In this chronicle of the early history of Valdemar, Mercedes Lackey's best-selling world, a 13-year-old orphan named Magpie escapes a life of slavery in the gem mines when he is chosen by one of the magical Companion horses of Valdemar to be trained as a Herald. Thrust into the center of a legend in the making, Magpie discovers talents he never knew he had - and witnesses the founding of the great Heralds' Collegium.
©2008 Mercedes Lackey; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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"great for kids"
i think this book must have been designed for a "young adult" audience; i was a little disappointed that the themes and plot weren't a bit more mature. it's a fun story about group of kids in a magical school environment trying to solve a mystery; NOT an "epic" fantasy novel (as audible identifies its genre).
"Ditto on Young Adults"
I agree with Wyonia, the series is probably for young adults. It is not at the same level as the previous Valdemar books by this author. I will probably listen to the rest in the series as they are published just because they do fill in some of the early history of the Collegium and Valdemar and I like the Companions
"Another story of hope and growth"
This is probably my 14th or 15th Lackey book, so obviously I love her work. If you are a fan, this will not disappoint. If you are new to Valdemar, the world the stories take place in, it's not a bad place to start. It does make references to things that take place in other times,but I think all the books do that. None the less the story stands alone. These are srories of being different and that difference being recognized and revered. Valdemar is a great place to send your teenager to get them addicted to reading. Some books have violence and references to sexual matters, but not graphic. It wouldn't hurt to read them first for yourself ... don't worry you'll like em too, I'm 60 and still enjoy them.
"Probably a better 'read' for teens or pre-teens"
The conceptual development seemed adolescent or maybe just sketchy. If the character’s special gifts had included a supernatural ability to make intuitive leaps 10-15 years beyond his chronological maturity, I would not have been so distracted by the insightful observations he kept coming up with. I found myself perpetually wondering “and how would he know anything about that?” A likable character, but not believable as a thirteen/fourteen year old boy who’s entire life experience was virtual enslavement on a single-family mine.
I really enjoyed the voices that the narrator gave to each character, but his “narrative” voice was awful...like he was called on to read aloud in class. The difference between the performance when he was speaking as a character and when he was just reading the text was strange; almost like two different performers and one of them had not rehearsed his lines. I did notice that it improved in the second and the third books, though.
"Great tale, mediocre narrator"
I enjoyed the story a great deal. However, the narrator was a bit flat, and could have been much better. He didn't destroy the story, but had little inflection and kept me from getting more involved in the story.
"Great for all ages"
I love the Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey, and Nick Podehl is one of my favorite performers. This is a book I will listen to over and over.
Not sure what I would compare this series to because it is its own unique world. However I would put with greats like Chronicles of Narnia, David Eddings books, and Harry Potter because both young and older readers will enjoy I started the series in my 30's.
Mags of course and his Companion Dallon I also like Harold Nicholas and his daughter.
Mags coming to terms with his freedom after spending his childhood in slavery and retched conditions.
Even though most of the Valdemar series is for YA and adult readers the Foundation grouping is appropriate for readers as young as 8, though you may need at the beginning to explain why people are so mean or questions on words that may not be known yet. The Foundation grouping has a good lessons in empathy, ethics, and cultural understanding of people different then oneself.
As a person with LD(ADHD and dyslexia) I find the performer Nick Podehl very easy and enjoyable to listen to. This is not true of all performers but his cadence and speed of speech make him not only enjoyable but help with reading retention. If you have a child who is LD or not a great reader he is one of the best to listen to, and be able use the book in school work like a book report or just for fun.
"Well...give it a shot"
I think this series has potential. This is a coming of age novel and involves magic. I was impressed with the beginning of the story. We are introduced to the protagonist, a young boy named Magpie, who was raised in the mines like a slave in very harsh conditions. I enjoyed how the author described the conditions for this camp of orphans who needed to find gems if they expect to get their evening meals and had to huddle together for warmth at nights. Then the story changes settings and we enter a Hogwarts like environment where there are different areas of study for students that are talented in the arts of bard, healing, and heraldry. The school is part of a kingdom and has medieval level of technology. At this point I found events went a little slow for my taste. Magpie has his issues due to his harsh upbringing. He has a lot to overcome being uneducated and having a tendency to be a loner. Most of this section is about different connections to people he makes and the things he learns at his stay in the collegium. There is an element of magic and supernatural lore. Our protagonist is a herald with the power of mind speak and is able to communicate to his companion, a horse. Most of the time he has the voice of this companion / mentor in his head. The narration does a little extra special effect with the voices when Magpie is talking internally in his head to his companion so you will not get confused. It wasn't really until the end that Magpie or any of the characters actually do much with their abilities. The ending felt anticlimactic and needs a follow up. We are left with a ton of questions and I even had to review the last part because I felt like I missed something that was not there. Basically, you need to get the sequel, and I will at some point.
I read a lot of reviews on this deciding it would be up my street, it seemed to have all the qualities i wanted. But I just felt it lacking slightly, nothing really happens and some things are never really explained properly, like the work mags does, the world itself, the apparent evils that might exist! I understand there is a fine line when following the main character, they can't be overly amazing at everything I get it it's not realistic, but I wanted mags to have something more to him, more substance, and that goes for all the characters!
Great narration, but I probably wouldn't have finished this if it was an ordinary book!
Perhaps the next few series explain the characters more and they gain some depth but this was slightly disappointing
"Valdemar in a new set of eyes"
Nick Podehl brings Mags and his world alive for readers. Mercedes Lackey has begun a new Valdemar story where fans new and old learn more about the population of the Kingdom of Valdemar from the point of view of a young slave turned Chosen of the Companion Dallen. Mags is thrust into the bare beginnings of the three Collegia that is explored in other books of the series. We see the workings and the conflict involved as the transition between Herald Mentor to Heralds Collegium occurs.
The narrator is consistent in his characters so you can follow them clearly. He's not the best but he's improving. The story was fun & engaging. The style reminded me of Little Women & Jo's Boys
"A bit slow"
I tried this author for the first time as i love the narrator nick pohdel after listening to his version of "the name of the wind" but unfortunately this book is so slow. The author spends ages to say nothing and too much of the book is spent describing things that are not relevent to the story. Pohdel tries his best but cannot save this book.
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