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Arrow's fall by Mercedes Lackey
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2,421172,563 (3.96)47
Title:Arrow's fall
Authors:Mercedes Lackey
Info:New York, NY : DAW Books, c1988.
Collections:Read but unowned, Challenge Books, 2008 books read
Tags:sff, 888

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Arrow's Fall by Mercedes Lackey (1988)



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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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  WendyClements | Apr 21, 2013 |
This is the strongest book in the trilogy, I think - the stakes are raised significantly, and there is some resolution to the major plot threads. The writing is again better than before. It's still flawed, though. The not-talking-to-each-other problem takes up the first third of the book, and is tedious in the extreme. The rape and torture in the middle third feels a bit... not gratuitous, exactly, but cheap, like Lackey couldn't think of a non-obvious way to heighten the tension. And the pacing is super weird - the major resolution comes two thirds of the way through the book, and there's quite a bit of Return to the Shire-style resolution that makes the book trail off rather than come to a measured halt.

I hate to sound like I really dislike these books, because I respect them in a lot of ways and they were the springboard for much better and more interesting work later on, but I would still not suggest them to adult readers without a lot of caveats. ( )
1 vote JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
This is the conclusion to Arrows of the Queen and Arrows Flight, which should be read first. I think this is a satisfying resolution to all the threads established in the first books. I like how Talia grew through all three novels and Lackey certainly made me feel for her characters. Well, the ones on the "good" side. This author's and series greatest flaw is arguably that she creates a very black and white world, with villains in the twirl-the-mustache mold, and this is no exception. Combined with the appealing characters, I loved the magical world Lackey created--a group of heroes of various backgrounds drawn together because they are the chosen of their companions--magical horses who are their full partners. What teenage girl wouldn't be enthralled by such a world? But I still enjoyed rereading this even as an adult: a good escapist read. ( )
2 vote LisaMaria_C | Oct 1, 2010 |
[I tried making this spoiler-free, but it ain’t working, so it’s a bit on the spoilerish side].

I loved this last installment to the Heralds of Valdemar series. That’s pretty much all I have to say – it’s a tie for my favorite book out of all three (the tie being with the first).

I think Mercedes Lackey read my previous reviews, because the pacing went up by a considerable amount. There were only a few places in the text where the plot lagged, and even when it did, I could see why it was written that way. Elspeth grew a lot this novel, I think, despite the meager amount that was written about her. You’d have thought she’d learned with the whole Hulda incident to not trust anyone wholeheartedly unless you were absolutely sure of them, but apparently she needed a second slap in the face before she learned her lesson. She came a long way from Arrows of the Queen, and I loved seeing the entire process from the Brat to Elspeth-in-the-third-book.

About a fourth into the novel, the plot really picks up. Talia and Kris set out to Hardorn, and you get this feeling of foreboding from the very get-go. The trip there is actually interesting (I felt myself skip a bit of the in-between towns in the second book), and it didn’t take pages upon pages. Talia ends up getting captured – a seemingly hopeless situation – and we almost lose our main character. I love (albeit a very... twisted love) the way Lackey portrayed Talia’s captivity. As a writer, I would not want to write the vile things Talia endured, but Lackey did just that – not in a way that I’d want to throw the book into a wall, but rather in a way that made me sympathize with Talia and want to hold her until her hurt went away.

The way she was rescued was... beyond awesome. I can’t even tell you all how much I was jumping up and down (yes, even after my 10th re-read!). The war... wasn’t that great, compared to other wars depicted through fantasy that I’ve read. It was just so-so; nothing totally epic. I have to admit that I loved how a side character that barely had any face time got the “glory” (and I loved him since book 1, anyway!).

One thing about this book, though... is honestly... prepare some tissues or something. When I went through my first read of this third book, I sobbed my eyes out (I was 10, leave me alone D: ). This time around I didn’t sob, but I did get teary-eyed. No matter how many times I read this series/novel, the one thing that will never change is how I feel about... what made me cry. I felt like I lost a part of me (okay that may be over-dramatization). It was hard not to feel that way, when Lackey does such an amazing job of developing her characters that you feel like they’re your very personal friends.

The wedding at the end was nice and simple (or so it seemed, compared to the lavish decorations Elspeth and the others came up with initially). I was so happy Talia and Dirk finally got together in the end, and I loved the way it led up to its inevitability: hope, confusion, misunderstandings, sickness, capture, reuniting, confessing, and absolute love. Kris’ gift at the end was what made the novel so awesome, and made me write a more hyped review. If you want someone to blame, blame him! :P I... loved that he didn’t back out on his promise. ( )
2 vote Frazzletastic | Sep 24, 2010 |
The action really picks up in this conclusion to the first trilogy of Valdemar, as Orthallen's treachery is uncovered and Ancar's plans are revealed. There is war, death, love... It sounds so very cheesy to put it that way, but Mercedes Lackey pulls it off in a way that doesn't make the reader feel like they're being drowned in cliches.

Most of the time, anyway. I have to admit that the revelation that Orthallen sent an assassin to kill Selenay's father in the heat of battle was just a little too corny for me.

I'm not sure whether or not to class that one as one of the inconsistancies of the Valdemar timeline, really. In a later book, the one that deals with the Tedrel wars, it's revealed that Sendar was indeed killed in battle, but no mention of anything other than just a simple overpowering by an enemy force was even implied. Somebody could have sent an assassin in specifically to kill Sendar at that moment, I suppose, but it seems like coordinating that would have been far too complicated. It seems more like another little established thing that the author forgot about when she wrote later books.

One thing that has always puzzled me about the Valdemar series is the arrow code, which plays a central part of this first trilogy. If it's ever mentioned again, I don't recall it. No other Herald seems to learn it or teach it in any book that takes place before or after the Arrows trilogy. The way it's presented here, that would be something akin to Herald never learning weaponswork: inconceivable. And yet...

But all that aside, this was an enjoyable trilogy, even if it did start off rather slowly. You see the characters grow and change very realistically as the books progress, especially Talia and Elspeth. I think the author did a wonderful job of protraying people who are having to grow up in extraordinary circumstances. What makes them so believable is that although Heralds as a whole are presented as being immaculate and close to perfect to the general population, they are anything but. Dirk loses himself in angst and confusion and starts drinking himself to sleep at night. Elspeth is made a fool of and then makes a fool of herself. Mistakes are made, and sometimes rectified but sometimes not, and when you're writing a story about a group of heroes who are, in some sense, a gift from the gods, it can be so easy to write them as being infallible, perfectly sensible and with logical reasons behind everything they do. Instead, they are wonderfully portrayed as real people, with problems and emotions and quirks.

I've always said that Mercedes Lackey's talent lies in characterization. If you're looking for fantasy books packed with epic battles and world-changing awesomeness... Well, read Lackey's Storms trilogy, honestly. But the rest of her books are driven more by characters, by people, than by great cataclysms, and that's what I enjoy about them.

The trilogy ends with a positive event as a reprieve from negativity, rather than a negative event overshadowing anything positive that could happen. Talia's wedding to Dirk (and the supernatural gift from Kris at the very end) is a little bit of a twist to the usual formula. Plenty of people would have a wedding surrounded by apprehension over the inevitable war, or have the wedding come before the initial skirmish, to end the book on a much more powerful cliffhanger. Yes, I say powerful because such a thing might have drawn more readers if there had been more action to end the book with, a reason for them to go out and immediately buy the next book to see what happens next. On the other hand, what must be remembered is that this book isn't the story of a country. It's the story of a person, and people are very apt to cling to small moments of happiness in the middle of chaos.

Not saying that's the best way to do it, but the happy -- or rather, happier -- ending can certainly be excused, as it follows the authors style and plays to her strengths very well.

The book also ends with some of the songs of Valdemar, not just ones mentions in the trilogy but also ones written about characters or events that the books deal with, a taste of what Valdemar's Bards have been up to this whole time. It's a nice little treat for the musically-inclined, and I enjoy getting to read the lyrics. (And before I learned that music had already been put to those lyrics and released as CDs, I enjoyed making my own tunes for them!) ( )
1 vote Bibliotropic | Jun 9, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mercedes Lackeyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, Jody A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Set in the medieval fantasy kingdom of Valdemar, this unique and exciting novel continues the story of Talia. Having mastered the powers necessary to a guardian of the kingdom, she faces the final preparation for her initiation as adviser and protector of the Queen.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0886774004, Mass Market Paperback)

With Elspeth, the heir to the throne of Valdemar, come of marriageable age, Talia, the Queen's Own Herald returns to court to find Queen and heir beset by diplomatic intrigue as various forces vie for control of Elspeth's future.

But just as Talia is about to uncover the traitor behind all these intrigues, she is sent off on a mission to the neighboring kingdom, chosen by the Queen to investigate the worth of a marriage proposal from Prince Ancar.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Talia, Herald to the Queen of Valdemar, travels to a neighboring realm to investigate a prince's proposal to marry the Queen's heir, but discovers an evil plot to destroy Valdemar.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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