Allisyn's Reviews > Intrigues: The Collegium Chronicles

Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey
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Sep 19, 2011

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Intrigues was a stronger book than the first novel of this trio but that doesn't make it one of her better works. Mercedes Lackey is at a dangerous point in her writing where she has written so much and created so many characters from different walks of life in the world of Valdemar that some of the character aspects and plot devices start to feel recycled. We've already seen: the orphaned boy who thinks mostly of food, the despised/out of place trainee/herald, the sport as training for war, the trainee/herald that alienated his or her friends before finding themselves out of contact and in danger, and the trainee hiding as a member of a highborn household and as a beggar. Despite the reuse of certain plot devices, Lackey still manages to bring out a fresh story and add to the Lore of Valdemar. I did enjoy getting to see the transition from the Herald Mentor method of training to the Collegium classroom style of training.

I really enjoyed the time I spent listening to the audiobook of Intrigues. The narrator did an excellent job making the characters distinguishable though I didn't always agree with his vocal interpretation of the characters. The opening sequence of the novel was a bit difficult with transition to audiobook since it opens as a very long stream of consciousness about food and how Mags reacts to the relative privilege of the Collegium versus how the other herald trainees adjust. It works effectively as a way to drop the reader into Mags' head and identify the character but it feels like ten minutes of discussion about food. It might work better on paper but as an audiobook it feels like a heavy-handed introduction. One aspect that made the audiobook an interesting experience was the differentiation because vocalization and mindspeech.

Intrigues (and the first book in the series) showed me how much I've changed as a reader since the years when the Valdemar Series was my favorite selection of books. Mercedes Lackey knows how to tell an interesting story but technically her writing isn't as good as many of the writers that I've found as an adult. Valdemar will always have a special place in my heart, but I do prefer more depth in my fantasy now. I did enjoy Intrigues and will certainly read the final book in the trilogy but I will do so as a break between heavier novels, and possibly as an audiobook too.
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