Titan Books, p/b, £7.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins
Mags is a bit of a hero in Valdemar, what with his Kirball skills and having saved the day once again, but he’s not sure being popular suits him. Amily’s surgery was successful, Bear and Lena are ready to take the next step in their relationship, everything looks to be going well and soon Mags will have to do the same with his own blossoming romance. In fact it seems to be wedding season, but Mags can’t seem to join in the happiness. Nerves have a lot to do with it, as do the unanswered questions about his past.
Unfortunately for Mags it seems his problems are far from over, and the enemies of Valdemar are once again focused on him. He has to resume his undercover work with the Kings Own Herald and this time it may need a new disguise and a more confident manner. Everything Mags has learned and everything he has feared comes hurtling back to him, but the worst part is, something is watching him. Something he can’t see. Something that feels evil.
Redoubt is the fourth book in the Collegium Chronicles and somewhere between the end of book three and now Mags has managed to tidy up his unique accent into something more readable, which means the pace picks up considerably in this volume. There are moments when the book still has an internal focus on Mags’ thoughts and feelings, but not to a degree where the forward motion is being compromised.
There is a heightened sense of danger in this story and some new supernatural elements elevate book four above the rest of the series in terms of tension and excitement. There is some resolution to the unanswered plot threads surrounding Mags’ background, but the end of the book does not feel like a conclusion to this series and seems rushed.
What is excellent in this story is the heightened sense of adventure. Mags grows as a character, as his survival both drives the story and gives the reader a reason to stay invested. Lackey has managed to connect the reader to the protagonist in a way that wasn’t as solid in the previous books. There are also strong descriptive passages that bring the world more to life, again helping to bring the reader more deeply into the story.