A review of Arrows of the Queen — 4 years ago
Talia is just 13 and on the verge of being forced into marriage when she is rescued from her abusive home by a Companion, a mythical horse that serves the Queen. When she rides the Companion to the kingdom’s capital in order to return him, she discovers that she has been Chosen as a Herald, a servant of the Queen and part of an elite training program. This is something that Talia has only dreamed about while stealing a rare moment to read… but will she be able to meet everyone’s expectations, especially her own?
So amongst my piles of unread fantasy authors, Mercedes Lackey has been waiting. This book was recommended to me and I found it surprisingly easy to pick up and enjoy. Talia’s an interesting character and the world of Valdemar is definitely intriguing. But things moved so quickly (the book covers almost three years) that you barely get to scratch the surface. It also got a little difficult to listen to Talia’s self-doubt. No matter how many times she saves other Heralds (almost all of them more experienced her) or helps the Queen with some elaborate political plot, she still feels like she hasn’t contributed. It stopped being endearing and moved on to annoying. Also, for such a difficult program, in addition to Talia’s bajillion responsibilities, everything comes fairly easily to Talia. Including breaking the Brat of all her bad habits… shouldn’t that have been near-impossible?
Some parts of the book don’t quite jive together to me… there are awkward changes in perspective, so in some scenes we go from Talia to a senior Herald who reflects on Talia’s emotional distance and then right back to Talia. It’s disorienting. There are also random moments of attempts at sex. That didn’t bother me so much except that Talia goes from 13 and shy and naive to giving sexy neck rubs and being highly desired by other Herald-trainees… all within less than a year? But she’s a virgin the entire time? I guess I didn’t know what age this book was targeting.
That isn’t to say I didn’t think it was an enjoyable book. If I was several years younger, I’d be all over a book about a girl getting her magical horse, discovering she has magic powers, and becoming a Herald. I may pick up the next book in the series and see if the storytelling changes at all.