Anila's Reviews > Intrigues

Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey
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Aug 21, 11

bookshelves: reviewed, incoherent-anger, not-for-the-sensitive
Read on August 21, 2011

Mercedes Lackey, I am disappoint.



It's been a bit since I went through my Valdemar binge, and in the interval I've looked back on the series and seen some of its flaws: the worldbuilding isn't all that creative, the characters generally caricatured, the plots rather uninspired, the angst overexaggerated. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy them, and doesn't even mean they won't stand up to a re-read - it just means they're not on my 'bucket books' list, and that's really fine. A lot of good books that I love dearly aren't on that list. (The Pern series, for example, which shares a lot of flaws with Valdemar now that I come to think of it.)

When I picked up this book at the library, I was so excited - though it'd been some time since I read the first of the Collegium Chronicles, I remembered wanting more when it ended and hoped that I'd be able to recall enough that the second made sense. By the time I needed to, I had, so that wasn't a problem.

The reason this book got two stars, instead of three or even four, is that after a certain point it goes absolutely nuts. It's crazy for a while before that, of course, since the crux of the plot is one of those highly contrived coincidences that drives me up the wall. Yes, human decisions don't always make sense, and yes, human stupidity is infinite, but that can't be the center of the plot of a novel, especially one where large numbers of humans are advised by infinitely wise magical horses.

I could go with the whole 'chance blurting makes Mags subject of suspicion' plot if it weren't for the rest of it. To avoid spoilers, all I can say is: everyone around him suddenly seems to go crazy and abandon him for no real reason, blaming him for things that aren't his fault and completely flip-flopping on assertions they'd made earlier, which sends Mags spiraling into a deep and suicidal depression and ends in a disaster which is a) not his fault and b) blamed on him by everyone, including his closest friends. There follows a chapter or so of Mags wallowing, Bella Swan-like, in misery, as everyone he knows who have every reason to trust and care about him treat him like horse shit they don't want to muck out of the paddock.


And it drove me up the fucking wall.

This makes no sense. None. It goes against everything that's already established about Valdemar, the Heralds, and the Companions in earlier series. Think about how completely insane - not to mention dangerous - Tylendel became before his Companion repudiated him! And I don't recall a single instance in two books where a Companion doubted Alberich, even though he does hail from Valdemar's oldest enemy. So to have the Companions turn on Mags on circumstantial evidence - evidence which leads to no valid conclusion - rings completely false.

The worst part, though, was (view spoiler) I nearly set the book down then and there.


After the moping, there is a hasty resolution in which Mags is treated like shit yet again (though accidentally this time, which may or may not be better) and a saccharine ending in which nothing is really explained and this whole book, in retrospect, starts to look like angst-fueled filler more than anything which really has a place in the series.


I'm not even going to get into Kirball and the continuity clusterfuck it represents.




To be honest, I feel cheated by this series. The name - The Collegium Chronicles - is a terrible misnomer. I expected this would be about the transitional period between the old mentoring system to the new classroom system - a bridge between Vanyel's Valdemar and Talia's. It could have been an interesting subject, almost sociological, but instead it's bogged down with a contrived 'threats from abroad' plot and more whining than even Lavan Firestorm subjected us to. I'll probably read the next one - which presumably will be the last - but only because I'm curious about the country the foreigners come from. I could care less what happens to Mags, Bear, Lena, and Amily.
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Reading Progress

08/21/2011 page 251
77.0% "I kind of hate everyone in this book."
08/21/2011 page 252
77.0% "Scratch that, I do hate everyone. Goddammit, this might be a one-star. Fuck."
08/21/2011 page 257
78.0% "EVERY. SINGLE. CHARACTER. IN. THIS. BOOK. I hate them all. Fuck fuck fuck. I needed a good book after Halo! Lackey, how could you have let me down?" 1 comment
08/21/2011 page 265
81.0% "Mags, dearie, when you're out-emoing Vanyel and Lavan, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG."
08/21/2011 page 270
82.0% "I know what happened: Mags got replaced by New Moon-era Bella Swan. THIS IS NOT OKAY." 7 comments

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