When I read Foundation, I was excited to reenter the world of Valdemar. Companions, Heralds, yes even Bards were calling to me. I dug out my old Mercedes Lackey CD so I could import some of the songs into my iPod. The second book did not invoke the same feelings.
First books usually don’t get very far in the plot because they spend so much time setting up the rest of the series. I’m used to that, so the first book gets a pass in that department. When the second book doesn’t get very far in the plot department because it’s too busy setting up later books, then we have a problem. Nothing really happens in this book to make the overall plot move forward. I blame most of it on the Kirball.
I don’t know where this trend started. Possibly with Harry Potter. Intriques had to design a game for the characters to play. A difficult and dangerous game that we had to learn the rules of. One that was so dangerous that it conveniently puts one of the major characters out of action for the final climax.
Intriques was not a bad book, but it’s not going to rank among the most memorable of the Valdemar novels either.