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4.4 out of 5 stars
Arrows of the Queen
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on March 26, 2004
I checked out this book when I was in seventh grade and I have been hooked on the companions and their heralds ever since. The story of Talia and Rolan is written with intensity and a lot of plots that twist and turn and never truly reveal themselves until the third book in the series, Arrow's Fall. I have read all the books within the Valdemar series and everything that has to do with this richly created world.
Talia is a daughter of a holderkin clan, there are several wives married to one husband, she is turning thirteen in this book and is about to be married off. It is her deepest desire to see the heralds that she read about in the books that are forbidden to her. She runs away after learning that she is to be married as soon as possible, while hiding in a hole near the road she hears the bells of what can only be a companion, she rushes out to see the magnificient horse and recieves the surprise of a lifetime. Later when she tries to recall what exactly happened the memories elude her. She decides that she needs to return the "lost" companion to the capital city of Haven, where the Heralds are known to live under the close watch of the crown. The monarch must also be a herald, chosen by the companions, for the crown to pass to them thus ensuring a noble and honest leader.
Heralds have something called "gifts" which allows them to be more useful to the crown, such as telepathy, empathy, foresight, farsight, fetching, firestarting, mind speech, animal mind speech, and the unusual mage-gift. These abilities allow the heralds to "talk" with thier companions through telepathy, it's not as odd as it sounds. Talia posseses an extremely strong ability of empathy, a gift that is very rare and very useful to the crown. Talia and Rolans travels are a short part of the over-all story and the things that happen when they arrive at the palace are well written and very entertaining.
I have read this story so many times that the cover has had to be repaired with tape. Every so often I reread this wonderful novel and am moved by the tender regard for the characters that Lackey displays and the amazing development that is evident throughout the trilogy. Talia is an amazing character and through the fantasticly written inner diologue the reader is able to feel and experience everything she does. If you enjoy this book also read the Last Herald Mage series, the character of Vanyel is also beautifully written.
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on July 13, 2003
This is not the first Lackey book I've read, nor is it the first book of the fantasy genre I have read. I first picked up this book after feeling mentally exhausted from reading the first 6 books of The Wheel of Time. Feeling not up to the task of digesting the bulky complexity of the 7th Wheel of Time book, I searched for some lighter fantasy tales in the library. And guessed what I found? The PERFECT fantasy to occupy my time!
Although I agree that this 1 book alone does not have much of a plot, it makes for an excellent introduction to the series, and creates the atmosphere and setting for future books well. The Collegium (school of the "Magical" people) makes for a firm base for all of the character's activities; almost all of the story takes place in the collegium.
The characterization is simply marvellous. Main character Talia, is a sweet-natured girl, with an abused childhood, which results in her reticence and lack of trust in people, especially men (who she sees as evil people). It cannot be said that Talia's character stays stagnant throughout the book as she does throws off most of her shyness after the failed attempt on her life near the middle of the book. Other characters, especially Tali's friends are also well-developed for a relatively short book as this.
Another thing to be said about the book is that Lackey is not afraid to make her characters die. Such deaths are really sad, and the thoughts of grief on the part of the characters is believable and done so well that you can't help but shed a tear with them. I did, though I am a guy.
It is a great book. Go read it, you can really sympathise with Talia.
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on July 13, 2003
This is not the first Lackey book I've read, nor is it the first book of the fantasy genre I have read. I first picked up this book after feeling mentally exhausted from reading the first 6 books of The Wheel of Time. Feeling not up to the task of digesting the bulky complexity of the 7th Wheel of Time book, I searched for some lighter fantasy tales in the library. And guessed what I found? The PERFECT fantasy to occupy my time!
Although I agree that this 1 book alone does not have much of a plot, it makes for an excellent introduction to the series, and creates the atmosphere and setting for future books well. The Collegium (school of the "Magical" people) makes for a firm base for all of the character's activities; almost all of the story takes place in the collegium.
The characterization is simply marvellous. Main character Talia, is a sweet-natured girl, with an abused childhood, which results in her reticence and lack of trust in people, especially men (who she sees as evil people). It cannot be said that Talia's character stays stagnant throughout the book as she does throws off most of her shyness after the failed attempt on her life near the middle of the book. Other characters, especially Tali's friends are also well-developed for a relatively short book as this.
Another thing to be said about the book is that Lackey is not afraid to make her characters die. Such deaths are really sad, and the thoughts of grief on the part of the characters is believable and done so well that you can't help but shed a tear with them. I did, though I am a guy.
It is a great book. Go read it, you can really sympathise with Talia.
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on January 28, 2003
Okay, to start off this is above all my fav book of all times! Mercedes Lackey is the best, no competition! Arrows of the Queen is a book for people who like the more, developing, emotional kinda books instead of pure action and carnage. I love this book and have read it many times, enjoying equally each. I cried, yes cried, at times, laughed and spewed a few indecent words while reading this book, even though I know what happens. The rest of the trilogy is great, but nothing can ever top Arrow's of the Queen. That is, if you're looking for a more thoughtful book. I do agree Misty's other books are quite good(Except the lacking in a couple of her newest novels), but still, this book is above all in the way she wraps you into the lives of the characters, makes you wish you were there to help to hold hands(Okay, maybe that's just me....). Anyway I hope people take this to heart and get this book. Though if you want to read the whole series, at least start with the Mage War trilogy. Then this even though it's not techniclly in chrono order but who cares! Enjoy! ...
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on July 3, 2002
Thirteen-year-old Talia lives an unpleasant life among the Holderkin. Her only escape is the world in her books about heralds. Talia wants nothing more than to be a herald and when her dream comes true she quickly that herald life, although thrilling and wonderful is a lot more complicated than she ever thought. She is to become the Queens Own, one of the most important positions for a herald. Her main task is to take care of the young spoiled Princess Elspeth, but even before she can do that she must start her training as a herald. This involves weapons practice, fascinating history classes, and complicated magic works. And to top it off Talia must endure the harsh treatment of people that would do anything to get rid of her.
I absolutely loved this book. Being my second Mercedes Lackey book, Arrows of the Queen is an amazing work of fantasy. The main character, Talia was very easy for me to relate to, even though our lives are very different. I'm definitely going to continue to read this trilogy (the other books are Arrows Flight and Arrows fall). Mercedes Lackey is a great author.
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on June 13, 2002
Talia is an imaginative young girl trapped in an utterly backward society that punishes her for wanting learn and be independent. When she discovers that her family is going to force her to wed, she runs away. Talia doesn't get very far before she meets a beautiful white horse named Rolan, a Companion of Valdemar. Talia, not sure of what exactly to do, decides to ride Rolan, and he takes her on a journey to Valdemar's capital of Haven. Once there, she discovers that she has been Chosen to become a Herald of Valdemar... and her training begins!
"Arrows of the Queen" is the first book in Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar trilogy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a wonderful introduction the world of Valdemar and to the lives of its Heralds. I loved reading about how Heralds are trained, especially in their "Gifts," special mind powers, such as Mindspeech and Foresight. Lackey's descriptions of the interactions between the Heralds and their Companions was also interesting, if not amusing at times. I would recommend this book to anyone who remotely likes fantasy or is a horse lover.
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on September 1, 2001
For a first book, this is a great effort. It was not my introduction to Misty (that would be The Black Gryphon, a must read) but instead a nice addition to Valdemar. And considering that it's the first book in the trilogy that starts the era that the majority of her valdemar novels have taken place in, it's a solid foundation.
Criticisms... A somewhat plain girl, abused by a relative, falls in love with an ugly man, is a governess (sort of)...felt very familiar to me.
Praise...Misty is a favorite author of mine, and her valdemar series is some of her best work. Arrows is a book where the woman is not the sexual plaything of others (although there is *gasp* sex--non graphic in the book...wow, who in the world has ever done THAT???) is not brainless and is not background which are major criticsms of other fantasy authors. Talia is a girl who comes into her own. I would much rather my sisters and eventually daughters read about girls like her rather model themselves after Britney Spears (who although she may claim to "own" her sexuality, is told how to dress and what to sing by middle aged men...).
Talia has a power that is unlike anything seen in Valdemar or in Misty novels before. She is a powerful empath. What I find most interesting is that Misty examines the moral dilemmas inherent in having a very high political position (queens own) and having a power that could allow you to "read" what others are thinking and perhaps even to "nudge" them into your way of thinking. What are the limits? What are the proper uses...theres no guidelines for this.
Talia's friendships and her gradual easing of fear towards men is also done very well. An abused girl does not trust men..this is fact. The way Misty handles it is quite well. Her friendships with a lesbian couple is also done quite well. Their sexuality is not dwelt upone, but neither is it hidden. 10% of the real world is gay...deal with it.
All in all, a good example of her work.
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on May 20, 2001
I know that some of you are thinking that this book had no plot. Did you totally miss the evil empire vs the side of light or what! This book introduces you to Heralds at their weakest moments and at their strongest ones. Mrs. Lackey's point from my view is to introduce you to this particular fantasy world and it's inhabitants. Now for some of you who just HAVE to start from the begining when you read any series. The best place to start would be:
Black Gryphon, White Gryphon, Silver Gryphon
Magic's Pawn, Magic's Price, Magic's Promise
Arrows of The Queen, Arrow's flight, Arrow's Fall
Oathblood/Oathbreakers (the 2 in 1 book is called Oathbound)<----- this will intertwine later on in other books.
Read By the Sword before you read the following set)
Winds of Fate, Winds of change, Winds of Fury
Storm Warning, Storm Rising, Storm Breaking
Owlflight, Owlsight, Owlknight.
And back to the basics with Burning Brightly. (this book actually falls in-between Silver Gryphon and the Magic's series as close as i can figure.)
I personally own every book this author has written in Fantasy and sci-fi (and the one romance that was just released). I have a hard time waiting until she comes out with another so that I might devoure it as hungrily as the rest! If you didn't like the arrows books then try something totally different like Oathblood and Oathbreakers which comes out in a set now called Oathbound. Or Burning Brightly which is a stand alone. I hope that you all will continue to try and read books from this author. *Yes my name is a play on one of her characters it's my fave name for all my rpg'ing and all my pals know me by it so....*
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on September 14, 2000
I read this book around 1990, and have been a Lackey fan ever since. The author introduced me to a world that I have always wanted to visit (since I couldn't live there!). I enjoyed the fact that I could neither love the heroes nor hate the villians with impunity. No one is perfect, and everyone has a history as to why they developed into the characters that we read about.
One of the neatest places to start a character off (especially a young one like Talia) is a school setting. Lackey does such a wonderful job of setting up the Collegium, along with its students and faculty, that I could feel myself roaming its halls and looking into the classrooms. A nice touch of detail: how the author sets up the school library so you can spend as much time as you need in there, but you cannot "check out" any of the material, thereby allowing everyone ready access to the books. The "bad" students may be a little too typical; but they do provide a good foil for Talia to develop into a fighter and a sharp intellect.
As a character, Talia is a great example of what young teenagers could do if only they are allowed (and encouraged) to think for themselves. She has to reap her mistakes along with the rewards; but at least they are the result of her own actions and reactions.
Strongly recommend for anyone with a love for high fantasy, especially young folks looking for a hero to whom they can relate.
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on August 9, 2000
I made new friends when I read this book. Not the kind of friends that die at the end or live happily ever after so you never have to wonder about them again, but the kind who stick around for a while. The kind where you buy more books to find out where they are, how they're doing, and what adventures they've gotten themselves into.
Arrows of the Queen is the introduction to the realm of Valdemar. The main character of the tale, Talia, is a young girl who is raised in a very strict environment. She runs away and circumstances land her in a school for Heralds, where she begins learning how she can help and protect the people of her realm.
Only slightly disappointing is the plot. Simply put, not much of consequence happens. It's a sort of 'Guide to the Life of a Herald', which is ideal if you're planning to read more about the characters of Valdemar, but not if it's the only Mercedes Lackey novel you ever plan to collect. That's not to say that it doesn't have it's exiting moments, just that it isn't focused on them.
Character development is without a doubt the best quality of Arrows of the Queen. People like Jadus and Skif and Talia were so much fun to get to know that I read on the train and at lunch and every other available moment to finish the book well before the day was out.
The book is a lighter style of fantasy similar to Pern or EarthSea - the kind that you can enjoy on several levels without thinking too deeply.
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