Lair of the Geek

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Redoubt Book four in the Collegium Chronicles


Author: Mercedes Lackey
Publisher: Titanbooks
Cost: £7.99
Review by: Emsy

Redoubt is the fourth book in Mercedes Lackey’s Collegium Chronicles. Starring the protagonist Mags, we have been following him on his adventures in the magical world of Valdemar. The previous two books, Changes and Intrigues were somewhat disappointing, mainly to the lack of story progression. In this book though, that changes, hooray!
There is still the strong presence of Kiriball, which is a little bit of a page filler, but much less so than the last book. Also the book reads a lot easier due to the way Mags’ discourse and thoughts are written on the page. Whereas previously you have had to re-read sentences several times, attempting to translate them, Lackey seems to have cleaned it up in Redoubt. This means that we are able to have that nice reading flow back, the type that befits a fantasy book so well.
I was a bit concerned about halfway through, when we were suddenly seemingly thrown back into the first book Foundation. Several chapters were nearly word for word, the same as Foundations, and this could be seen again as a page filler, but to be honest it works really well in the context of the book. Firstly, it reminds us of the first book, and where Mags is from (after all it has been four books); secondly, it pulls you back into the world of Valdemar. For the first time in three books, I was lost in the story, and wanted to know what on earth was going on, and why we were experiencing repeated events from the past.
There is of course a very poignant reason, and that is that it is integral in the story progression. Without spoiling too much, we learn why Mags is being hunted, and without this extended flashback this wouldn’t have worked in the story.
Lackey’s wonderful skill with spinning word into a variable tapestry of imagery and description is featured heavily in Redoubt, and due to not being as jaded with the difficult to swallow syntax and slow moving story that tarnish books two and three, I am able to fully appreciate it. It is times like this when you remember that Mercedes Lackey has a real legacy of incredibly successful fantasy books behind her.
This book is much more action-packed than its predecessors, and I found myself getting excited once again about the story. The ending is a bit abrupt, but this time, rather than finding it irritating and feeling like it is a device used to drag the story over several because, it felt like the book had enough content contained within it for it to be a reasonable ending, albeit still riddled with unanswered questions.
Of course, now that I am actually looking forward to reading the next installment, which is called Revelations, it looks like I will have to wait a good few months before it is released! Maybe I will take this time to read over the series, and now that I know things pick up in book four, perhaps I will be able to enjoy, and draw more, from the rest of them. I am really impressed with Redoubt, well done Mercedes Lackey, you have restored my faith in you and turned around what was a bit of a dire situation. This is an all round great read.

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