Foundation (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles, Book 1)
by Mercedes Lackey
Review by Beth Slater
DAW Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780756405243
Date: 07 October 2008 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Mags – so named for his eyes like a magpie's – mines for the shinies. He is raised as an orphan in the household of an abusive, cruel gem miner who takes in orphans to mine for him year round. He provides the minimum of needs for the orphans in regards to food or clothing, causing quite a few deaths and maimings. To Mags this is simply how life is, until at thirteen, he is Chosen by Dallen, a Companion, one of the magical horses of Valdemar, to be a Herald to the King. Together they will go to the newly formed Collegium to learn to work together as a team and Mags will discover that his world was much larger than he ever imagined.
Mags travels to the Collegium knowing his entire world is changing, but with little idea as to how much. Dallen tries to shield Mags from the shock as much as possible, educating him mind-to-mind while Mags learns – until Dallen receives his own shock as he finds that Mags has his own ways of adapting to new and unusual situations.
Used to being solitary, Mags finds the social situations unnerving, preferring the company of the Companions, but even in the Collegium there are all sorts of people who make up the Kings' community of Bards, Healers, and Heralds. Mags soon discovers that one cannot judge a book by its cover, but also that the best way to learn is to listen and watch.
Having been told that Heralds are all good, he continues to distrust his new world until he discovers that not all the Heralds agree on the Collegium. It is a new idea on how to train the new Heralds, Bards, and Healers. But knowing that there is discord in his new, perfect world and yet everyone seems to still function and work together seems to set Mags more at ease. But as the semester progresses it would seem that Mags has made more of an impression than he would like to think – his quiet, watchful ways have caught the eye of someone powerful…and more importantly, so have have Mags' friends.
As usual for Lackey, it's a great book. A forceful reminder as to why I hate reading series before they are finished because I hate waiting for the next one to come out to find out what happens next! The characters are wonderful, and you really want to find out the complete story as you go because, if you've read any of the other Valdemar series, you know she'll follow through. It has been so long, though, since I've read about Vanyel that I'll have to go back to brush up on those references. There aren't many of them, so new readers should figure out easily that this is a huge series and where to look.