Saturday, September 20, 2008

Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar: Book 1)

Mulluane | 12:01 AM | 1 Comment so far

A Fantasy Series Book Review

By Mercedes Lackey

Genre: Sword and Sorcery, High Fantasy Series, 13+
ISBN: 0886773784
Publisher: DAW (March 3, 1987)
Paperback: 320 pages
Talia is a misfit. Raised in a strict environment where women have no status, Talia constantly rebels against the oppressive attitudes of her Holding. Unlike all of the other girls of her age, Talia loves reading, often dreams of a life outside of marriage and children and resents the endless cycle of domestic chores she is expected to perform. When at the age of 13 she is informed that its time she marries and begins doing her part in breeding more children for the Steading she flees in terror. What happens next exceeds all of Talia's wildest dreams. She meets a Companion, one of the horses only ridden by Heralds, defenders of the realm. The horse, displaying intelligence well beyond that of any animal, takes Talia to Valdemar to begin a new life, a life she has secretly dreamed of ever since she read her first book.

I took a trip down memory lane and decided to go back and read the very first Valdemar trilogy. The story is charming. It is a far cry from her later works but it doesn't need to be. The story is simplistic but the characters are lovable and it was fun watching the budding world of Valdemar get its humble beginnings. Don't expect too much and you'll find a diamond in the rough. I've always loved the whole Valdemar concept and by returning to this story I got to relive a book that played a large part in my love of fantasy.

The story starts out with Talia on her 13th birthday. From her humble beginnings in a strict household where marriage is required at 13 and multiple wives are the norm, Thalia finds herself chosen by a Companion and thrust into the position of Queen's Own, the highest ranked Herald after that of Queen and Heir. Its a huge leap in status, especially for a young girl with no self esteem, a fear of men and an inability to form close relationships or deal with emotion. Its a wonderful coming of age story peopled with interesting characters, a bit of political intrigue and a touch of drama.

This is a fast, fun, light read, perfect for spending an afternoon in a new world while enjoying a young girl's journey to find acceptance, and love. This book is easily on par with the Pern Series. It is definitely YA material and you won't find anything objectionable here. There are romantic elements to the story, included same sex relationships, but NO detail. There is also some violence, a few deaths by murder but again, not in gory detail. The plot is not hard to follow and like Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey likes to end her books on a high note, making you close the book with a smile. If you want to find out how the Valdemar series got its start or if you want to watch Mercedes Lackey as she develops into the prolific fantasy writer that she is today, you can't go wrong by starting right at the beginning with this trilogy.

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari 4/5 Stars

Librarything Rating 4.09/5

Amazon Rating 4.0 out of 5 stars
(141 customer reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Arrows of the Queen

Ebook: Ereadable

Audio: Arrows of the Queen (Audio CD)

Buy Book: B&N - Powells

Amazon: US Canada UK

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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1 comment :

  1. {Smile} I do like Mercedes Lackey's work. I agree that she's improved, but this is a good place to avoid being lost by shorthand that she didn't explain yet again. {SMILE}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin


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