Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar Series #1)

Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar Series #1)

by Mercedes Lackey

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780886773786
Publisher: DAW
Publication date: 03/28/1987
Series: Heralds of Valdemar Series , #1
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 151,879
Product dimensions: 6.88(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.88(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Mercedes Lackey is the author or coauthor of close to 100 books, including the Halfblood Chronicles, the Dragon Jousters series, and the bestselling novels of Valdemar.

The narrator of over 100 audiobooks, Christa Lewis has been nominated for an Audie Award and earned multiple Earphones Awards for recordings that have become Audible bestsellers. Christa is a classically trained actress and graduate of Boston University's actor training program.

Read an Excerpt

ARROWS OF THE QUEEN


By Mercedes Lackey

DAW BOOKS, INC.

Copyright © 1987 Mercedes R. Lackey
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0886773784


Chapter One

A gentle breeze rustled the leaves of the tree, but the young girl seated beneath it did not seem to notice. An adolescent of thirteen or thereabouts, she was, by her plain costume, a member of one of the solemn and straight-laced Hold families that lived in this Borderland of Valdemar-come there to settle a bare two generations ago. She was dressed (as any young Holdgirl would be) in plain brown breeches and a long, sleeved tunic. Her unruly brown curls had been cut short in an unsuccessful attempt to tame them to conform to Hold standards. She would have presented a strange sight to anyone familiar with Holderfolk; for while she sat and carded the undyed wool she had earlier cleaned, she was reading. Few Hold girls could read, and none did so for pleasure. That was a privilege normally reserved, by longstanding tradition, for the men and boys of the Holdings. A female's place was not to be learned; a girl reading-even if she was doing a womanly task at the same time-was as out of place as a scarlet jay among crows.

If anyone could have seen her thoughts at that moment, they would have known her to be even more of a misfit than her reading implied.


Vanyel was a dim shape in the darkness beside her; there was no moon, and only the dim light of the stars penetrated the boughs of the hemlock bushes they hid beneath. She only knew he was there by the faint sound of his breathing, though they lay so closely together that had she moved her hand a fraction of an inch, she'd have touched him. Training and discipline held her quiet, though under other circumstances she'd have been shivering so hard her teeth would have rattled. The starlight reflected on the snow beneath them was enough to see by-enough to see the deadly danger to Valdemar that moved below them.

Beneath their ledge, in the narrow pass between Dellcrag and Mount Thurlos, the army of the Dark Servants was passing. They were nearly as silent as the two who watched them; only a creak of snow, the occasional crack of a broken branch, or the faint jingling of armor or harness betrayed them. She marveled at the discipline their silent passage revealed; marveled, and feared. How could the tiny outpost of the Border Guard that lay to the south of them ever hope to make a stand against these warriors who were also magicians? Bad enough that they were outnumbered a hundred to one-these were no simple barbarians coming against the forces of Valdemar this time, who could be defeated by their own refusal to acknowledge any one of their own as overall leader. No, these fighters bowed to an iron-willed leader the equal of any in Valdemar, and their ranks held only the trained and seasoned.

She started as Vanyel's hand lightly touched the back of her neck, and came out of her half-trance. He tugged slightly at her sleeve; she backed carefully out of the thicket, obedient to his signal.

"Now what?" she whispered, when they were safely around the ledge with the bulk of a stone outcropping between them and the Dark Servants.

"One of us has to alert the King, while the other holds them off at the other end of the pass-"

"With what army?" she asked, fear making her voice sharp with sarcasm.

"You forget, little sister-I need no army-" the sudden flare of light from Vanyel's outstretched hand illuminated his ironic smile, and berthed his white uniform in an eerie blue wash for one moment. She shuddered; his saturnine features had always looked faintly sinister to her, and in the blue light his face had looked demonic. Vanyel held a morbid fascination for her-dangerous, the man was; not like his gentle lifemate, Bard Stefen. Possibly the last-and some said the best-of the Heraldmages. The Servants of Darkness had destroyed the others, one by one. Only Vanyel had been strong enough to withstand their united powers. She who had little magic in her soul could almost feel the strength of his even when he wasn't exerting it.

"Between us, my Companion and I are a match for any thousand of their witch-masters," he continued arrogantly. "Besides-at the far end of the pass there isn't room for more than three to walk side by side. We can hold them there easily. And I want Stefen well out of this; Yfandes couldn't carry us double, but you're light enough that Evalie could easily manage both of you."

She bowed her head, yielding to his reasoning. "I can't like it-"

"I know, little sister-but you have precious little magic, while Evalie does have speed. The sooner you go, the sooner you'll have help here for me."

"Vanyel-" she touched his gloved hand with one fur mitten. "Be-be safe-" She suddenly feared more for him than for herself. He had looked so fey when the King had placed this mission in their hands-like a man who has seen his own death.

"As safe as may be, little sister. I swear to you, I will risk nothing I am not forced to."

A heartbeat later she was firmly in the saddle, Evalie galloping beneath her like a blizzard wind in horseshape. Behind her she could feel Bard Stefen clinging to her waist, and was conscious of a moment of pity for him-to him, Evalie was strange, he could not move with her, only cling awkwardly; while she felt almost as one with the Companion, touched with a magic only another Herald could share.

Their speed was reckless; breakneck. Skeletal treelimbs reached hungrily for them, trying to seize them as they passed and pull them from Evalie's back. Always the Companion avoided them, writhing away from the clawlike branches like a ferret.

"The Dark Servants-" Stefen shouted in her ear "-they must know someone's gone for help. They're animating the trees against us!"

She realized, as Evalie escaped yet another trap set for them, that Stefen was right-the trees were indeed moving with a will of their own, and not just random waving in the wind. They reached out, hungrily, angrily; she felt the hot breath of dark magic on the back of her neck, like the noisome breath of a carrion-eater. Evalie's eyes were wide with more than fear; she knew the Companion felt the dark power, too.

She urged Evalie on; the Companion responded with new speed, sweat breaking out on her neck and flanks to freeze almost immediately. The trees seemed to thrash with anger and frustration as they eluded the last of them and broke out on the bank above the road.

The road to the capital lay straight and open before them now, and Evalie leaped over a fallen forest giant to gain the surface of it with a neigh of triumph....


Talia blinked, emerging abruptly from the spell her book had laid on her. She had been lost in the daydream her tale had conjured for her, but the dream was now lost beyond recall. Someone was calling her name in the distance. She looked up quickly, with a toss of her head that threw her unmanageable hair out of her eyes. Near the door of the family house she could make out the angular figure of Keldar Firstwife, dark-clad and rigid, like a stiff fire iron propped against the building. Keldar's fists were on her hips; her stern carriage suggested that she was waiting Talia's response with very little patience.

Talia sighed regretfully, put up her wool and the wire brushes, and closed the worn little clothbound volume, laying aside the rocks she'd used to hold down the pages as she'd worked. Though she'd carefully marked the place, she knew that even without the precious scrap of ribbon she used to mark it she'd have no trouble finding it again. Keldar couldn't have picked a worse time; Herald Vanyel was alone, surrounded by the Servants of Darkness, and no one knew his peril but his Companion and Bard Stefen. Knowing Keldar, it would be hours before she could return to the tale-perhaps not even until tomorrow. Keldar was adept at finding ways to keep Talia from even the little reading she was grudgingly allowed.

Nevertheless, Keldar was Firstwife; her voice ruled the Steading, to be obeyed in all things, or suffer punishment for disobedience. Talia responded to the summons as dutifully as she could. She put the little book carefully away in the covered basket that held carded and uncarded wool and her spindle. The peddler who had given it to her last week had assured her many times that it was worthless to him, but it was still precious to her as one of the three books she owned and (more importantly) the only one she'd never read before. For an hour this afternoon she'd been transported to the outside world of Heralds and Companions, of high adventure and magic. Returning to the ordinary world of chores and Keldar's sour face was a distinct letdown. She schooled her expression with care, hoping none of her discontent showed, and trudged dully up the path that led to the Steading, carrying her basket in one hand.

But she had the sinking feeling as she watched the Firstwife's hardening expression that her best efforts were not enough to mislead Keldar.

Keldar noted the signs of rebellion Talia displayed despite her obvious effort to hide them. The signs were plain enough for anyone with the Firstwife's experience in dealing with littles; the slightly dragging feet, the sullen eyes. Her mouth tightened imperceptibly. Thirteen years old, and still fighting the yoke the gods had decreed for her shoulders! Well, that would change-and soon. Soon enough there would be no more time for foolish tales and wasted time.

"Stop scowling, child!" Keldar snapped, her thin lips taut with scorn, "You're not being summoned for a beating!"

Not that she hadn't warranted a beating to correct her attitude in the past. Those beatings had done precious little good, and had drawn the feeble protests of her Husband's Mother but it was the will of the gods that children obey, and if it took beating to drive them into obedience, then one would beat them with as heavy a hand as required, and pray that this time the lesson was learned.

It was possible that she, Keldar, had not possessed a hand heavy enough. Well, if that were indeed the case, that situation would be corrected soon as well.

She watched the child trudge unwillingly up the path, her feet kicking up little puffs of dust. Keldar was well aware that her attitude where Talia was concerned was of a harshness that bordered on the unfair. Still, the child drove her out of all patience. Who would ever have imagined that so placid and bovine a creature as Bessa could have produced a little scrap of mischief like this? The child was like a wild thing sometimes, intractable, and untamable-how could Bessa have dared to birth such a misfit? And who would have thought that she'd have had the poor taste to die of the birthing and leave the rearing of her little to the rest of the Wives?

Talia was so unlike her birth-mother that Keldar was perforce reminded of the stories of changelings. And the child had been born on Midsummer's Eve, a time long noted for arcane connections-she as little resembled the strong, tall, blond man who was her father as her plump, fair, deceased mother-

But no. That was superstition, and superstition had no place in the lives of Holderkin. It was only that she had double the usual share of stubbornness. Even the most stubborn of saplings could be bent. Or broken.

And if Keldar lacked the necessary tools to accomplish the breaking and bending, there were others among the Holderkin who suffered no such lack.

"Get along, child!" she added, when Talia didn't respond immediately, "Or do you think I need hurry your steps with a switch?"

"Yes ma'am. I mean, no ma'am!" Talia replied in as neutral a voice as she could manage. She tried to smooth her expression into one more pleasing to her elder, even as she smoothed the front of her tunic with a sweaty, nervous palm.

What am I being summoned for? she wondered apprehensively. In her experience summonings had rarely meant anything good.

"Well, go in, go in! Don't keep me standing here in the doorway all afternoon!" Keldar's cold face gave no clue as to what was in store. Everything about Keldar, from her tightly wrapped and braided hair to the exact set of her apron, gave an impression of one in total control. She was everything a Firstwife should be-and frequently pointed this out. Talia was always intimidated by her presence, and always felt she looked hoydenish and disheveled, no matter how carefully she'd prepared herself for confrontations.

In her haste to edge past the authoritative figure of the Firstwife in the doorway, Talia stumbled a little on the lintel. Keldar made a derogatory noise in the back of her throat, and Talia felt herself flush. Somehow there was that about Keldar that never failed to put her at her faultiest and clumsiest. She regathered what little composure she had and slipped inside and into the hall. The windowless entryway was very dark; she would have paused to let her eyes adjust except for the forbidding presence of Keldar hard on her heels. She felt her way down the worn, wooden floor hoping not to trip again. Then, as she entered the commonroom and she could see again in the light that came from its three windows, her mouth suddenly dried with fear; for all of her Father's Wives were waiting there, assembled around the roughhewn wooden table that served them all at meals. And all of them were staring at her. Eight pairs of blue and brown eyes held her transfixed like a bird surrounded by hungry cats. Eight flat, expressionless faces had turned to point in her direction.

She thought at once of all her failings of the last month or so, from her failure to remember her kitchen duties yesterday to the disaster with the little she was supposed to have been watching who'd gotten into the goat pen. There were half a hundred things they might call her to account for, but none of them were bad enough to call for an assemblage of all the Wives; at least, she didn't think they were!

Unless-she started guiltily at the thought-unless they'd somehow found out she'd been sneaking into Father's library to read when there was a full moon-light enough to read without a betraying candle. Father's books were mostly religious, but she'd found an old history or two that proved to be almost as good as her tales, and the temptation had been too much to resist. If they'd found that out-

It might mean a beating every day for a week and a month of "exile"-being locked in a closet at night, and isolated by day, with no one allowed to speak to her or acknowledge her presence in any way, except Keldar, who would assign her chores. That had happened twice already this year. Talia began to tremble. She wasn't sure she could bear a third time.

Continues...


Excerpted from ARROWS OF THE QUEEN by Mercedes Lackey Copyright © 1987 by Mercedes R. Lackey
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 174 reviews.
Lisa_RR_H More than 1 year ago
I love most of Lackey's Valdemar books--my favorites are the three about Vanyel published after the three books began with this novel, but this novel is what started the series and makes a good introduction to Lackey, whose novels often fall into this pattern: unappreciated teen leaves home to find their destiny among comrades who become her true family--think McCaffrey's Harper Hall novels. Talia is an appealing heroine and I like how she grows in confidence in these novels. I loved this book as a teen, and in a fit of nostalgia reread them recently, and found they still hold up. Also like those novels of McCaffrey, the Valdemar novels revolved a strong bond between a human and magical creature--in these case seeming horses that are full partners. The series continues in Arrows Flight and concludes in Arrows Fall.
PappyEB More than 1 year ago
Fun to reread an "old timer". This series proved very interesting without too much need for deep thought. Just a fund to read.
Rileys-Mom More than 1 year ago
One of Lackey's VERY BEST Valdemar series . . . I read this trilogy when I was about 16 yrs. old and have read it many times since. I just purchased the Magic's Promise Trilogy on eBook & was extremely disappointed when I couldn't get this trilogy via ebook as well. I sure hope the publishers get in tune with the times & start making the older books available as ebooks & sooner rather than later . . .
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mercedes Lackey, YOU RULE. I LOVED this series. I was also really happy to discover that Elspeth has a series of her own, and Talia is in it some. I LOVE THIS GIRL. If you don't read this book, you will seriously be missing out.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I love most of Lackey's Valdemar books. My favorites are the three about Vanyel published after the three books begun with this novel. However, this novel is what started the series and makes a good introduction to Lackey, whose novels often fall into this pattern: unappreciated teen leaves home to find their destiny among comrades who become her true family--think McCaffrey's Harper Hall novels. Talia is an appealing heroine and I like how she grows in confidence in these novels. I loved this book as a teen, and in a fit of nostalgia reread them recently, and found they still hold up. Also like those novels of McCaffrey, the Valdemar novels revolved around a strong bond between a human and magical creature--in this case seeming horses that are full partners. The series continues in Arrows Flight and concludes in Arrows Fall.
Frazzletastic on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I should start out by mentioning that I¿ve been enamored by the Heralds of Valdemar Series since I was 10. I¿ve loved these books so much that I re-read them every summer, without fail!This time around was just as enjoyable as every other time I¿ve read my very worn-out copy. The country of Valdemar is unique compared to other worlds I¿ve been introduced to in fantasy. Each area has a set of customs and a general persona surrounding it; the Holderkin folk are more reserved, and frown upon unseemly behavior, while the fisherfolk in Lake Evendim are more rowdy.The main character, Talia, originally hailed from the Holderkin folk. Due to this, she¿s a very reclusive, shy, and fearful creature being thrust into a world of Heralds. Heralds are those who are chosen by Companions (can be likened to a horse) and form an intense bond with them. What I loved most about Talia is that she isn¿t your average ¿Mary-Sue¿ character: she¿s been described as not pretty and has her fair share of flaws to balance her strengths. There were a lot of times where she was average at best, and was humble enough to recede ¿winning¿ to her other classmates. Throughout the entire novel, you could visibly (well, okay, not visibly, but you get what I mean!) see her transform from this tiny, mouse-like thirteen-year-old into a reasonably sure, confident woman of sixteen years who knew where her place was.I was always a bit put-off with where Talia started at: the Hold. The idea of a woman¿s inferiority was like a slap in the face, since I¿m very much for equality between genders. I know it probably didn¿t reflect Lackey¿s personal beliefs, but I had to shake my head in disgust every time I read the beginning of the book and see how broken Talia had become because of the males¿ superiority complexes in the Hold. She lost so much spirit that we heard of her fear of men on a recurring basis. It lifted a bit towards the end, but I felt for Talia on such a profound level. Poor thing.There were four major storylines in this novel: Talia¿s encounter with the Heraldic world and being accustomed to the Collegium, her misfortunes with the Blues, reforming ¿The Brat¿ into ¿Elspeth¿, and lastly, honing her abilities of her gift. There was a noticeable shift between them ¿ you¿d be reading about the Blues, then all of a sudden we¿re thrust into Talia¿s new roles with The Brat ¿ yet it was discreet enough to not realize we were venturing into another ¿plot¿ in the book until later.Interactions with characters were... pleasant, for lack of a better word. Being a Herald entitles the fact that you can¿t be evil or else your Companion would repudiate you, so everyone was pretty friendly with each other. However, I felt that a lot of the characters personalities meshed together. I could never distinguish between Teren¿s or Kyril¿s ¿voices¿, and almost everyone spoke similarly. I suppose I shouldn¿t be nit-picky about that, because Heralds are inherently personality ¿readers¿, but it put me off a little bit. The only characters that stood out, really, were Skif and Elspeth.My favorite characters HAD to be Jadusand Skif. I loved the emotional stability they gave to Talia. It was hard not to like Skif: he was a trouble-maker that knew how to put a smile on my face. With Jadus, though, I mostly sympathized for him. If I were in Talia¿s position, I know I would have quickly befriended him, as well. There¿s something about elderly folk that just screams at my heart-strings, and Jadus certainly needed a friend in his lonely days.I loved the plot, especially the bondings with Companions. It was slightly reminiscent of Impressing a dragon in The Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. I¿ve always been fascinated in having a bond with another being that transcended all boundaries, and the Companions were no different! The pacing of the novel wasn¿t too shabby, although I did get a little sidetracked after the Elspeth arc (but that was due to personal issues). Tragedies and fast-pa
lunanshee on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Meet Talia, a shy girl from an abusive home whose dreams finally come true. But dreams are rarely as imagined and the joy of Heraldom is tempered by the cruelty of some of her peers. Talia discovers an inner strength she did not know she possessed and proves her mettle. If you love fantasy, you must read this book.
fuzzi on LibraryThing 25 days ago
The first book in what is probably my most favorite trilogy by Mercedes Lackey.
dasuzuki on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I just reread this book for probably the 20th or more time. I would have to say this is probably one of my favorite Valdemar books. By the Sword was my favorite and this one is a close second along with her Mage Storms series. The second and third books in the Heralds of Valdemar series weren¿t bad but I enjoyed seeing the transformation for Tahlia going from abused farm girl to the second most powerful herald in the Kingdom. Tahlia was a fun character and I could actually picture her in my mind as she struggled to over come her shyness and her skill in dealing with the Brat (Queen Selenay¿s daughter). I could relate to some of her self-esteem issues as I often felt the same way. This is definitely a fun read especially if you read some of her newer books that give you the background of the other characters like Alberich and Skif.
sagrundman on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Arrows of the Queen is the story of Talia, a young girl who has been Chosen by the Queen's Own Companion. The book follows her through her training to become a Hearld. She must overcome her shyness, attempts on her life, rouge mind magic and reeducate a brat of a princess. The setting is Valdemar, a land filled with mind magic (no "real" magic) and white "horses" called Companions. The book is about triumph against all odds. Talia faces all of her challenges and beats them all, mostly with the help of friends. The book stresses the need for friendship and with friendship you can get through anything. This is one of my favorite books. I recommend it to anyone who likes books about females who win against all odds. It's good for 5th - adult.
sbigger on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Arrows of the Queen is the story of Talia, a young girl who has been Chosen by the Queen's Own Companion. The book follows her through her training to become a Hearld. She must overcome her shyness, attempts on her life, rouge mind magic and reeducate a brat of a princess. The setting is Valdemar, a land filled with mind magic (no "real" magic) and white "horses" called Companions. The book is about triumph against all odds. Talia faces all of her challenges and beats them all, mostly with the help of friends. The book stresses the need for friendship and with friendship you can get through anything. This is one of my favorite books. I recommend it to anyone who likes books about females who win against all odds. It's good for 5th - adult.
Bibliotropic on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This book introduces the reader to what I consider a sort of proto-Valdemar. It's the author's first book of the series, her first novel entirely if I remember correctly, and after having read some of her later works, I can say that it shows. It's not quite as polished and refined as what she writes later on down the road, but the seeds of an expansive world are sown here and it's interesting to see.It isn't very action-heavy, so those looking to this as a sword-and-sorcery type novel will end up disappointed. Like many of the books in the Valdemar series, it's very character-driven, and can at times appear slow. Even I've thought sometimes that the books could have stood a little more action... until I glance down at the page number and realise that I've spent 100 or more pages being too engrossed in the character development to even think about it until that point.This does serve as good background reading to a lot of the more technical aspects of Valdemar and life as a Herald-trainee. Details only briefly mentioned in other books get a full explanation here, which often are done fairly seamlessly as Talia, the main character, is a sort of blank slate. She's had a very sheltered upbringing and starts off the book knowing only the barest things about what Heralds are and what they do. So other characters get the chance to fill her in and tell her tales and legends and details. Not an uncommon trick in stories, to fill in the reader without resorting to pages and pages of narration and history, though it does get a little bit tedious at time.It is always a bit strange to me, going back and rereading this novel, because so many tiny little things contradict for many larger things that Mercedes Lackey established in later books. The cause of death of the previous King, the timing of the Tedrel wars in relation to Elspeth's birth, possible relations with Karse at the time of this novel (mostly glossed over, I admit, but still somewhat suspect), the implication than Vanyel and Lavan lived and died at roughly the same time in history, and these are just a few I can name. Taken on their own, within the boundaries on this book in this particular trilogy, not a single thing is contradicted, but within the confines of the series as a whole, there are lots of little things that change, and some rather large things.Why yes, I have read this series to the point of near-memorization.Despite this book being the first novel of Valdemar, I wouldn't recommend it to those who have never read anything of the series before. It is too slow at time, and doesn't really pick up pace until very near the end and then continuing into the next novel. I'd recommend starting with the Winds series first, or doing as I did and discovering Valdemar through the Last Herald-Mage series instead. Save this trilogy for a time when your love of Valdemar has been established, because sometimes it can be hard to remember that this book was written decades ago and that the author's style has improved greatly over the years. If I'd started here, I admit I may have been bored away from the series entirely. As it is, I enjoy this book for its backstory, for the expansion on characters I got to know from other novels, and for its simplicity.
sinead.ciara on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Talia is a girl who lives a life in a homestead on the edge of the border of Valdamer. Suddenly her life is turned upside down when a companion (a really fast,intelligent horse) choses her as it's Herald and as the Queen's Own. A great read and a really good book.
van_stef on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Talia is one of my favorite characters in the series and this is my favorite book of her trilogy. A good introduction into the world of Valdemar
frazrat on LibraryThing 25 days ago
The first book in a great trilogy, Arrows of the queen in an introduction to the kingdom of Vlademar. Talia come from a culture of early responsibilities, hard work and obedience. When runs away when she is told of her upcoming marriage. She is chosen by a companion and whisked of to the kingdom of Vladamar. Here she will be trained as a herald where she will learn how to protect the people of Vladamar.
tiamatq on LibraryThing 25 days 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.
kiri_wren on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I absolutely love all the Valdemar books. Though the relationship between the Heralds and Companions hearkens loudly back to Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern books, I think Lackey has done a great job at weaving metaphysical intrigue, politics, and classic humanity into these works. The "Arrows" trilogy and the Vanyel trilogy ("Magic") are probably my favorites, though.
TeenBookReviews on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Meet Talia, a shy girl from an abusive home whose dreams finally come true. But dreams are rarely as imagined and the joy of Heraldom is tempered by the cruelty of some of her peers. Talia discovers an inner strength she did not know she possessed and proves her mettle. If you love fantasy, you must read this book.
celticchrys on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This book is the first in a trilogy that introduced readers to the world where Mercedes Lackey's kingdom of Valdemar resides. This is a world populated with peoples of great variety. Valdemar is unique among them in that it was settled by a varied group of settlers and has welcomed new immigrants over the years (Somewhat reminiscent of the way schoolchildren are taught to think of the USA). Valdemar has a group of individuals known as "Heralds" who are multi-purpose public servants. Heralds are chosen by familiars known as "Companions" which take the form of white horses with blue eyes. The original Companions were sent as divine answer to the original king's prayers for a way to know his heirs would be good rulers (a monarch is required to first be a Herald). This novel begins with the main character, Talia, coming of age in an ethnic enclave. Trapped into a life that gives her only two options: become a cloistered nun-like figure, or become a wife at a very young age, Talia dreams of pursuing adventure in the wider world. She runs away from home and finds a new life, and a new world. This is an excellent book, especially for young adults. Talia is quite feminine, but strong in character and will. She has a very practical personality, yet is still able to dream. She introduces the reader to her kingdom by letting us see it through her eyes as she discovers it. This is a well-written book with great characters, interesting settings, magic, politics, and more. This would make a great gift to the young fantasy lover in your life. It remains one of Mercedes Lackey's best.
SimonW11 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Could easily be a young adult coming of age story Lackey's plot often seems rather linear which is what makes me think of them as suitable for young adults. But I can't think of one that was marketed as such in this case I suspect it is because the conservative American market would find the implied message that its okay to have sex with people that you just think of as friends as dangerous.
xicanti on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I first read this book when I was about twelve; my junior high librarian told me I had to give Lackey's work a try, and I was instantly hooked by how well she uses emotion. This book never fails to make me cry, and it remains on of my favourites. I've read a lot of reviews that mention Lackey's not a technically correct writer, but she packs far more emotional resonance into her books than many literary prize winners and I love her for it. This is a great starting point for anyone interested in giving her work a try. I especially recommend it to YA readers.
therhoda on LibraryThing 25 days ago
The first of the Valdemar world books. Talia is one of my favorites in this world everyone should read her story.
SunnySD on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Opening book of Talia's portion of the Valdemar saga. Arrows of the Queen was Lackey's first full length Valdemar book, and IMHO one of her best. Sentenced to be married to a much older, abusive man, Talia is claimed by the Companion Rolan, and becomes a trainee Herald. It's something of an out of the frying pan-into the fire sort of experience, however. Be sure to have books 2 and 3 handy for when you finish this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast moving, light adventure. Nice beginning to the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A++++