In Bastion, Mags does not get much time to recover from the events of Redoubt before he has to head out again. His experience with his captors has left him with a number of confused memories, new combat skills and only the slightest inkling of whom his captors were. (They are apparently some kind of secret clan of ninjas, from a desert country very far away.)
It’s decided that in order to hopefully get the ninja clan off of his tail, that Mags should head out on his first circuit as a Herald. It’s also decided that Mag’s friends should join him for this trip, because the ninjas might target his friends if they can’t get their hands on him. A number of convenient excuses are arranged and the circuit Mags is given includes the former bandit stronghold where he was recovered as an infant. (There is not likely to be a lot left there, but there is some hope that they might find a few more clues about Mags’ parents.)
In this book, Mags has a number of learning experiences and grows even closer to his sweetheart Amily. (And by closer I mean intimately.) He also encounters his cousin, a young ninja who wants to restore the honor of his clan (such as it is). The cousin provides valuable information about Mags’ parents. He also has a strong desire to convince Mags to join the ninja clan. (Mags is still not willing to drink the special ninja Kool-Aid, however.) This amicable encounter is wrecked by other members of the ninja clan who promptly besiege the Bastion.
Bastion held my attention to a greater extent than Redoubt, though some of the problems that I had with Redoubt still apply. (Mostly it’s the extremely slow reveal concerning the mysterious ninja clan, though we finally get a better idea of why the ninjas are so determined to kidnap Mags. I’m not sure that I buy the reasoning, however, given the social structure Lackey gives them.) Mags cousin Bey is an intriguing and weirdly charming character and I enjoyed his interactions with Mags. I liked the book and felt the pacing was much better in this book than in the previous book.