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Arrows of the Queen (1987)

by Mercedes Lackey

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3,355572,729 (4.02)154
Talia, a runaway Holdgirl, is chosen to become a trainee herald in the queen's elite guard and to care for young Princess Elspeth, heir to the throne. The sequels are Arrow's Flight (1987) and Arrow's Fall (1988). The author's Last Herald Mage series (Magic's Pawn, 1989; Magic's Price, 1990; and Magic's Promise, 1990), and her Mage Winds trilogy (Winds of Fate, 1991; Winds of Change, 1992; and Winds of Fury, 1993) are set in the same world. The Black Gryphon (1994), written by Lackey and Larry Dixon, is set in Valdemar 1,000 years earlier. Storm Warning (1994) is the first book in the author's Mage Storms trilogy, also set in Valdemar. Annotation. Talia, a young runaway, is made a herald at the royal court after she rescues one of the legendary Companions. When she uncovers a plot to seize the throne, Talia must use her empathic powers to save the queen. Talia, a trainee Herald, must use her untried psychic and empathic powers to protect the Queen of Valdemar and her child from a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy the kingdom.… (more)
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» See also 154 mentions

English (56)  Danish (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
Kind of cute, but just too ineffectual / easy. No real... anything to it. Fine. ( )
  Loryndalar | Mar 19, 2020 |
This is the first Valdemar book. I must have read it first more than twenty years ago and began to read it again with some trepidation, wondering if it could be as emotionally engaging as it was when I first read it. If anything, it was even better this time.

Talia is a thirteen-year-old girl who was raised in a very restrictive sect on the border of Valdemar. Her life was bound and restricted. Reading was discouraged and any disobedience was harshly punished. When she is told on her thirteenth birthday that it was time for her to marry a man chosen for her by her father, she runs away but really doesn't know where she might be going.

She is picked up by Rolan who was the Companion of the previous Queen's Own Herald. Talia doesn't know what is going on. She's certain that she'll be punished for stealing the Companion. When she arrives at the Palace and the Collegium, she finds herself in a life she couldn't possibly have imagined. Now, she is in training to become a Herald and the Queen's Own to Queen Selenay. One of her first tasks is to befriend the Queen's Heir who has become thoroughly spoiled and is in danger of never being Chosen by a Companion of her own.

But the spoiled Heir is just one thread of a bigger conspiracy that caused the murder of the previous Queen's Own and the death of a number of other Heralds. Talia is also in danger of being a victim of that conspiracy and would have except for the friendships she's made among the other Heralds and Trainees at the Collegium.

I enjoyed the seamless way the world building was built into the story in the form of stories told Talia whose past upbringing made her ignorant of the world she is now living in. I liked Talia's common sense and compassion. I could understand her fear of trusting which has her keeping secrets from those who would be able to help her if only she could open up to them.

There is an engaging cast of characters who surround Talia and make the story even richer. I can't wait to read the rest of this trilogy again to watch Talia grow into the Herald she becomes. ( )
2 vote kmartin802 | Jan 1, 2020 |
This first book in the Arrows trilogy, set in Lackey's Valdemar, was mostly enjoyable. It's pretty episodic, which I don't love, but I liked Talia and the whole set up here enough to carry on. Since I first read the Magic's Whatsit" trilogy in my early twenties, I've been wanting to return to this world, and I'm glad I did. I mean to continue on with this trilogy soonish, and I hope that the next book will be a little more plotty. ( )
  lycomayflower | Jul 23, 2019 |
I was impressed by how much of daily mundane material sustained my interest. There was only one jarring moment when Talia lied to Selenay to get Skif out of trouble. She is supposedly unable to lie to the queen. It must have bothered Lackey as well, as she later made up an excuse - a poor one.

And the horse Companions is a weak story device, IMHO. ( )
  2wonderY | Jun 12, 2019 |
Magic horses, guys.

I really love the Valdemar books. They are a little bit fluffy and wish fullfillment-y, but they are a lot of fun and oddly progressive in a lot of ways. Valdemar is kind of the perfect fantasy kingdom in a lot of ways, with a monarchy, but a monarchy run by people who are guaranteed to be good people, at least, even if it doesn't always promise that they will be good rulers.

Talia is an easy heroine to like. She starts in an awful family situation that does not suit her at all and has no clue what is going on when she appears to be kidnapped by a horse. Her confusion is a great intro to the series as a whole, actually, because we readers learn what is going on as she does and it makes it easier to follow everything with a new universe. She also loves to read, which I love to see in a book heroine and don't feel I see enough.

There is some political wrangling going on, but as this is the first book in a trilogy the full explanation of what is actually happening is not solved. It does end in a solid place, though, and doesn't feel like a cliffhanger. There are mysteries still to be solved, but things end in a logical place for Talia herself.

Watching Talia learn how to make friends and come out of her shell and actually trust people is a large chunk of the book. It is a coming-of-age novel, for sure, although clearly set in a fantasy universe. She ends up in some danger and has to learn who to trust, but things end pretty well for her. Valdemar is not Westeros, and although some bad stuff happens, it is always offset by good.

The side characters don't do a whole lot of coming into their own in this novel, though they get further development later. Jadus and Skif probably get the most "screen time," though that is due to the fact that they end up being the most directly connected to the plots against Talia. They're good friends for her to have, and very different, though most of what I know about them actually comes out in other books.

The writing feels a bit rough in this one sometimes; there is a lot more telling than showing than there needs to be, though this is not as much of a problem in the rest of the trilogy. I think it was difficult to condense this much time and this many plotlines and this much new worldbuilding into a book of this size, and it suffers from that a bit. Admittedly, I have also always loved the Collegium and wished that more time got spent there watching the training of young Heralds.

It is awkward to write a review for a book you have not only read several times, but you have read the entire series to which it belongs. Separating your feelings for the characters and the writing becomes an exercise in futility. If you are interested in starting the Valdemar series, this is not a bad place to begin, and as long as you are content with a fun romp through a fantasy universe centered on magical horses and coming-of-age stories, you'll probably quite enjoy it. ( )
1 vote Hyzie | May 29, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mercedes Lackeyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lee, Jody A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
Dedicated to Marion Zimmerman Bradley and Lisa Waters who kept telling me I could do this ...
First words
A gentle breeze rustled the leaves of the tree, but the young girl seated beneath it did not seem to notice.
Quotations
It was a feeling more than words; a shock and a delight. A breathless joy so deep it was almost pain; a joining. A losing and a finding; a loosing and a binding. Flight and freedom. And love and acceptance past all words to tell of the wonders of it--and she answered that love with all her soul.
Once is chance, twice is coincidence, ... But three times is conspiracy. P. 199
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Talia, a runaway Holdgirl, is chosen to become a trainee herald in the queen's elite guard and to care for young Princess Elspeth, heir to the throne. The sequels are Arrow's Flight (1987) and Arrow's Fall (1988). The author's Last Herald Mage series (Magic's Pawn, 1989; Magic's Price, 1990; and Magic's Promise, 1990), and her Mage Winds trilogy (Winds of Fate, 1991; Winds of Change, 1992; and Winds of Fury, 1993) are set in the same world. The Black Gryphon (1994), written by Lackey and Larry Dixon, is set in Valdemar 1,000 years earlier. Storm Warning (1994) is the first book in the author's Mage Storms trilogy, also set in Valdemar. Annotation. Talia, a young runaway, is made a herald at the royal court after she rescues one of the legendary Companions. When she uncovers a plot to seize the throne, Talia must use her empathic powers to save the queen. Talia, a trainee Herald, must use her untried psychic and empathic powers to protect the Queen of Valdemar and her child from a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy the kingdom.

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Talia, a young runaway, is made a herald at the royal court after she rescues one of the legendary Companions. When she uncovers a plot to seize the throne, Talia must use her empathic powers to save the queen.
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