Friday, September 4, 2015

Redoubt by Mercedes Lackey

Reviewed by Holly White

Redoubt is the sequel to Changes, and the fourth in the Collegium Chronicles quintet.  Redoubt takes up where we left off in the story of Herald Trainee Mags.  Mags’s circle of friends includes Lena, a Bardic Trainee, Bear, a Healer Trainee, and Amily, the daughter of King’s Own Herald Nikolas.  In addition, Herald Nikolas has also started training Mags to be a spy for the Crown.  Mags must learn to go into the city unobtrusively, and observe others while going unnoticed himself.
In Redoubt, Mags’ friends Lena and Bear, facing a huge problem, make a life-altering choice that could either cost them their future, or make it.  Mags himself still keeps up with his studies, remains a star player in kirball, nurtures his budding relationship with Amily, and spends time with Nikolas down in the city of Haven.  There, he and Nikolas run a pawn shop together, with Mags pretending to be the deaf mute “son” of Nikolas’ persona, the Weasel, a gruff pawn broker.  They use the pawn shop to collect information from unsuspecting informants.  Often Mags has to stay at the shop overnight to make sure the shop stays open while Herald Nikolas is needed at some King’s Own Herald business.  Sometimes when Nikolas is there, Mags unobtrusively tails suspicious characters, usually traveling from rooftop to rooftop, where most folks never think to look.  Things get complicated when, during one of these rooftop ventures, Mags begins to feel like he’s being watched, but neither Dallen nor him using their powers can figure out who is doing the watching or from where.  The only conclusion they can reach is that Mags is being haunted.  Things get even more complicated when Mags gets kidnapped.  As a Heraldic Trainee, Mags has learned at least a smattering of all the foreign languages of the nearby countries, but his kidnappers speak a language of which he cannot recognize even a word.  Mags is being carried ever father away from all that he knows, and on top of that, his mindspeech is somehow gone; he cannot call out to Dallen or anyone else for help.
Will Bear and Lena’s choice shatter their dreams, or will it give them everything they’ve always wanted?  Will Mags be able to sort out his own feelings for Amily?  Will Mags ever find out who, or what, was watching or haunting him, and why?  Will Mags be able to escape from his foreign captors?  Will he find a way to contact Dallen or someone for help?  Will he ever get his mindspeech back, or will he have to learn to live without it?  Find out by reading Redoubt. 
If you love fantasy, good vs. evil stories, with romance, magic, espionage, and adventure, then you will love Redoubt.  This book and others in the series spend far too much time, in my opinion, on the kirball games and their strategies, which to me, does not advance the plot at all.  But sports fans will probably enjoy that part of the book best.  Not being into sports at all, I wish she would have just said, “So-and-so Team won the kirball match and then this is what happened next.”  Be all that as it may, though, Redoubt is still an enjoyable read with a satisfying ending, but not so satisfying that you don’t want to read the next book.  My next review will be on the fifth book in the Collegium Chronicles quintet, Bastion.

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