Reviewed by Holly White
Bastion is the sequel to Redoubt, and the fifth in the Collegium Chronicles quintet. Bastion takes up where we left off in the story of Herald Trainee Mags. Mags has just been rescued from a kidnapping attempt, but has not come through the experience unscathed. His mindspeech works again, but his captors messed with his mind, and he has memories that he never experienced, of a land, language, and culture not his own. He returns to Haven to find everything the same, but changed. Bear and Lena are now married. Bear is about to receive his Healer Greens, and Lena has but to complete her final Master piece in order to earn her Bardic Scarlets. Soon their days as relatively carefree Collegium Trainees would be over, and two of his dearest friends would move, no doubt far away. Mags’ own love interest, Amily, once crippled and unable to defend herself, has now learned to fight and defend herself so well that she now helps the Weaponsmaster teach younger Trainees. Mags finds that he has been replaced, as expected, on the kirball team, which while disappointing, affords him more time for his classes and other duties. However, then he discovers that he has been suspended from classes for a time. Indeed, he is to be sent away on circuit with a Heraldic mentor, without having taken the classes necessary to prepare him for the responsibilities of such a journey.
When Mags goes out on circuit, who will be his Herald mentor? The only Hearld Mage he knows well is Nikolas, the King’s Own Herald, who cannot do it due to his being needed at the palace. Who knows if the Herald selected to mentor Mags on his journey will even be someone with whom he can get along? In addition, how will Mags endure being separated from his closest friends for over a year, especially Amily? The situation is made more difficult by knowing that his enemies are still on the loose and are still searching for him, enemies who, he knows from experience, have the skills to infiltrate Haven and even the palace itself right under the noses of the best Heralds in Valdemar. How will Mags ever get rid of such tenacious, talented pursuers? Furthermore, how will he ever find out where he comes from and who he really is? Find out by reading Bastion.
Bastion is a wonderful story full of fantasy, action, romance, magic, espionage, and adventure. Bastion wraps up the Collegium Chronicles quintet beautifully. All my questions were answered with answers tied up with a neat little bow. Mags and the other characters faced an impossible situation with unsurmountable odds. However, they solved their problems in such a brilliant and unexpected way that, in hindsight, it was the only thing that would have worked. I love it when an author does that! Everything seems hopeless, and then, BAM! The tumblers click into place, one by one, like a combination lock being opened. Fascinating work from a delightful author! Definitely one for the favorites shelf. My next review will pick up with Mags’ story in the first book of a new series about him, called Closer to Home, which is Book One of the Herald Spy series.