Review of FOUNDATION by Mercedes Lackey (see her website)
THE COLLEGIUM CHRONICLES VOL. ONE
DAW, October 2008
Mags works in the jewel mines under Valdemar until, one day, a Herald shows up with a Companion (Companions are intelligent, psychic horses who really-really love their chosen people), takes Mags away from all of that and enrolls him in Herald school. At Herald school, Mags makes friends, manages to impress one of the King's chief advisors, and becomes the protoge of the King's Herald.
Author Mercedes Lackey (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Lackey) has created some wonderful tales in the Valdemar universe. Unfortunately, this is not one of them. Instead of plot, we get the poor orphan boy saved and finding love. He finds love from his Companion (Companions have got to be wonderful fantasies for teen girls who love horses and the idea of unreserved (and unearned) love), respect from everyone around him, and a host of talents that make him stand out despite his efforts to stay hidden.
There's nothing wrong with the poor orphan boy story. We all have fantasies, after all, about being recognized as wonderful. Still, it doesn't make a novel. Lackey gives us the basic tools for a plot--we have strange and dangerous visitors, Heralds angry over the way traditions are being changed, haunts, and Mags's own background--supposedly he was born of bandits. For me, at least, she simply didn't deal with the plants she put in place. Perhaps these will be dealt with later in the series and FOUNDATION is intended merely to start things off. Many writers have learned that it's sometimes necessary to delete the first couple of chapters--they had to be written to give the author the background to the story but the reader doesn't need them. To me, FOUNDATION felt like the chapters that should have been deleted.
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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