4 out of 5
A main theme throughout the Collegium Chronicles series has been Mags’ mysterious origins. Orphaned in a bandit camp raid he has never been sure just who his parents were and why they were in that camp. This, the fourth book in the series begins to answer these questions. A new group of assassins manages to subdue and kidnap Mags, taking him across the border in to Kardite territory. Confused, his mind speech blocked, Mags still manages to escape. In the process he befriends one of the Kardite red priests, Franse and his Sun Cat, Reaylis. With Reaylis’s help Mags regains his mind speech only to be recaptured. Through the assassins he learns of the country he came from and realizes he much prefers Valdemar.
Lackey gives the reader the opportunity to see just how much Mags has matured and moved past the horrors of his youth by separating him completely from Dallen and forcing him to survive once again on his own. This time though he has well developed skills that allow him to begin to take control of his own destiny. It also allows him to realize just how much he loves and cares for his new family in Valdemar. He is able to trust that they are doing everything to save him while also taking advantage of every means possible to escape. It is unusual for Lackey to continue one character’s story for this many books. While I am looking forward to the 5th book in the series I hope she is planning on bringing Mags’ story to a conclusion.