Changes - Mercedes Lackey The pacing of this series is seriously off.

On some level, I feel like *this* was supposed to be book two. The same issues come up, but everyone deals with them the way they should have the last time around. Bear and Lena finally deal with some of their family issues. They fight some with both Mags and each other and don't say anything so horrible that anyone becomes suicidal. The Collegium discovers that there are agents from a foreign government at the Collegium and *doesn't* blame Mags and act like complete idiots. Why exactly did the last book exist if this one was going to do pretty much everything it did, but much better?

I loved all the little historical bits that make it clear that this book is taking place after The Last Herald Mage (and not *just* because that might be my favorite Valdemar series). The Stone in the center of the table and the discussion of the web that binds Heralds and Companions are always intriguing to hear about in a post-Herald Mage Valdemar where magic has to be explained in other ways.

Characterization is a bit of a mixed bag. I am still not going to forgive Lena and Bear for the mess they caused in the last book, even if it looks like Mags has forgotten it. I like Mags himself (except for the way he speaks. Dear Lord, that is hard to read.), though I can't really say why and am rather inclined to think it is just because he is doing interesting things and because Dallen likes him rather than for any character traits he actually has. I am getting really confused as to where on earth Master Soren and Lydia have been for two books now.

There is still way too much Kirball.