Shiloh (Fantastic Reading)'s Reviews > Changes

Changes by Mercedes Lackey
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Oct 23, 2011

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bookshelves: fantasy
Read from October 22 to 23, 2011

** spoiler alert ** CHANGES is the third book in the Collegium Chronicles, which covers the time between Vanyel/Lavan Firestorm and Alberich. Purportedly, the series is supposed to describe how the Heraldic Collegium was developed out of the mentor-style learning Vanyel had, but only a very small part of the trilogy is given over to that theme.

In CHANGES, Mags works to finally solve the mystery of what the assassins who have been skulking about Haven (and going insane) really want, where they came from, and why. With the help of the King's Own and his friends, Mags goes into training to become the kingdom's newest intelligence agent and save his love interest, Amily, from the newest set of assassins.

This book was more satisfying than the first two in the series. While the weaknesses that plagued the first couple of books in the series--more on those in a moment--were still rampant here, there were at least explanations for them, as well as some kind of closure (though not as complete a closure as I would have liked). Many of the characters finally (FINALLY) deal with their parental issues, though we never do find out who Mags' parents are and why the assassins want him so badly.

Kirball is still an enormous distraction and annoyance, though at least it serves a purpose in this book; Mags' training allows him to survive some pretty tough spots. However, it takes up the first 20+ pages of the book and was just as annoying as it was in the last book, not least because until the last Alberich book, it doesn't show up again. At least in EXILE'S VALOR, Lackey explains why the game disappeared.

Mags' accent also becomes unbearable in this novel. Lackey's insistence on spelling out everything he says practically phonetically--with lots of apostrophes for missing letters--made easy comprehension impossible. Mags demonstrates at one point that he can speak in a perfectly comprehendable manner, but he chooses not to because it adds to his "dumb boy" image that keeps people from thinking he's anything more than a regular Heraldic trainee.

I love Lackey's other work, and I desperately miss the camaraderie, respect, and understanding among the Heralds that we've seen in other works. While the constant strife is explained in this book, I miss having a concrete reason why people aren't getting along. It's almost as if Orthallen was the best villain Lackey ever wrote, and without him the machinations are petty and two-dimensional.
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10/22/2011 page 78
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