Foundation: Book One of the Collegium Chronicles by Mercedes Lackey, the latest addition to the Heralds of Valdemar series, takes place during the first year of the newly created Heralds’ Collegium. The newest Chosen, Mags, was an orphan forced to work in a mine finding “sparklies” along with other unwanted children when his Companion, Dallen, forces his way onto the mine owner’s property, with the help another Herald and Companion, to claim him. From there, Mags begins his new life as a trainee, trying to find his place in an unfamiliar world. Unused to being shown kindness or having friends, he feels like an outsider among the many trainees (Herald, Bard, and Healer) crammed together in one building while two others are under construction.
Mags becomes unlikely friends with two Bard and Healer trainees, children of famous parents, who live under the pressure of high expectations. He even inadvertently befriends a powerful councilman who decides to take an interest in Mags. Meanwhile, foreign princes have visited the city and have their guardsmen looking into Valdemar’s weapons training.
I have not read all of the Heralds of Valdemar series, but I know what to expect of a Valdemar book from the ones I have read. Foundation seemed incomplete to me. The climatic scene had little to do with the rest of the book, though I am sure it will be important in the books to come. Having said that, I did enjoy the novel. Mags is likable and sympathetic. His suffering and later loneliness due to the lack of family made me cry. It was also interesting to see the conflicts and issues related to the creation of the Heralds’ Collegium. I am definitely looking forward to more of Mags and the continuation of his story. Maybe some of the questions left open at the end of Foundation will finally be answered.