is the second book in The Collegium Chronicles
. It follows the character Mags as he takes his place in the Heralds Collegium, a school where the Chosen go to learn to be Heralds. This should mark the end of serious drama in Mags's life, but the three Collegia are in a state of change and all is not well in the capitol city of Haven. (view spoiler)[Mags has made friends since coming to Haven; Bear, a Healer trainee, Lena, a Bard trainee and Amily, 'the daughter of Nikolas the King’s Own. There is minor drama when Bear's family comes into the already simmering mix of the three Collegia, assured that Bear is wasting the time of the Healers. They believe he should come home and marry, which he has no intention of doing.
Mags has some family drama of his own. He learns, while digging through the archives, that his parents were foreigners that were captured and killed by bandits. This unfolds just as the Heralds with Foresight, the ability to glimpse the possible future, forsee a foreigner attempting to kill the king. When the Collegia learn that Mags is a foreigner they jump to the assumption that Mags is going to kill the king and the already unsure boy becomes the focus of hate, suspicion and prejudice. This forces Mags to question himself and his place in the Heralds Collegium, which takes him down a dark road that eventually forces him to flee the school. This comes after Dallen is severely injured, which causes Mags to believe he doesn't deserve a Companion and that he will be repudiated as soon as Dallen is able. Mags hides in the city of Haven, acting as a pot boy to a wealthy family and falling into depression (hide spoiler)]
is a novel that any fan of Valdemar is happy to read. That being said, it was mediocre at best. The story line was very familiar, as it has been seen numerous times in the Valdemar series. The characters are tepid and whiney and the whole thing smacks of a younger target audience, unlike her previous works. The addition of Kirball was distressing as it seems to be a take-off of Quidditch. The problem with this, one of them, is that The Collegium Chronicles
are set before The Heralds of Valdemar
trilogy where Kirball is not played, or even referenced. Now, the assumption is that the sport's disappearance will be explained somehow so that it falls into line with the Valdemarean novels that come after the Chronicles. However, it reads as a tedious filler that jars with the already established (in previously written, if chronologically later, Valdemar novels) practices of the Collegia. I'm sure many will disagree with me on this, but I found it puzzling and uninspired. I hope Kirball does not play such a big role in the third installment.
Overall, I would say that Intrigues
is neither good, nor bad. If you are a fan of Valdemar, then I would suggest reading it, but don't expect much. The bar was set with The Heralds of Valdemar
and The Last Herald-Mage
trilogies, of which, so far, The Collegium Chronicles
do not even come close.