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Foundation: Book One of the Collegium Chronicles (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles #1)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  7,193 ratings  ·  371 reviews
In this chronicle of the early history of Valdemar, a thirteen-year-old orphan named Magpie escapes a life of slavery in the gem mines when he is chosen by one of the magical companion horses of Valdemar to be trained as a herald. Thrust into the center of a legend in the making, Magpie discovers talents he never knew he had?and witnesses the founding of the great Heralds? ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published October 7th 2008 by Daw Books
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 07, 2008 Judith rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
Julie (jjmachshev)
Nov 05, 2008 Julie (jjmachshev) rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
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
Nov 17, 2008 Annette rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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.
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
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
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
Oct 12, 2008 Jeffrey rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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
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
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
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
C-Cose Daley
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
Robin Witt
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
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
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
Abused Orphans Saved By Magical Horses (Of Courses)

I'm reviewing the first three books of this series in one master review at this time because I've read all three close enough together that I can't really tell them apart.

This was a great return to Valdemar. It has almost everything I want out of a Valdemar book. Abused children in terrible situations who get saved by the magical horses! School montages! Unexpectedly gifted youngsters Proving Their Mettle!

No, seriou
Mags has never known anything but hard work. From his childhood as a house drudge to his current life in the mine, he's been working for the Pieters. Life is a cycle of toil, hunger, and privation, until one day a Companion shows up at the house, and despite Cole Pieters' best efforts, carries him off. From there life becomes a bewildering whirl of schooling and training as a Trainee. The new Collegium has tensions fraying, in addition to the strange visitors to court. And Mags has a hard time b ...more
Not one of my favorite from this universe, but not one of my least favorite, either.

The timeframe is a rather compelling one in terms of Valdemar history--just after The Last Herald Mage, but before most of the "main" story. It was interesting to see Vanyel just barely out of reach, and to see the process of forgetting the knowledge that is gone by the time the Arrows of the Queen series starts.

Mags' accent grated after about the halfway point, though I found him at least interesting. The plot
I was happy to get another Valdemar book and to have it be a book about the founding of the Herald's Collegium made it that much sweeter. The main character, Magpie, while reserved, is a good person to float through a world in the thoughts of. He made some of the simple things in life, such as a well stocked larder, that much more vivid and cherished when he discovers them for the first time. A good curl up on the couch with a blanket and cup of tea kind of book.
Jeremy O'Carroll
How much you enjoy a book often depends on your expectations, and with Lackey you need to get your expectations right. Her books aren't overly complex. In the three I've read, there hasn't even been much conflict - but even so they are all enjoyable.

What Lackey manages to do well is create a world that is fun to hang out in as a reader. She adds enough description for you to get a good feel for the setting, but not too much to slow the pace of her works.

Foundation is far from perfect, of course.
I'm not going to go into too much detail here, as I feel that three stars doesn't warrant it right now. As a book that I listened to while at work, this book was great. It was easy and somewhat interesting. The excessive amount of lists and descriptions of how things worked in the world might have otherwise been boring, had I not been focusing on more than one thing. I do enjoy good world building and knowing how things differ from my own... but so often the world did not differ from my own, and ...more
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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)
Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar, #1) Magic's Pawn (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #1) By the Sword (Valdemar: Kerowyn's Tale, #1) Magic's Price (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #3) Arrow's Fall (Heralds of Valdemar, #3)

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