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Arrow's Flight (The Heralds of…

Arrow's Flight (The Heralds of Valdemar, Book 2) (original 1987; edition 1987)

by Mercedes Lackey

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2,437192,537 (3.91)46
Title:Arrow's Flight (The Heralds of Valdemar, Book 2)
Authors:Mercedes Lackey
Info:DAW Books (1987), Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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Arrow's Flight by Mercedes Lackey (1987)



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I wanted to like this. I enjoyed it well enough when I first read it, a couple years ago. I seem to recall reading it all in one afternoon, back then, when I was new to the lands of Valdemar and utterly enchanted. This time, Flight was actually quite painful to slog through. I mean, it’s boring! It’s really boring!

Talia goes out on her herald internship, travelling a circuit around Valdemar with Kris. They stop at every little town to settle petty disputes that nobody really seems to care about. All the while Talia is inwardly angsting, filled with self-doubt about her empathy powers. Weirdly for an empath she is awfully judgemental about the peasant/farmer-types they encounter on their trip. She’s miserable and doesn’t have time for them.

”Talia’s unhappiness was a hard knot within her now; the petty problems of the townfolk seemed trivial at this point.” (p.139)

And Kris can barely even tell one villager from another (they all look the same to him):

”. . . he finally managed to ascertain that there were two aggrieved parties, both as alike to his eyes as a pair of crows - brown hair, thick brown beards, nearly identical clothing of brown homespun.” (p.129)

The lack of interest on the part of the characters translates to a lack of interest for me. Who wants to hang out with a miserable, moping person for 300 pages?

The only really big thing that happens in this book (and the part I remembered) is that Kris and Talia get snowed in a cabin. The “Snowed-In” trope is quite common in fanfic and I admit it is a guilty pleasure of mine, which is why I remembered that part of the book and nothing else. ( )
2 vote catfantastic | Aug 26, 2014 |
Arrow's Flight is more coherent a novel than Arrows of the Queen, I'll give it that. Since it's got a straightforward arc, the episodic feel to the various adventures works just fine, and the central conflict carries all the way through.

I'm not sure that makes me like it any better, though. The central conflict is based on the infuriating "two people refuse to actually talk about the obvious problem" trope which I just loathe. And once it's conquered, it shows up for an encore in an utterly pointless pseudo-love-triangle bit of drama that goes nowhere but an almost-worth-it reconciliation scene.

There are good things about it - I do like Talia's actual process of coming to terms with her power, and this book is possibly the only one that really expounds on a Herald's day-to-day, non-wartime job. And Lackey's writing is noticeably tighter even from Arrows. It's just even more a book I can't quite love because I'm too old and cynical. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
This is the sequel to Arrows of the Queen concluded in Arrows Fall. I loved the Valdemar stories as a teen and recently read them in a fit of nostalgia and found I still love them: good comfort food. The series deal with a kind of police force/military in a medieval setting bonded with magical horses the equal of their riders and full partners. The trilogy with Talia this is the middle book for is also a engaging coming of age tale in the classic mold, with an unappreciated child finding and growing into their destiny. This particular story has Talia finally done with her schooling and going out in the world, and I thought the story dealt well with some of the ethical dilemmas of her gift. A good read in an involving world with characters Lackey makes me care about. ( )
2 vote LisaMaria_C | Oct 1, 2010 |
Out of all the novels in this trilogy, this has to be my least favorite. But I still enjoyed it, and the series, a lot, so my saying that it’s my least favorite isn’t something bad, really.

In this installment of the Heralds of Valdemar trilogy, Talia is sent out on her 18 month intership and the entire book revolves around the duties a Herald is likely to perform on circuit. To be honest, it was a refreshing change of scenery from the Collegium – there were only so many situations Talia could find herself in, and a lot of them were starting to repeat. So when I say the change of scenery is a nice change, I mean it.

Right off the bat, a new friendship is unveiled. Kris and Talia are bound to become closer, as he is her “mentor”, of sorts. It doesn’t help, however, when he asks (very bluntly!) Talia about the rumors spreading in Court about her. This dampers the mood immediately, and Talia is suddenly cast into self-doubt and a depression that eats away her soul. In fact, after the first 50 pages, the entire novel was basically Talia being suicidal/depressed, angry, and weak. Am I being harsh in saying she’s weak? Hell no. If I were her, I would have tried my best to reverse the predicament she was in. All she did was reflect on it and allow the doubt to eat away at her. I wanted to reach into the book’s pages and slap her silly. I mean, I’m glad that she had something she wasn’t sure of/skilled at, since a lot of things just came easily to her in the first book, but it was getting me depressed while I was reading about it.

Back to Kris and Talia... I love that they both love someone so much they don’t want to hurt that person, and sacrifice their own feelings (however insignificant) because of that. I love Kris; I’ll admit. He’s funny, arrogant, gallant (at times), and understanding/patient (well, after he reevaluates his perceptions of others). He screamed different, very much like Skif did in the first novel [pertaining to how all the characters sounded the same]. Near the end of the novel, the Midsummer’s Eve scene with him had to be one of my favorites. It was such a nice, loving, thoughtful scene, and I have to admit that I got misty eyed. So sweet!

I have to admit that I hated the lack of action. By action, I merely mean that half of what we read is just them riding, and Talia being emo in the corner (okay, not the corner). There were only about... four scenes that deviated from the monotonous circuit up north, not including the snow-in that occurred. Two of those scenes were stuck in the back of the book, as if Mercedes Lackey just thrust them in without careful planning at all. I also disliked the lack of time (what can I say, I’m a stickler for time!) sequence. One moment, we’d finish up a scene and in the line break, we’re months ahead. Sometimes it was hard to distinguish when a time jump would happen, and I’d have to re-read again to check what month I was reading about.

Upon this re-read, I found some things I had missed in previous reads, which got me really excited. Knowing how the third book goes, I was able to foreshadow a few events (two in particular stuck out; the Weatherwitch and the flowers), so I was happy I was able to pick those events up that I hadn’t in earlier reads. ( )
2 vote Frazzletastic | Sep 24, 2010 |
It's strange, but in between Arrows of the Queen and this novel, the style has become so much closer to the way Lackey writes the rest of her books. Less narration-in-the-guise-of-dialogue, less voice of god telling about the behind the scenes stuff that readers need to know but that can't be explained in any other way. The story is driven more heavily by character interaction than before, and that's what I like most about her Valdemar novels. The style is still less refined than in later books, but it's getting there. The seeds have been planted and the plant is growing.

In this second book of the trilogy, Talia has earned her Whites and is off on her first circuit, a year and a half in the field with a mentor to guide and help her learn the more practical aspects of being a Herald. We get a clearer view of just what a Herald does here, the real nitty-gritty of the lives they lead and the work that they do, and much in the same way that Arrows of the Queen gives us a good look at just what training to be a Herald can be like, this is good groundwork for later books in that we know more about the little bits of Heraldic life, the less-than-epic events that sometimes get overlooked in the larger picture of the history of Valdemar.

If this book has any one failing it's in the pacing, and even then there are understandable reasons why the author dwells on just about everything that happens for a month and then skips half a year. It can throw the reader a little bit, and make you read back to make sure that no, you didn't actually miss anything, but as jarring as it can be sometimes, there are reasons for it. To give equal time to everything would mean the underplaying of some important things and giving too much attention to other more trivial things.

I'm still enjoying the reread of this series, and I'm seeing things that I missed before and appreciating all the familiar and much-loved aspects that little bit extra.

But then, I freely admit that I'm a die-hard Valdemar fan, and your mileage may vary on these books. The things that I enjoy about them tend to be the very things that other people find tedious and dull. Still, I definitely recommend the series to people, and at least counsel giving them a try before making a final decision. Especially when the series gets going with the Winds and Storms trilogies, it's easy to get pulled into the world and get lost within it.

But that's a review for another day. ( )
1 vote Bibliotropic | Jun 7, 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 0886773776, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:28 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Talia, having mastered her psychic and empathic powers, is chosen to be a Herald by the Companions, but must face a testing period before she becomes the Queen's protector.

(summary from another edition)

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