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Foundation

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Mags had been working at the Pieters’s mine, slaving in the dark, cold seams, looking for sparklies, for as long as he could remember. The children who worked the mine were orphans, kids who had been abandoned, who had lost their parents, or were generally unwanted. But Mags was different. Mags was “Bad Blood,” because his parents were bandits who had been killed in a raid Mags had been working at the Pieters’s mine, slaving in the dark, cold seams, looking for sparklies, for as long as he could remember. The children who worked the mine were orphans, kids who had been abandoned, who had lost their parents, or were generally unwanted. But Mags was different. Mags was “Bad Blood,” because his parents were bandits who had been killed in a raid by the Royal Guard. “Bad Blood” because he’d been found in a cradle in the bandits’s camp. Blood so bad that no one had wanted to take him in except Cole Pieters. When he was big enough to see over the sides of the sluices he had gone to work at the mine. Mags knew nothing of the world beyond the mine, and was unaware of how unusual his paltry existence was. Then some strangers on huge white horses forced their way past the Pieters family and carried him away to Haven to become a Herald Trainee. Suddenly the whole world opened up for him. He was warm and well fed for the first time in his life, and he had Dallen, his Companion, who seemed more miraculous than an angel. But the world of the Collegium was not all heavenly. There was political upheaval in Valdemar’s capital, for the court had been infiltrated by foreign “diplomats,” who seemed to be more interested in seeding discontent than in actual diplomacy…and Mags seemed to be the only one who’d noticed.…


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Mags had been working at the Pieters’s mine, slaving in the dark, cold seams, looking for sparklies, for as long as he could remember. The children who worked the mine were orphans, kids who had been abandoned, who had lost their parents, or were generally unwanted. But Mags was different. Mags was “Bad Blood,” because his parents were bandits who had been killed in a raid Mags had been working at the Pieters’s mine, slaving in the dark, cold seams, looking for sparklies, for as long as he could remember. The children who worked the mine were orphans, kids who had been abandoned, who had lost their parents, or were generally unwanted. But Mags was different. Mags was “Bad Blood,” because his parents were bandits who had been killed in a raid by the Royal Guard. “Bad Blood” because he’d been found in a cradle in the bandits’s camp. Blood so bad that no one had wanted to take him in except Cole Pieters. When he was big enough to see over the sides of the sluices he had gone to work at the mine. Mags knew nothing of the world beyond the mine, and was unaware of how unusual his paltry existence was. Then some strangers on huge white horses forced their way past the Pieters family and carried him away to Haven to become a Herald Trainee. Suddenly the whole world opened up for him. He was warm and well fed for the first time in his life, and he had Dallen, his Companion, who seemed more miraculous than an angel. But the world of the Collegium was not all heavenly. There was political upheaval in Valdemar’s capital, for the court had been infiltrated by foreign “diplomats,” who seemed to be more interested in seeding discontent than in actual diplomacy…and Mags seemed to be the only one who’d noticed.…

30 review for Foundation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    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 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 unsophisticated or stupid.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elspeth

    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 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 dragged them to their death, but the Storms and Owl series was just boring. I couldn’t sink myself into them as well as the others, I know I have read the Arrows trilogy more times than I can remember because I love it so. Now back to Foundation, it centers around a boy named Mags who’s life up until he was chosen was pure hell. If you are familiar with the Valdemar series then you know all Lackeys later books have heralds going to the Collegium to learn what it means, and what you need to know to be a herald. This is the start of that program, and not all in Valdemar are happy about it. Now Mags is a very bright, and taking like a sponge to water with all his lessons as well as making friends in all sorts of places. I think I see where Lackey is leading this series, I hope I am right because I have always wondered about this. I have read the first three books in this series so I might have some more insight in where this series is going so I am going to keep my mouth shut on my theory. I recommend this series to everyone, there is enough explanation in this book for people who haven’t read any of the Valdemar series. This book is the reader equivalent of a great home cooked meal, its perfect for a cold rainy day. So go grab a hot cup of tea, blanket, and pillow (I also recommend a warm puppy but not all of us are dog people) curl up on the couch and have a great read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julie (jjmachshev)

    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 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 and hasn't stopped since. The conditions are harsh and survival is the only thing Mags has ever known. Until the day a beautiful white horse arrives and 'claims' him. Now, Mags is learning that the world is actually much bigger and much different than he could ever have dreamed. But his fears and lack of knowledge cause him to become a quiet observer of his new life. With the help of his Companion and a few new friends, Mags will needs all his old skills and the new ones he's learning to help foil a plot against Valdemar. If you love animals, magic, and fantasy, you really owe it to yourself to read some Lackey's work. Her realm of Valdemar stories pull on all your emotions, and although the good guys win, it's not always without loss...just like real life. And some of her stories do include some topics that I wouldn't recommend for young children (in her first series, the hero is gay which is part and parcel of the plot), but older teens could certainly deal with her books. Wile her stories are fantasy, they also deal with many of the same things we all face in life (hopefully on a much smaller scale). Things like: fear, triumph, love, loss, death, war, peace, being different, cruelty, sacrifice, bravery, and courage in the face of impossible odds. I enjoyed her stories in my 20s, my 30s, and still now in my 40s. They are timeless and whichever world she uses, they still speak to living today.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    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 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 along the way. Step Four (Optional): If you write a sequel, try to switch up the gender of the main character or at least give him/her a different sort of Companion. If the first was "mothering", make this one "sassy", "headstrong" or "wise beyond it's years". Also, it might be cool to add some smoochie stuff. Mocking aside, OMG I missed Valdemar books! They all follow almost the exact same plot, but who doesn't like to see a character grow and mature, find their place in the world, and save the whole Kingdom? How brilliant was this woman to craft a series with a couple hundred years of timeline to fill in, one book at a time? This book explores the start of the Herald's Collegium and has some almost interesting negotiations with some neighboring country or other. I prefer the books that focus on Valdemar's neighbors (like Karse or Rethwellian) but I"ll take what I can get. There is such an ease in Lackey's writing and in the little details that make this world such a rich and diverse place to visit. Groundbreaking literature? Hardly, but it nicely reminded me why I can read Lackey books again and again.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cait

    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 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 mad in Lackey's other recent works!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lobo

    Wrócić do Valdemaru to jak wrócić do domu. Do jakiegoś miejsca z dzieciństwa, o którym zapomniałam, a które kiedyś znaczyło dla mnie wszystko. To chyba pierwsza od dawna wydana po polsku powieść Lackey - poprawcie mnie, jeśli się mylę - więc tym bardziej się cieszę, że autorka wróciła na rynek, "Początek" to bardzo typowa Lackey i każdy, kto ją czytał, wie, czego się spodziewać. To opowieść o dorastaniu i odnajdywaniu swojego miejsca w świecie. Głównym bohaterem jest doświadczony przez los nasto Wrócić do Valdemaru to jak wrócić do domu. Do jakiegoś miejsca z dzieciństwa, o którym zapomniałam, a które kiedyś znaczyło dla mnie wszystko. To chyba pierwsza od dawna wydana po polsku powieść Lackey - poprawcie mnie, jeśli się mylę - więc tym bardziej się cieszę, że autorka wróciła na rynek, "Początek" to bardzo typowa Lackey i każdy, kto ją czytał, wie, czego się spodziewać. To opowieść o dorastaniu i odnajdywaniu swojego miejsca w świecie. Głównym bohaterem jest doświadczony przez los nastolatek, Mags, który okazuje się być - a jakże by inaczej - wybranym na jednego z Heroldów Valdemaru. Akcja jest bardzo powolna i skupiona w całości na psychologii postaci. Mamy dużo opisów, niewiele dialogów i w sumie pretekstową fabułę. To bardzo wyraźnie jest pierwszy tom z serii. Kończy się w dość niezręcznym miejscu. Zarysowuje - nieśmiało wręcz - motyw na kolejne tomy. A sama akcja w tym tomie, cóż, jest dość infantylna. Rozwiązaniem zagadki nie ma nic wspólnego z wielkimi intrygami i walką o władzę. Ale w pewien sposób bardzo mi to pasuje. Mam dość opowieści o dzieciach/nastolatkach, które noszą na swoich barkach ciężar ratowania świata. Od tego są dorośli. Mags ma zakres obowiązków właściwy dla swojego wieku. Zdecydowanie więcej rzeczy w powieści podobało mi się niż budziło wątpliwości. Mam wąty do polskiego wydania, bo tłumaczenie nie sięgnęło do poprzednich wydań i gdzieś zniknęła Przystań. Poza tym jest pełne literówek, w tym jednej, bardzo konsekwentnej, która ogromnie mnie bawiła (salla). Podobało mi się to, że więź Magsa z Towarzyszem posiada dodatkową funkcję socjalizacji w pięć minut, tak, żeby dzieciak z kopalni nauczył się używać noża i widelca. W końcu ma do dyspozycji więź ze swoim Towarzyszem a przez to z innymi Towarzyszami i Heroldami, co jest wykorzystywane w tej powieści częściej i lepiej niż w poprzednich trylogiach Heroldów Valdemaru. Podoba mi się, że dzięki temu unikamy wielostronicowej ekspozycji. Lackey nawet nie tłumaczy, czym są Heroldowie. Jej seria to absolutna klasyka fantasy i jest na rynku dłużej niż żyją aktualni czytelnicy, jeśli nie wiecie, kim są Heroldowie, niewiele wiecie o fantastyce. Szacunek. Lackey zna swoją wartość. Vanyel zostaje wspomniany jako jeden z heroicznych bohaterów Valdemaru, chociaż jego życie stanowi już legendę i to mnie autentycznie wzruszyło. Vanyel i Stefan zostają wspomniani, żeby było jasne. W całej powieści zresztą pojawia się taka przypadkowa queerowość, gwardzista flirtuje sobie z Heroldem i generalnie brak tu heteronormatywności w każdym uniwersum, co jest wspaniałe. Zwłaszcza, że powieść skierowana jest do młodszych odbiorców. Postaci poboczne są ciekawe, a sama edukacja Magsa i jego misja zawierają w sobie potencjał na dużo więcej. Stanowczo sięgnę po kolejne tomy i to zanim jeszcze wydadzą je po polsku, bo szkoda czekać. Polecam jako powrót do dzieciństwa i kontakt ze swoim wewnętrznym nastolatkiem.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    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 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 room for an actual plot. The conclusion is clumsy and rushed, as though Lackey said, "Holy crap, this has to have an ending in ten pages!" No ending would have almost been preferable to the thrown together hash of lack-luster, unsurprising, and generally unentertaining last pages of this book. This is not really a great beginning for a new series, and, because I generally enjoy Lackey's books, I hope the next one isn't such a huge disappointment.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pam Baddeley

    I had planned not to read any more of this author's books, having found them rather uneven, but this one was a find on the library discard shelf for a nominal sum. Having realised it was book 1 in a series, I decided to try this sample. The story conveys a slight deja vu feeling, as I had previously read her Arrows of the Queen. Mags is a young boy living a miserable existence who is chosen by a Companion, taken to Haven to start his education as a Herald, and is found to have a maturity beyond h I had planned not to read any more of this author's books, having found them rather uneven, but this one was a find on the library discard shelf for a nominal sum. Having realised it was book 1 in a series, I decided to try this sample. The story conveys a slight deja vu feeling, as I had previously read her Arrows of the Queen. Mags is a young boy living a miserable existence who is chosen by a Companion, taken to Haven to start his education as a Herald, and is found to have a maturity beyond his years and a gift for Mindspeech and other things .... However, this version of the same basic story is made more interesting by the Dickensian setting at the beginning, for Mags is an orphan. Along with other unlucky children, he is being used as a slave to mine jemstones. The orphange boss, and the mine owner, is meant to be providing them with a roof over their heads, food and an education, but the roof is a nest among straw in a shed, the food is the equivalent of gruel with the odd bit of burned bread or even dead cat, and the education is learning by rote as one of the owner's daughters leads them in extremely rudimentary lessons in reading and writing. Nevertheless, Mags is smart, has picked up more skill in reading than the owner realises, and is also adept at doing what he needs to do to survive, especially since the owner has occasionally made "examples" by beating children to death and then disposing of their bodies in the mineworkings. Despite this, all empathy and kindness has not been expunged from Mags, who is now about thirteen from what he can determine: he does give a bit of bread to a younger child who, through no fault of his own, has been unable sufficient jemstones. There is a mystery about Mag's origin: the mine owner occasionally delights in reminding him he is 'bad blood', having been found as a baby at a bandit camp when the bandits were suppressed. He doesn't know his real name having been nicknamed 'magpie' when it was found that he was more adept at others at panning the mine spoils for odd shafts of jems, a name that over time was shortened to Mags. Following his rescue Mags is bewildered by all the new things he has to encounter, but is reassured by his Companion, Dallen, through their mental bond, and gradually settles into a new life in at the recently founded school for Heralds at Haven. He is there at a time of great change, as the decision has only recently been made to have a Collegium for both Heralds and Healers. Previously, Heralds took one or two trainees and acted as mentors, and healers also took apprentices, but so many youngsters have been Chosen by companions in recent years that it was decided to adopt the model already used by the Bards and have a college for each one. New buildings are being constructed to house them all and the overcrowding in the interim means that Mags is given a cosy room in the special stable which houses the Companions (not the ordinary horses). At first, Mags' hard earned caution prevents him from making friends though gradually this changes and he is brought into a kind of inner circle around the King's Own Herald and a set of younger people in Haven, who seek to use his gifts to help keep a watchful eye on those who oppose the Collegium. For not all is sweetness and light, as he suspected. As this is only volume 1 in what appears to be a fairly long series, it is not surprising that most of the questions about Mags and about other odd events are not answered by the book's end, but that didn't trouble me. I'm sure Mags' origin will eventually turn out to be signficant and he won't actually be the child of bandits but a child they had abducted. I found the writing a little clunky at times and Mags is possibly a little bit too perfect. But he is quite an engaging boy with his "uneducated" way of speaking and through him the prejudices of certain individuals are highlighted. The background is also interesting: one reference to Vanje made it clear that this story takes place two or three generations after the "Last Herald Mage" trilogy, and hundreds of years before Arrows of the Queen and similar books. And there was a helpful explanation of exactly what the "eyes" are that magic workers experience watching them - these were a feature of one of the books I read recently, By the Sword, but there was no explanation in that book and I couldn't recall what might have happened in the "Last Herald Mage" trilogy to have caused such a phenomenon. There is the occasional oddity, such as people enjoying an evening eating fondue, which doesn't appear to fit into the setting, but it was an easy read. I think, despite the odd reference to other people having sexual encounters, that the book is aimed at teen or young adult readership: certainly, there is no romance between Mags and either his female or his male friend. That doesn't affect the enjoyment of what is a simple story of a boy who is developing new skills and confidence and seems to be lined up to be a key player in the future of the Collegium and the Heralds. So I rate this at a workmanlike 3 stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    I liked this a lot, but some clunky patches of writing and a little voice in my head relentlessly whispering "this is stupid" mean that I relegate it to 3 stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Danica

    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 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 themselves in harms way to save a stray dog. I thought she was a god among writers when I first read 'The Last Herald-Mage' trilogy in early middle school, and I quickly devoured the rest of her novels the moment they came out. I still love the universe she created, and every now and again try and recapture that good old feeling. Unfortunately, like most past loves, spending time with them again does nothing so much as reveal with ever increasing clarity the reasons you fell out of love with them in the first place. I still love Heralds and wish we all had guiding creatures with the unwavering moral compass of a Companion. I still like they way she handles mind-magic, and the rules she holds it to. I still love the idea of Bards and Healers and Heralds being incontrovertibly good at what they do. The very simplicity that makes me roll my eyes page after page is also part of what makes these books so attractive, but combined with the weak writing and complete lack of character growth the read ends up feeling like you're eating a cookie covered in frosting and bright sprinkles. It's pretty and colorful and you really want it to be good, but are left disappointed by a treat which reveals itself to be utterly tasteless and unbearably sweet.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    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 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), which seemed to deliberately evoke Asimov's like-named series - one of the most famous of all time. I guess it acheived its goal, if goal it was, because I read the silly thing. And frankly enjoyed it. Again, I'd never read anything by her before so I was as clueless as "Mags" about the concept of Companions, the organization of Valedemar, and etc. As an intro to a world I assume she's written in before, I thought the book did well. I enjoyed the main character's point of view as an outsider, his growth from injured young boy to semi-confident young man, and his growing into his skills and powers. To be frank, though, not a lot actually Happens in the book, aside from Mags' growth. There are a few tense incidents, but they're clearly just preliminaries for the big action I presume is planned for future entries in the series. Also, one could complain that Mags grows into his capabilities almost a little Too fast, gets given a little Too much responsibility, etc... but these are minor quibbles. Lackey's writing style is solid and non-irritating - that is, there are none of the marks of an amateur (or overrated professional) such as "tell instead of show," too many adjectives or flowery descriptions, etc. As a fairly straight forward escapist fantasy, it was perfectly pleasing - and it never claimed to be the "Great American Novel."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andi

    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 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, but she used to write books that could stand alone and this one doesn't quite cut it. Also, how many times are we to read the sad tale of the mistreated and abused youth saved by Companian? This has elements of Talia, Lan, and Skif, and Mags doesn't live up to these other characters. One thing I did enjoy was the time period - one we have never seen before, the founding of the Collegium, only three generations after Vanyel. Early Valdemaran history is always interesting because it informs the later development. Enjoyable, but not her best. Also, when rereading this review I realized what a ridiculous nerd I am. I have read way too much Lackey.

  13. 5 out of 5

    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.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kasia

    Najlepsze zastosowanie: Mags jest trzynastoletnim chłopcem, pracującym w kopalni. Od małego wraz z dużą liczbą dzieciaków wydobywał kamienie szlachetne — im więcej, tym lepsze jedzenie. Chłopak nigdy nie był najedzony, wyspany ani czysty; dla niego świat zaczynał się i kończył na kopalni. Żył zgodnie z regułami mu wyznaczonymi, nie widział sensu w sprzeciwianiu się, ponieważ nie widział dla siebie innej perspektywy — cóż innego mógłby robić? Może nie uważał swojej pracy za idealną, jednak nie wi Najlepsze zastosowanie: Mags jest trzynastoletnim chłopcem, pracującym w kopalni. Od małego wraz z dużą liczbą dzieciaków wydobywał kamienie szlachetne — im więcej, tym lepsze jedzenie. Chłopak nigdy nie był najedzony, wyspany ani czysty; dla niego świat zaczynał się i kończył na kopalni. Żył zgodnie z regułami mu wyznaczonymi, nie widział sensu w sprzeciwianiu się, ponieważ nie widział dla siebie innej perspektywy — cóż innego mógłby robić? Może nie uważał swojej pracy za idealną, jednak nie wiedział, co innego byłby w stanie robić i czy w ogóle miałby szansę żyć gdziekolwiek indziej. Jednak pewnego dnia jego życie się zmieniło. Wspaniałe stworzenie zwane Towarzyszem wybrało go i teraz Mags zostanie przeniesiony do Kolegium Heroldów, gdzie nauczy się, jak panować nad swoimi zdolnościami i jak pomagać innym ludziom. Na początku chłopak jest nieufny i nie do końca pewien, co powinien robić, jednak później dostrzega szansę na lepsze życie. Musi ją tylko wykorzystać. Bohaterowie: Tak naprawdę jedynym bohaterem, który został nam jakoś mocniej ukazany jest właśnie Mags. Z nim poznajemy świat i najwięcej swoich przemyśleń nam przedstawia. Mówiąc szczerze, nieco obawiałam się jako narratora chłopaka, który odkąd nauczył się chodzić, zaczął pracować — czy to w kopalni, czy to w kuchni, czy jeszcze gdzieś indziej. Bałam się, że jego brak wykształcenia i zamknięcie od zawsze w tym samym miejscu będzie nam za bardzo zawężać horyzonty i się nie polubię z Magsem. Ale było zupełnie inaczej. Chłopak okazał się być naprawdę mądry i zazwyczaj podejmował racjonalne decyzje — to i tak więcej niż się spodziewałam po trzynastolatku, poza tym dorośli też nie zawsze podejmują racjonalne decyzje. Mags ma w sobie coś, co sprawia, że bardzo mnie intryguje i nie mogę się doczekać aż będę miała okazję poznać więcej tytułów z nim w roli głównej. (...) Całokształt: Na zdecydowany plus zasługuje przedstawienie niewolnictwa i wykorzystywania ludzi przez ofiarę. Mags bardzo racjonalnie podchodzi do tego tematu i w sensowny sposób tłumaczy dlaczego tacy ludzie nie walczą albo zastanawia się, co oni ze sobą zrobią, kiedy zostaną uwolnieni. Mimo że dla nas brzmi to strasznie i ciężko jest nam zrozumieć niektóre zachowania, to przyznać trzeba, że to wszystko jest prawdziwe i mimo wszystko dość zrozumiałe. Cała recenzja na: http://www.karazydwa.pl/2018/02/Pocza...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Magnus

    I... really liked it? I honestly enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Someone could say it reads like Harry Potter Valdemar!AU - and that would be true, there are many clear similarities. But I had zero problems with that, the story is nice and well-written. I liked it a lot, and will be re-reading it in the future (while waiting for the next parts of the series)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Octobercountry

    I recently read Mercedes Lackey's five-volume series The Collegium Chronicles .  The books, in order, are: Foundation Intrigues Changes Redoubt Bastion 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 o I recently read Mercedes Lackey's five-volume series The Collegium Chronicles .  The books, in order, are: Foundation Intrigues Changes Redoubt Bastion 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 order; the series is made up of both sets of books (usually trilogies) and individual titles that are semi-independent of one another.  However, it  perhaps makes the most sense to read the stories in chronological order according to the history of the kingdom.   The Collegium Chronicles , while the most recently written about Valdemar, take place fairly early in the history of the country. It's been quite some time since I visited Valdemar, and I was quite happy to go back again.  I've enjoyed the previous stories I've read very much, and had been thinking of doing a complete reading of the entire series in chronological order, so I had no problem in jumping in with these, since they detail an earlier portion of the country's time-line. And---in general, I found the books to be quite enjoyable.  I liked the main character and found his adventures to be quite interesting.  While reviews for the series were mixed, this was in large part due to the leisurely pace of the stories, with unfinished plot points left hanging at the end of each of the first four volumes.  Since these were published at a rate of about one book per year, some readers were very frustrated about all these loose ends regarding the primary plot,  which dealt with the mystery of where Mags came from, who he was, and why strangers were hunting him down. However, since I had the entire stack of books at hand, this wasn't an issue for me---as soon as I finished one I was able to jump right into the next. Now, Lackey does have quite a knack for getting into her characters' heads, and imagining in complete detail the running commentary that fills their minds as they go about their daily tasks. In one sense this is a plus---we really get to see how these characters think.  Problem is---she writes it all down, whether it has anything to do with advancing the plot or not!  And this does tend to pad out her books to a certain degree. I love the stories and fantasy realms Mercedes comes up with---I can only wish I had such an imagination.  But I think she suffers from the same problem as a number of other very popular and prolific authors, in that her publisher doesn't seem to edit her any more, and as a result there's a LOT in her books that could be trimmed to make for a much tighter story. Oh, I don't mind getting a moderate amount of unnecessary detail---I enjoy losing myself in these fantasy worlds.  But I do have to admit that when we're talking about the mechanics of quality, first-rate writing, her books would be better with a strong editor at the helm. For instance---in one of these books, there was a passage written about how the villains were able to hide their wagon from the eyes of the good guys.  The description went on in detail for an entire page, but---we simply don't need to know this!  It had nothing to do with the plot---just two or three sentences about this would have been quite sufficient. Now---while each book was of a reasonable length, averaging out to 330 pages or so, all together this story did NOT need five volumes to be told.  The text could have been edited and tightened down to four volumes.  Heck, the complete tale could probably even have been knocked down to three 400-page books. So, that is my primary reservation about the stories.  But on the other hand, I enjoyed them despite problems in pacing, so I'll happily recommend these for those who enjoy Mercedes' work.  There are still a lot of Valdemar books I haven't read yet, and I fully intend to continue on with the series.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    I have read this book multiple times. Herald Mags early life struck a chord with me and I loved how his life ended up. This focuses on the time of the building of the Herald's Collegium and the change from a mentor relationship among the Heralds of Valdemar to holding full classes for the trainees. There have been so many trainees being chosen by the Companions there aren't enough trained Heralds to have one on one training. Unfortunately, there are some Heralds that are having issues with the c I have read this book multiple times. Herald Mags early life struck a chord with me and I loved how his life ended up. This focuses on the time of the building of the Herald's Collegium and the change from a mentor relationship among the Heralds of Valdemar to holding full classes for the trainees. There have been so many trainees being chosen by the Companions there aren't enough trained Heralds to have one on one training. Unfortunately, there are some Heralds that are having issues with the changes and aren't taking it well and the new trainees are caught in between. Re-read 2018 I've been in the mood to re-read some of my favorites in the Valdemar series and this is definitely in my top five. This may end up as a re-read of the entire series.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kiri

    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 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 well... but I really don't think Lackey's writing has evolved over the many books she's written. Nothing profound here. And her reliance on an overabundance of modifying adjectives gets maddening after a while. EVERYTHING is "rather" and "more than a little" and "somewhat" and so on...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    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.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    charlotte

    i suspect i could have chosen a more exciting valdemar book as my first experience of mercedes lackey's writing but, although not very much happened until the last 50 pages or so, it was still interesting enough and i'll probably read the other books in the series, to see if it picks up.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mordie

    My first expression of this book was: 'I've read this.' It began the same way as the other books and had the same format. A poor child in a poor environment meets their horse and becomes chosen and have an adventure together. Unfortunately where others had been good and entertaining to read, this fell flat. Mags didn't bring anything new to the table and I even felt bored to read the story. This book might be a good one to one who hasn't read all about Valdemar or has taken a first step to Merced My first expression of this book was: 'I've read this.' It began the same way as the other books and had the same format. A poor child in a poor environment meets their horse and becomes chosen and have an adventure together. Unfortunately where others had been good and entertaining to read, this fell flat. Mags didn't bring anything new to the table and I even felt bored to read the story. This book might be a good one to one who hasn't read all about Valdemar or has taken a first step to Mercedes Lackey's wonderful world. ( Then again, don't start from this one! Please! ) To me.. if things keep on going this way, I'd rather reread the old books.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This author was recommended to me and apparently she writes short series that all have the same setting like Tamora Pierce, so I went to the library and just got the only one that was the beginning of a series. There were a couple places where explanations seemed abrupt and I'm guessing there was more info in books I should have read before this, but I still understood what was going on just fine. Anyway, this book had the feeling of older (80s/90s) fantasy and I liked it a lot.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tarma

    This is a re-read and I really enjoyed reading the beginning of the story of Mags. Yay for Mags! I love this series.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Fordyce

    Sick abed, nothing better than to stumble across a new series. Loved this book - and will be devouring the rest in the series as quickly as possible.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

    Work. That is all Mags has even known, work in cold and in hot with no end in sight and very little food. That is until a Herald shows up and takes him away on a white horse called a Companion. Now Mags is never hungry, cold, and is in a place where he belongs. There is one thing that he doesn't know, who his parents are. He has been told that he had bad blood, but the Heralds say that that doesn't matter. His Companion, Dallen, explains things to him through Mindspeech, his Gift. So Mags just l Work. That is all Mags has even known, work in cold and in hot with no end in sight and very little food. That is until a Herald shows up and takes him away on a white horse called a Companion. Now Mags is never hungry, cold, and is in a place where he belongs. There is one thing that he doesn't know, who his parents are. He has been told that he had bad blood, but the Heralds say that that doesn't matter. His Companion, Dallen, explains things to him through Mindspeech, his Gift. So Mags just lives his life, not speaking to anyone and learning things a Herald needs to know at the Collegium. One day he meets his only two friends, a Healer named Bear and a Bard named Lena. But when they go away over Midwinter, he befriends the King's Own Herald, who teaches him how to spy. With this new training, Mags is asked to watch the foreign bodyguards and see what they are up too. I would definitely recommend this book to someone who likes fantasy books with magic and things like knights. This book has a lot of action and has good pacing so that the action is not right on top of each other.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    So I really liked this book! One of my favorite novels of Valdemar is Brightly Burning, and this had many of the aspects of that novel that I liked, although you can tell this one is set up as a series as opposed to a stand alone. It had the lonely, abused boy getting Chosen and his world changing for the better. He struggled with learning the rules at the Collegium, but makes friends and uses his particular gift. At the same time there are events afoot that not even we as readers are privy too, So I really liked this book! One of my favorite novels of Valdemar is Brightly Burning, and this had many of the aspects of that novel that I liked, although you can tell this one is set up as a series as opposed to a stand alone. It had the lonely, abused boy getting Chosen and his world changing for the better. He struggled with learning the rules at the Collegium, but makes friends and uses his particular gift. At the same time there are events afoot that not even we as readers are privy too, and although we don't get a full explanation, I fully expect more from book two. Now all I have to do is wait until pay day to buy the next book! A really great book from Mercedes Lackey, and here I thought that the 'bad' reviews meant something was off about this one. Not the case! Five stars!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gemma

    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 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 having some kind of conflict within the story that the protagonist must encounter and overcome (or not). Aside from a brief run-in with another herald (and by brief, I mean maybe a page or two), the only conflict was within the last 15 pages, leaving the bulk of the novel reading more like a diary. Which brings me to my next gripe. The story-line itself was somewhat formulaic to those familiar with Lackey's works: the hard-done by, abused, often-orphan is Chosen by the mystical Companions and swept away to the marvellous land of the Heralds where everything is rosy and wonderful. And while this *is* what makes Lackey's books an enjoyable comfort read for me, I would have loved to see her branch away from this tried and true (and honestly, getting a bit worn) formula. It wasn't helped by the fact that upon reaching the Heralds, Mags seems to seamlessly be blessed with a natural skill at weapons work, riding, mindspeach, reading, maths, information gathering, reading people, knowing if someone has died", making powerful friends who count on his opinion and skills, and having a great memory. Whilst his Companion has helped with this (and aren't Companions supposed to step back from doing this, and let their Chosen figure it out for themselves, only stepping in in very rare circumstances?), I found the degree of how pretty much *everything* came so easily to what is essentially an uneducated mine slave (being able to read and write aside) with no experience his entire life outside of the mine to be pushing the bounds of credulity for even a fantasy novel. I am also enjoying reading about the foundation of the Herald's Collegium and hope that subsequent novels will explore this further, in what is a truly significant piece of history in the Heralds of Valdemar world. So read this novel for what it is: an engaging and diverting comfort read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    One of my favorite parts of the Valdemar epic saga are the Collegium so I love that there is now an entire series based on them! Foundation is the first in a (so far) five book series set in the Collegium. While Mags is the center of the series from the Herald Collegium, the Bardic and Healer Collegiums are also at play through Mags' two best friends. Mags has spent his childhood as little more than a slave, a paid worker in name only. He has been neglected and abused his entire life and seen tho One of my favorite parts of the Valdemar epic saga are the Collegium so I love that there is now an entire series based on them! Foundation is the first in a (so far) five book series set in the Collegium. While Mags is the center of the series from the Herald Collegium, the Bardic and Healer Collegiums are also at play through Mags' two best friends. Mags has spent his childhood as little more than a slave, a paid worker in name only. He has been neglected and abused his entire life and seen those around him treated the same way. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that he had a natural knack for finding the "sparklies," life would have been even worse for him. But no matter how bad it has been for him, he has still remained kind and loyal, often sacrificing what little he has for others. And then one day, his entire life changes when a white clad Herald and a seemingly crazed horse come charging into the mine to claim him. At first, he is terrified, completely uinaware of what is happening to him. He doesn't realize that this will prove to be the best thing to ever happen to him. I love Mags,one of my all-time favorite characters in the Valdemar series. He is uneducated, but far from unintelligent. When he is finally exposed to knowledge, he soaks it up like a sponge, ever aware of how little he knows about the world around him. He has lived a life of mere survival, never experiencing anything other than mistreatment at the hands of the mine's owner. This is one of my favorites, full of mystery and intrigue and emotional characters! NOTE: The books in this saga were not published in chronlogical order, but it is on her website here, about 3/4 of the way down the page. My Recommendation: Admittedly, I am a Mercedes Lackey junkie, but this is one of my all time favorite series within the entire saga. FTC Disclosure: Regardless of how I received this book, this is an honest review based on my own opinions.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dee

    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 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 broke, why fix it? Valdemar is a home from home, I probably know it's history and geography better than some real world places by now; and if I didn't like reading about hard done by children from abused backgrounds being rescued and overcoming the odds in a fantasy setting I wouldn't still be reading these books. So, Mags is an extremely unfortunate impoverished orphan near enough enslaved in an unscrupulous miner's grasp. He gets Chosen and we follow his journey of discovery that life isn't all starvation and hard work as he enters the newly forming Heraldic Collegium in Haven. Along the way there are some dodgy characters and some nice characters and some in between. It's typically well written and constructed but that's never been an issue with any Mercedes Lackey I've come across (well, apart from some of the early Baen releases with elves and cars, but the novelty of the story at that time saved it for me. Wow, that helps date me if the twenty years fandom didn't). Uh, where was I? Right, well written, coherent story, descriptive passages, perhaps a spot too much colloquial dialogue but it doesn't trouble my reading - I mention it because I know some people find trying to read written accents distracting. It's a solid read by a solid author.

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