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Foundation: The Collegium Chronicles (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles #1)

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,286 Ratings  ·  407 Reviews
Mags had been working at the Pieters’s mine, slaving in the dark, cold seams, looking for sparklies, for as long as he could remember. The children who worked the mine were orphans, kids who had been abandoned, who had lost their parents, or were generally unwanted. But Mags was different.

Mags was “Bad Blood,” because his parents were bandits who had been killed in a raid
Audio CD, Abridged
Published October 7th 2008 by Brilliance Audio
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 07, 2008 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Valdemar fans
I liked this book - although I read several bad reviews for it on Amazon. I want to know what happens next to Mags - and I don't care if they have fondue in Valdemar 500 years before Selenay or play "I Spy" at parties and even - GASP - call it "I Spy".

I guess I'm just a Mercedes Lackey junkie. I didn't see the same flaws that had the other reviewers calling it lazy writing - what they pointed out as goof ups or flaws were things that I just accepted as part of the story. I guess that makes me u
Jun 15, 2014 Elspeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me start this review with saying I just finished reading this book for the third time, so needless to say I truly love this series. I have been reading Mercedes Lackey for years, I love her earlier work but her stuff in the past ten years or so have just been meh for me. This series makes me believe Lackey found what she was missing, the heart of her stories that Arrows, Winds, Magic, Oath, and By the Sword has. I don’t know if she just couldn’t give up her characters from Winds and just dra ...more
Julie (jjmachshev)
Nov 05, 2008 Julie (jjmachshev) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fans
Shelves: 2008-reads
I'm a Mercedes Lackey fan from way back. I devoured her 'Magic' trilogy and haven't looked back since. This is one fantasy author I continue to buy as soon as her books hit the shelf because I know the story will pull me in and have me cheering for the hero or heroine. Her newest "Foundation" is no exception and as a bonus, it's set in Valdemar!

Mags is an orphan who ended up in the hands of a greedy cruel mine owner as a baby. His work in those mines began as soon as he was old enough to stand a
Sep 02, 2011 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How to write a Mercedes Lackey Valdemar book in Three Easy Steps:

Step One: Create a main character who is abused, socially stunted, living in abject poverty, living with religious zealots, or gay.

Step Two: Have a Companion choose them.

Step Three: Upon arrival in Haven, have them be awkward but keenly observant, picking up on a dastardly plot no one else has noticed, thereby saving the kingdom, while making friends, becoming more secure in their Gifts, and learning a few valuable life lessons al
Dec 27, 2008 Anna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Most of Lackey's novels follow an easily seen formula-the character has an unhappy to horrible life until they are Chosen, then everything becomes sparkles and kittens while they solve problems that only their special talents can fix. 'Foundation' is, sadly, not different.
Despite this commonality, the plots are usually interesting and well thought out. This book, however, was very disappointing in that area. While character development is desirable, it was too great of a focus, and left little
Well, it's no Magic's Pawn, but none of them ever will be again (let us not dwell on the probability that this is because I will never be twelve again) and in fact it's not a book I'm particularly ashamed of being given in hardcover. It sounds like a new series is being launched with some promising setup -- tension between the Heralds, Bards, and Healers! Herald turning on Herald! Ominous strangers from outside the borders! A certain lack of the preaching to the choir which has been driving me m ...more
Nov 22, 2011 Danica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-me
If you're looking for moral complexity or beautiful prose, you should direct your gaze elsewhere. Mercedes Lackey writes uncomplicated characters, in simple sentences, moving through a world that is entirely black and white. If the protagonist thinks poorly of a character on page seven, by page 307 that character has been revealed as a proud, shallow, child-murdering, power-hungry weasel. Good guys are easily identified when they share their last piece of bread with a starving orphan or put them ...more
A good start, but something that Lackey has been falling prey to lately is a lot of build-up and not paying it off in a satisfying way. I saw this in her latest Elemental book, and also The Phoenix Unchained.

An example from within the book is when Mags goes to a party, and Lackey spends almost two whole pages describing the food. Not necessary. She makes up for this (as always) with her characterization and conflict, but it is mostly unrealized. I assume she intends to finish it up trilogy-style
Nov 17, 2008 Annette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy Lovers
Shelves: fantasy
I picked this book up at my favorite bookstore - which foolishly provides nice comfy chairs right next to their shelves - and read it in about three sittings. (Yeah, right there in the store. Tsk, tsk!) I'd never read anything by Lackey before, although certainly her name must be familiar to anyone who frequents the sci-fi / fantasy section. I admit what drew me to the book in the first place was the audacity of namimg it "Foundation" (a word never used in the story, as far as I can remember), w ...more
Jess Miller
The Valdemar books are very much comfort reading-it was the first fantasy I every read and liked, back in high school, and I've always had a soft spot for them. The good guys are Very Very Good, the bad guys are Very Very Bad, and there are increasingly more details about life in a medieval(ish) society. overall, fun stuff, but definitely wait for the mass market.
Jul 14, 2014 Octobercountry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently read Mercedes Lackey's five-volume series The Collegium Chronicles . The books, in order, are:


Here, why don't I jot down a few words about the entire series, and not just the first book (no plot spoilers).

Lackey is perhaps best known for her long-running series about the fantasy kingdom Valdemar, and this set of five books are her most recent addition to the saga. The Valdemar books overall don't have to be read in any particular ord
Apr 13, 2009 Kiri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Either Lackey has lost her magic, or she's just lost her magic for me. This book has a lot in common with "Arrow's of the Queen" in that it's about an abused, disadvantaged youth who is Chosen by one of the mystical Companions of Valdemar and is transported into a new, very different life in the city of Haven. Mags, the protagonist, is certainly not the same person that Talia (protagonist of "Arrows of the Queen") and the tale of Mags finding a new life and a place for himself is all fine and we ...more
Apr 01, 2015 May rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I really enjoy Mercedes Lackey's books, especially her early Valdemar books (the Herald-Mage series and the Oathbreakers series). I so wanted to really like this book and, while I do like "Foundation," it has some serious flaws that prevented me from enjoying the book as much as I would have liked.
To begin with, this book takes place shortly after the Herald-Mage series and before all of the other Valdemar books. The writing is vintage Lackey--she writes fluidly and the characters are well drawn
Oct 06, 2015 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, this definitely felt like one of those easy to read comfort books that makes you want to curl up and finish in one sitting, with just the right amount of world building so that it doesn't hurt your brain. This may sound like a put down, but I intend it to mean the exact opposite. Sometimes a break from the epic EPICNESS of 800-1000 page fantasy tomes (which I often favor) is well appreciated. Sure this is another of those "chosen young lad rises from the depths of despair" kind of stories, b ...more
Oct 12, 2008 Jeffrey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lackey fans
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2008
Another Valdemar novel set in the time period prior to the Seleny novels but after the Mage Pawn and Griffin series. AS in the early volumes of each trilogy, this is more abbout introducing the characters, and leaves us kind of right in the middle of the story at the end. Its engaging and Mags, the main character seems to have several mysteries that will probably be fleshed out in the later books.

Nothing amazing, but another nice little story in the Lackey universe.
Dec 12, 2008 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like much of Lackey's recent work. I read 90% of the book learning the detail of the world and the intricacies of the main character (loving both by the way), but only after that 90% did any sort of plot emerge and that was superficial and unfinished. If you're a Lackey fan, give it a try. If you've never read Lackey, this is definitely not the place to start.
green tea girl
Apr 18, 2014 green tea girl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Argh, I *liked* this book, but in the end I could only give it three stars, maybe three and a half. Why so?

I think the characters made this book for me, and I think they were the only reason I finished it.

Other than that, the prose was so simplistic that by the end I was convinced I'd accidentally picked up a young adult book. I see now why other reviewers have called it "comfort reading" and literary junk food.

There's too much unnecessary description of food and Valdemarian holidays and so on t
Apr 04, 2014 Gemma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first encountered Mercedes Lackey's books at 13, with her "Arrows" trilogy, and she has always had a place on my bookshelves ever since. As I have grown older, I know I can always return to her books for a comfort read, and "Foundation" is no exception. Whilst the writing is quite simplistic (making it feel like a young adult read) it still contains Lackey's beautiful writing skills, enabling the reader to immerse themselves in the story. My major gripes, however, are that most stories rely on ...more
Oct 23, 2014 Dee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

Rereading ready for Closer to Home Valdemar The Herald Spy 1 (and to be honest I couldn't remember what happened in Bastion or Redoubt which didn't bode well so I thought, "What the heck, full reread, mo-fo!!")

I'm a Mercedes Lackey fan - have been for over twenty years now, I was 11 when I first read one. So momentum, nostalgia, everything is on the side of Ms Lackey. I'll admit, recent books have got a bit samey, but I'm a creature of habit - this doesn't bother me, and if it ain't bro
Oct 19, 2015 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite parts of the Valdemar epic saga are the Collegium so I love that there is now an entire series based on them! Foundation is the first in a (so far) five book series set in the Collegium. While Mags is the center of the series from the Herald Collegium, the Bardic and Healer Collegiums are also at play through Mags' two best friends.

Mags has spent his childhood as little more than a slave, a paid worker in name only. He has been neglected and abused his entire life and seen tho
Aug 06, 2013 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, ya
When I got this book as a birthday gift I was expecting a fluffy story once I learned the premise is that a young boy is chosen by a magical horse that can communicate with him telepathically. Despite this expectation though I still found the story to be weak.

I felt like this book was more of a backstory and an exploration of the setting of a future sequel than an interesting standalone book. I only found the plot interesting after through 2/3 of the book, and the truly exciting action was only
May 30, 2009 Victoria rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It pains me to say this, because Mercedes Lackey was once one of my favorite authors and I still love some of her earlier books, but this was just awful. It seems that she's become a bit of a novel mill and the quality is really suffering - I haven't read one of her new books that was better than middling in years, and this was the worst one yet.

Bad writing. Boring characters. Repetitive stories about things and people we've already heard all about. Worst of all, no plot at all until the final 1
C-Cose Daley
Oct 17, 2012 C-Cose Daley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
Yet another success from Mercedes Lackey!!!

I've seen many arguments about successful authors becoming somewhat formulaic the more they write in a particular genre. While I can understand that viewpoint, I have yet to understand why that is wrong. One uses a "formula"--any formula--because it works.

The difference in Lackey's case, and a few other authors in various genres, is that she manages to take this formula and make each telling completely authentic to the tale that she is telling. Her char
Mags was an orphan, enslaved in a mine. He believes that his parents were bandits who where killed while raiding, so Mags sees his fate as earned. He is bad blood, and not worth much. His world changes when he is rescued by the Royal Guard from his indentured servitude and chosen to be a Herald of Valdemar. Once at the newly established Collegium, Mags is immersed in the intrigues of court and deep, dark plots.

This is typical Mercedes Lackey territory. Young outcast who doesn't believe that they
I suppose my view of this book was somewhat colored by my eager anticipation, but it did not live up to my expectations at all. It was okay (as my stars indicate), but not great, and it brought very little that was new to the Valdemar table.

The characters were Valdemar stereotypes, with nothing added and much subtracted from previous characters. Mags is a little bit Skif, a little bit Talia, but holds none of the charm of either. I liked him because of the associations I have with the other two
Robin Witt
Mar 10, 2015 Robin Witt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I enjoyed this story, which was in many ways a pretty typical Herald trainee gets chosen and starts learning things kind of plot. I noticed that a lot of reviewers found this book slow, or short on plot - coming from my background, it's true that I would not have paid that much attention to food, or to adults playing games at midwinter... but I think that for Mags, the point of view character, the focus was completely in character.
Similarly, while the plot might not have moved fast for me, Mags
Dec 16, 2009 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Another Valdemar book. This will actually be the first time that I've read the first book in one of the Valdemar trilogies before all three books were available and I'm afraid I regret that decision. It had been a long time since I'd read one of Mercedes Lackey's books and I was in the mood for it, but now I'm done, the story is 1/3 told, and by the time the rest is available I'll probably forget the relevant details from this book. Ah well, such is life.

If you like Mercedes Lackey, then you'll
Amy VanGundy
Okay, the rural accent was starting to drive me crazy by the end of this. I loved Mercedes Lackey when I was younger and still have a fondness for all things Valdemar, so I eventually got around to reading this. As other reviews have commented, this whole book is just a stepping stone to a series of book around Mags, so this book alone isn't very fulfilling. The ending had me scratching my head trying to understand what had happened and--more importantly--why. I'm wondering what the purpose of t ...more
Apr 06, 2015 Crystal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Mercedes Lackey book, and let me say, I am thoroughly impressed! I haven't ever read anything from her before because I was intimidated by all of the titles on the shelves that I didn't know where to start. I guess luckily (and unluckily) for me, my local library has only a few of her titles. Foundation is the only one that is the first of any of her series that my library has, so I started with this one.

The main protagonist 'Mags' is one of my favorite children protagonists in
This series is a bit different from the rest of her writing, because it's the closest to pure Young Adult fantasy that she has written. I know that some of the Valdemar books CAN be read by teens, but this seems more like it was intended for that audience, although the publisher marketed it for adults.
The main character is only thirteen, but was forced to grow up quickly as a mine slave, abandoned to that life after he was orphaned. The real story of his orphaning is a plot point which runs thr
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Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts &a ...more
More about Mercedes Lackey...

Other Books in the Series

Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles (5 books)
  • Intrigues (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles, #2)
  • Changes (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles, #3)
  • Redoubt (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles, #4)
  • Bastion (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles, #5)

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