or will he fall prey to his own insecurities and lose everything he has grown to care for?
I read the hardcover version of Intrigues and discovered it was plagued with dreaded typos again. But this time around, things weren’t so bad that I couldn’t get through the book without re-reading portions or cringing in disbelief. I’m sure latter versions were probably edited better. The storyline is just as – forgive the pun – intriguing as ever, especially when we discover that the merchants from the last book were actually imposters. Who could these people be and why do they have such animosity towards the people of Haven?
Mags is a likeable character, though sometimes I think he is too insecure. Of course, that will change with age. After all, it is easy to forget that he only came to the Collegium less than a year ago. I do love the banter between him and Companion Dallen – pretty funny stuff most of the time. I think it very important that Dallen always reminds Mags that he is on his side, but manages to correct his Chosen when needed. I also enjoy the flirtations with Amily, the King’s Own’s daughter. I had originally thought that there would be a spark between Mags and Lena, but it would seem that Lena is destined to be with Bear.
All-in-all, another great book and I am definitely hooked on The Collegium Chronicles. I can’t wait to find out who these “foreigners” are and why they want to hurt the king. Is Mag’s parentage relevant to all this? I suppose I won’t find out until I read the next book in the series.