For Mags the past few years have been a roller coaster ride of emotional and physical challenges, especially where his uncertain heritage is concerned. He has his supporters and a close group of friends, but there is always a little niggle in the back of his mind that he is placing his friends, his King, and his country and risk through his continued presence. His worst nightmares seem to have come true when he was kidnapped and kept separated from Dallen through drugs and distance, but now he is back at Haven and waiting for the next disaster to fall on his shoulders.
He was expecting disaster, what he wasn't expecting was to be sent to Bastion - the place where his parents were killed. There are several reasons to send him out with his friends, there is the public story, the story he knows, and probably several other stories he will never know - all he knows is that it is a chance for him to be away from Haven, and a way for him to keep his friends close. It is a chance for Mags to try and learn more about his parents, a chance to search for answers away from the one place the tribe of assassins on his tail knows where to look for him, a chance to spend time with his friends and keep them safe. That was the theory anyway, in practice the Bastion may not be the refuge they hoped for, it may instead be a tempting target for the people who want Mags back in the family - no matter what the cost.
Bastion is the fifth book in the Collegium Chronicles, and one of the most intriguing things about this series is that you don't know how it will end, or when. Lackey is well known for writing trilogies based in her world of Valdemar, or standalone books, it is unheard of for a series to break that mould and keep going - and while it is a little niggly to not know when the series is going to end, it is also somewhat exciting to try and guess how many more books might be in the series, or where things might head next. In a lot of ways the previous book, Redoubt, felt like a middle book, which would make the series seven books long in total, but someone I was talking to about Bastion felt that it might be the end book in the series. It is also unusual for Lackey to have a single world for the title of her Valdemar books, usually the series start with the same word and the theme carries through for the trilogy, so in a lot of ways the Collegium Chronicles are unique.
However long the Collegium Chronicles last, one thing is clear, Lackey is still an amazing world and character builder who creates depth in her characters and presents them with real challenges to overcome. Nothing is ever easy for the characters in Valdemar, there are curve balls, learning experiences, and in some cases heartbreak galore - and how many other people would also admit that their openness to religion and same sex relationship comes from a world where there is "no one way" and where a good number of the characters are openly shay'a'chern. I hope there are more books for Mags, even if it is just so we can see what happens with Amily - but also to learn more about this time in Valdemar's history.
If you like this book then try:
- Foundation by Mercedes Lackey
- Magic's pawn by Mercedes Lackey
- Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
- Burning brightly by Mercedes Lackey
- Sing the four quarters by Tanya Huff
- If I pay thee not in gold by Piers Anthony and Mercedes Lackey
- Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
- Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
- The diamond throne by David Eddings
- Cast in shadow by Michelle Sagara
Reviewed by Brilla