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Follows the adventures of Talia as she trains to become a Herald of Valdemar in the first book in the classic epic fantasy Arrows trilogy

Chosen by the Companion Rolan, a mystical horse-like being with powers beyond imagining, Talia, once a runaway, has now become a trainee Herald, destined to become one of the Queen's own elite guard. For Talia has certain awakening talents of the mind that only a Companion like Rolan can truly sense.

But as Talia struggles to master her unique abilities, time is running out. For conspiracy is brewing in Valdemar, a deadly treason that could destroy Queen and kingdom. Opposed by unknown enemies capable of both diabolical magic and treacherous assassination, the Queen must turn to Talia and the Heralds for aid in protecting the realm and insuring the future of the Queen's heir, a child already in danger of becoming bespelled by the Queen's own foes.

320 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1987

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About the author

Mercedes Lackey

588 books8,399 followers
Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts & Music, a small recording company specializing in science fiction folk music.

"I'm a storyteller; that's what I see as 'my job'. My stories come out of my characters; how those characters would react to the given situation. Maybe that's why I get letters from readers as young as thirteen and as old as sixty-odd. One of the reasons I write song lyrics is because I see songs as a kind of 'story pill' -- they reduce a story to the barest essentials or encapsulate a particular crucial moment in time. I frequently will write a lyric when I am attempting to get to the heart of a crucial scene; I find that when I have done so, the scene has become absolutely clear in my mind, and I can write exactly what I wanted to say. Another reason is because of the kind of novels I am writing: that is, fantasy, set in an other-world semi-medieval atmosphere. Music is very important to medieval peoples; bards are the chief newsbringers. When I write the 'folk music' of these peoples, I am enriching my whole world, whether I actually use the song in the text or not.

"I began writing out of boredom; I continue out of addiction. I can't 'not' write, and as a result I have no social life! I began writing fantasy because I love it, but I try to construct my fantasy worlds with all the care of a 'high-tech' science fiction writer. I apply the principle of TANSTAAFL ['There ain't no such thing as free lunch', credited to Robert Heinlein) to magic, for instance; in my worlds, magic is paid for, and the cost to the magician is frequently a high one. I try to keep my world as solid and real as possible; people deal with stubborn pumps, bugs in the porridge, and love-lives that refuse to become untangled, right along with invading armies and evil magicians. And I try to make all of my characters, even the 'evil magicians,' something more than flat stereotypes. Even evil magicians get up in the night and look for cookies, sometimes.

"I suppose that in everything I write I try to expound the creed I gave my character Diana Tregarde in Burning Water:

"There's no such thing as 'one, true way'; the only answers worth having are the ones you find for yourself; leave the world better than you found it. Love, freedom, and the chance to do some good -- they're the things worth living and dying for, and if you aren't willing to die for the things worth living for, you might as well turn in your membership in the human race."

Also writes as Misty Lackey

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,293 reviews
Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews9,786 followers
May 27, 2007
I've read a lot of fantasy, and I've spent a lot of time looking for fantasy that won't disappoint. When fantasy disappoints me, it usually does so predictably: either the world is poorly-built, the entire story is derivative, it is filled with creepy repressed sexuality, or the Hat Trick.

An equestrian friend of mine suggested this series: it was one of her favorites. However, her suggestion was somewhat tentative. She had previously passed Eragon and Eye of the World along to me, which are so derivative and poorly-written that they just felt like babelfish translations of Tolkien. However, she had also forced me to read the Potter books (I was recalcitrant due to their popularity) and Pullman's Dark Materials, which weren't bad.

Now, I am as disappointed in modern Feminism as your average gender-queer culture-jamming existentialist transhuman chaos magician, so I am slow to suggest that the gender of an author should inform us about their ability to write. However, I will concede that in this culture, the way you are gendered will have long-lasting effects.

Apparently, as a man, you end up entirely unable to write sex in a fantasy novel; maybe sex full stop. Tolkien just kept his romantic leads a few thousand miles apart the whole story. Goodkind creeped us the fuck out with lots of fetishized stabbing. Jordan made spanking a part of his world's justice system. Gor.

Of course, there are female authors guilty of making their books into lewd, plotless sex romps, like Anne Rice and Laurell Hamilton, but at least the sex is still mostly about the characters; and sex should be. It should be an event in the character's life that causes some emotional reaction, and reveals something about the character's personality. Reading most popular male authors, you get about the same emotional depth as a child smacking two naked barbies together. There were times, particularly later in their careers, when both Rice and Hamilton managed to make sex almost as impersonal as their male colleagues, and I'd suggest in Rice's case that her (less and less) latent Christian repression did a passable job standing in for male sexual discomfort.

The sex in Lackey's work is of another breed. It feels human. It feels pleasant. It doesn't make you feel frightened that you might be a bad person if you're turned on by it. In short, it blew my fucking mind. I mean sure, there are male authors like Gaiman, Moore, or Mieville who can write a complex, personal, natural sexual interaction, but they are all authors of allusive, thickly-textured works that draw from literary tradition. What makes Lackey remarkable to me is that she writes a fairly standard, fun piece of pop fantasy and somehow, the sex isn't terrible.

But it's not just the sex. It's all pretty naturalistic and refreshing. Except for the magic--and the psychic horses. The world building is not grade A, but it isn't chicken feet. The magic is pretty new age touchy-feely, but so is the world, so it mostly works. In fact, the only thing that tips off the esscapist fantasy is the psychic equine love-bond. However, I'm not going to look into that too closely: I don't want to find that Lackey's sexual repression was staring me in the face all along.

My Fantasy Book Suggestions
Profile Image for Abigail Parks.
15 reviews3 followers
January 30, 2014
A friend gave me this book for my birthday and am I ever glad I didn't pay money for it. I rather wish he'd just given me a Barnes & Noble gift card instead.

From a purely technical perspective, this is possibly the worst published book I've ever read. From an emotional standpoint, this comes in a close third after some horrible book whose title I cannot recall, and Frankenstein.

But back to Arrows of the Queen. Good grief.

The highlights:

1. I am forced to put the plot as the first casualty, as the author had time to kill, dismember, and bury all the little pieces of it before I even picked up the book. Plot? What plot? The first few chapters meander towards one but never quite make it. The rest of the book seems to try and get by on hit-and-miss character- and world-building. They never quite make it either.

2. I mentioned technicalities above, and here's what I mean by that: did anyone ever explain to Mercedes Lackey the proper use of a semicolon? What about putting chapter breaks (whether a new chapter or, say, a double-space gap within a chapter) when a notable amount of time passes? Pacing? Plotting? Show, don't tell? That last was especially egregious, with I kid you not at least two and probably more instances of 'little did he know' interspersed with leapfrogged third-person limited. And the vocabulary -- what grade level was this, third? Maybe fourth? Who was the editor, anyway? I don't think s/he was paid enough (or too much, if they let all this through).

3. The main character, Talia, is a thirteen-year-old girl who, as far as I can recall, never acts like one. (There's acting like a mature thirteen-year-old and then there's acting like a thirty-year-old. No.) I started out wanting to like her, because I too have some self-esteem issues, a fervent love of books, and occasionally daydream wistfully about someone coming and taking me away from my life. I found myself unable to like her because she's just too *perfect.* She's a Mary Sue of the first order, Special and Wanted and Humble and Good At Absolutely Everything. I think the only thing Talia fails at is losing her virginity. (I'm serious: she tries, four times IIRC, to have sex with a friend. One or both keep falling asleep before they can Do It. What?)

4. Was I the only one kind of repulsed/annoyed by the amount of implied sex in this book? Practically everyone (including the telepathic horses sorry, Companions) can have (and apparently does have) no-strings-attached sex with everyone else and that's totally cool with everyone at the Collegium. That was great to know, thanks. It really enhanced my feel of this world at large. I really wanted to know that as opposed to, say, any other character trait of any other character.

5. Speaking of other characters, I would have liked some. The cookie-cutter nature of every side character (and I mean literally every side character except maybe Jadus [?]) meant I mixed up who was who and was invested in exactly zero of them.

6. I neither know, nor do I care, what the sexual orientation of Mercedes Lackey is/was when she wrote this book. All I know is the lesbian-thumping (like Bible-thumping, but with lesbians) got very old fast. Protip: no amount of screaming about the normalcy of homosexuality is going to change the mind of someone who doesn't agree with you.



There was something bothering me about this book from the beginning that I was able to ignore for a while, but finally crystallized in the last few chapters: Arrows of the Queen felt like an amateur self-insert fanfic in a fandom whose canon I hadn't read. The lack of plot, the cardboard cutout side characters who are either uniformly supportive of the main character and awesome or Evil Incarnate, the Special Snowflake teenage main character that has the Rarest Gift Ever and is fantastic at whatever she touches yet humble and self-deprecating (and apparently half-robot with the way she was able to fit everything into her schedule), the wildly uneven pacing, the level of detail that whips in close on some subject I didn't really need (finding out about menstruation dust and Herald!tampons was a very enlightening paragraph) and pulls out of the only thing I was actually interested in knowing (what was up with Griffon?), all of it felt like one of those really terrible Mary Sue fanfics you hear about, where Mary Sue is able to resist the temptation of the Ring and thinks she's nothing special really while every single other member of the Fellowship wants to keep her warm at night (except, we can hope, Gandalf).

This made, at its best moments, merely passable airport fiction. At worst, I suppose it would make pretty acceptable kindling.
Profile Image for Mark.
Author 2 books4 followers
May 4, 2023
This book took me by surprise. I picked it up because I wanted to discover more classic fantasy novels written by women. I didn’t really know anything about it other than that it was a coming-of-age tale… and it is, of course, but it’s much more than that. It’s a book about friendship, and found families; it’s about people helping each other out when times get tough, and accepting one another despite differences in age, gender, or sexual orientation.

It’s also what I might call a “small-scale epic fantasy,” although I understand that sounds like an oxymoron. What I mean is, it still feels epic in the sense of the world itself; there are mystical powers, and there is a sense of vast in-world history. There is weapons training, and there is nobility. There are magical animals and rumors of other strange creatures out there somewhere. But it’s small-scale in the sense that there is no world-shattering threat. There are no wars taking place, no monster attacks, and no Dark Lords bent on destruction. None of that - in fact, the bulk of this story takes place in a school (the Collegium) and goes through the daily trials and tribulations of Talia as she finds her place in this newfound situation. That’s not to say the story is bereft of conflict. There are conspiracies and betrayals, there are altercations with other students, and there is loss and heartbreak. I found this story to be rather emotional despite the relatively low key plot.

The characters are also memorable and mostly likeable. The interactions and the dialogues are written in a way that you feel like you’re really getting to know the people in the book. Talia has already earned her place as one of my favorite protagonists in the genre. And speaking of the characters, I found this book to be somewhat progressive for a novel published in 1987 - there are at least two LGBTQIA+ characters in the story (important ones, too), and another two referenced as historical figures. Granted, the representation isn't quite the same as you might find in a book written in 2021, but nonetheless it is noteworthy and (in my opinion) handled well.

Then there are the Companions! These are horses who form a lifetime bond with their Heralds (kind of a magical civil servant who performs a variety of functions for the kingdom), and who actually choose who will become a Herald based on that person’s qualities. Fans of animal kinship, and especially horses, will enjoy this aspect of the book.

There are admittedly a few eyebrow-raising moments in the area of traditional gender roles (a trap that a lot of pseudo-Medieval fantasy falls into); but I will still say that the good FAR outweighs the bad, and I suspect it may have been written this way to show a before/after contrast. The world Talia is running away from, in which girls must get married at the age of 13 or basically become nuns... is very different from the world of the Heralds, in which women are commonly found in roles of power.

Recommended for fans of The Goblin Emperor for its focus on empathy and kind characters. Also recommended for fans of The Name of the Wind (specifically the University sections) for its Fantasy School drama and emotional moments.

I'd also like to link my friend Allison's review, as it feels perfect for this book and wonderfully conveys many facets of the novel.
Profile Image for Allison Hurd.
Author 3 books704 followers
May 10, 2019
Utterly delightful. One of those "to be loved by all ages" books. I'd read Magic's Pawn and was expecting some rough and perhaps more "period" views on things, but all told I thought this was stronger and much less traumatic than that book.

CONTENT WARNING: (no actual spoilers, just a list of topics)

Things to love:

-Talia. Poor little girl! We watch her go from downtrodden outcast to a strong, beloved young woman. It was very sweet, watching her grow up.

-The instructors. OMG! Adults who act like adults! People who notice children are hurting and do what they can to give them skills to cope, who listen and mentor and comfort. They were all good, caring people and we'd all be fortunate to have one person like them in our memories, let alone five or more! I loooooved that once Talia and her friends had found evidence of bad things, the adults acted on that. It never makes sense to me in books with teens who save the world where the hell the grown ups are. In this case, it was beautifully done, with them doing what makes sense to shelter their charges and reward their efforts.

-Talia's friends. AAHHH!! There are more than two girls! And they're all nice to each other! The only people who are at all mean are the bad guys! Everyone else is super chill and supportive. Boys and girls are friends! Girls and girls are friends! Boys show emotion! In case it's not obvious, I was very pleased with this. It's so rare for me to see in books at all, let alone books aimed more at younger readers, and it's so effing nice to have a great example of what platonic love looks like before kids get put on that track of romantic love. Hell, I am a grown up and I still like having reminders of how friendship should feel. Also, I like how there were different levels of friendship and that those levels changed at points throughout the book. Again, a wonderful reminder that you don't need to be everything to everyone, and a healthy look at accepting that we all mean different things to people we care about.

-Handling the issues. So, this is something I'd gladly give to a tween. Yes there's casual sex, but it's dealt with healthfully, with discussion of the difference between lust and love, the use of protection and all that. There's also coping with loss, recovering from trauma, finding "your tribe," the value of boundaries and consequences and so on. I really liked most of it, except for (minor spoiler but still a real one) which was definitely "of its time." I also love that gay relationships were prominent and NBD. It was clear that the characters were used to a little prejudice, but that they had a safe spot where they lived.

-The world. Be still my girlish heart. I was definitely a horse girl as a child. A telepathically linked horse that's faster, smarter and braver than all the other horses? One that picks me of all the people in the world??? I want to go to there. And a nice school and pretty people in a tough world. Castles! Intrigue! Libraries! Wild forests! I'm not sure what to say. When I say "epic fantasy" this is the place I want to be in my head.

Things someone probably doesn't love:

-There's no plot. I mean there is, but the plot is very much secondary to seeing her grow up and make friends. The main character is important to the big moments in the story, but she's neither their cause nor their focus, for the majority of the story. This is a "cozy" fantasy.

-It does get dark. Well, it's cozy except for some dark parts. I'd compare this book to Tamora Pierce, except that her books skate much further away from issues like molestation and forced marriage. This is the darker version of the Lioness series.

I thought this book did exactly what it set out to do, and it was a nice palate cleanser from some heavier books. I'd recommend this to most people who like epic fantasy and likely even give it to my younger friends, as long as their parents thought they were ready for it.
Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
570 reviews3,947 followers
August 21, 2021
Una novela de fantasía muy entretenida y enormemente ochentera.
Inocente y simplona en muchos aspectos, no deja de ser por ello una representación de muchas de las cosas que más me gustan dentro del género, como esas aventuras interminables, magia sorprendente y amistades inquebrantables.

La historia sigue a una adolescente que comienza a estudiar y formarse para ser Heraldo, una especie de "caballeros" de la Reina, que se dedican a todo tipo de tareas dentro del reino (son desde guerreros a mensajeros, pasando por consejeros o jueces) y que tienen una conexión especial con unos peculiares caballos a los que llaman "compañeros".

Me han sorprendido algunos temas que trata (quizás no de la manera más sutil pero ahí están) como el bullying, y que sea una obra importante para el colectivo LGBT+ por la representación que muestra. Es la primera parte de una trilogía que da inicio a una saga larguísima, pero se puede leer de manera independiente, aún así imagino que los libros posteriores serán bastante superiores.

Ojalá se animen a reeditar esta saga a lo loco (como están haciendo con la saga Vorkosigan por ejemplo) ahora que es posible que hagan una adaptación es el mejor momento... yo me los leería todos sin duda, no serán los mejores libros del mundo pero para mi son un rinconcito agradable en el que pasar buenos ratos.
Profile Image for Angie.
645 reviews997 followers
August 23, 2009
When I was a kid and my father was out of town for work, my mom and I got to have sleepovers in the big bed. We would curl up with our pillows stacked behind our backs and read books and eat ice cream and fall asleep whenever we wanted to. I loved it. And, unsurprisingly, the tradition continued on until I left home. One particular time I remember it was a Friday night and I was fourteen and my mom and I went to the base library to see what we could find. I wandered down the aisles and stopped when my eye caught on a pink and purple spine in the fantasy/scifi section. It seemed a bit...girly...for me and when I saw the pretty much opalescent horse on the cover I almost put it back on the shelf. But I liked the title. And the girl on the horse looked pale and sad and interesting with her short hair and her threadbare scarf. So I checked it out and that night curled up with my mom and a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream and fell in love.

Talia is an orphan. Raised in a very claustrophobic, incredibly closed off family hold that her uncle runs with an iron fist, she longs for a kinder, more stimulating world in which "family" refers to people who love you and not people who revile and shame you. When a white horse straight out of her dreams appears one day, Talia climbs into his saddle and never looks back. The horse is clearly no ordinary horse. He can sense emotions and share his own with Talia. He takes her to Haven, the capital city of Valdemar, where her hidden talents are recognized and she is enrolled in the Collegium--a school for heralds-in-training. The heralds are an elite force who are trained to protect the Queen and the realm from threat or harm. There at the Collegium Talia makes the first friends of her life (and a few enemies as well). When she stumbles across a plot to destroy the Queen, she is forced to harness her wayward abilities and use the connections she's made to convince the Queen and her council that there is a traitor in their midst.

This series is a very dear one to me. My fourteen-year-old self completely empathized with Talia and her insecurities and longings. She has to be one of the most passive heroines of any I've read, which makes her unique as I generally find myself drawn to stronger, more forceful personalities. But Talia matures, both chronologically and emotionally in this series, particularly in book two, Arrow's Flight, when she gets shoved through the refiner's fire as she completes her Heraldic training and emerges prepared to defend her Queen. And yet, she retains that innocence and inherent sweetness which somehow captured my heart more than a decade ago and has not let it go. Each book in this trilogy gets better and better and you only grow fonder of this family of characters Lackey has pieced together. Among Talia's inner circle, there is a not-so-ex-thief, a spoiled princess, a gruff and intimidating armsmaster, a crippled harpist, and Rolan--her horse and Companion. Mercedes Lackey's strength lies in these characters and how she is able to make you want so much for them. If you fall in love with the world you're also in luck as Ms. Lackey has written a whole host of books that take place in Valdemar, though this trilogy is by far the best, IMO, and definitely the place to start. Reading order: ARROWS OF THE QUEEN, Arrow's Flight, and Arrow's Fall.
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,009 followers
February 28, 2016
I’ve always vaguely known about Mercedes Lackey’s work, but rarely read any, so this was my first experience with Valdemar. I’m aware that there are tons of problematic things about Mercedes Lackey’s body of work, though I haven’t looked at details. Still, Arrows of the Queen is a book I wish I’d had when I was younger. It has a couple of queer characters, who are treated pretty much like the other characters — okay, things aren’t all rosy for them, but not for other characters, either. And the main character is a young girl who loves books, and turns out to belong to something bigger than herself — that scullery maid to (almost) princess sort of transition which can be so fun (and which so often brings forth cries of “Mary Sue” when the character is female, and yet no such complaint is made if the character is male).

It’s fun, and Talia is capable and compassionate, while also learning and growing throughout the book. There are some things which jar a little now, for example her casual use of corporal punishment with the spoilt young princess, even after coming from a rather abusive background herself. It’s pretty commonly agreed now that corporal punishment doesn’t really go any good, but here it’s treated as a valuable tool in the arsenal of unspoiling a child. I’m dubious, and I’m sure there are people who would hate that section, but at least Talia has a general common sense approach to dealing with the Brat.

On the less positive side, the writing seriously falls down in places. Large chunks of time fly by, without any real framing, so that you think she’s been at the school for a month and it turns out it’s been a year, and such things. Worse, Lackey is — at least at this point in her career — very prone to “telling, not showing”. This sometimes wrecks the pacing and makes sections seem rather dry and didactic.

Still, I read it in one go and did enjoy it, and I’m planning to read more in the Valdemar universe. And I still wish I’d actually picked this up as a kid, and given it to my sister too. It might have made us feel less alone.

Originally posted here.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,820 followers
August 8, 2021
Actually this book is better than a 3...but it's not really a 4. It's a well written book about a, are you ready? Young hero who's miserable, abused and unappreciated at home, until duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, DAAAAA, one of the chosen. Yes gasp she's to be a Herald!!!!!!

So you get the picture. The young protagonist who's had a hard to miserable childhood/youth and then gets called away to be a hero/heroine. Still (my sense of humor aside) it's a well written book and the young protagonist is appealing and complete. I got to know her, to like her (in spite of a few personality quirks that can annoy, and those were I believe deliberate). The book tells a "pretty good" story and draws you in.

So why drop it to a 3? Well it's pretty obviously the "first in a series" and reads like/"feels" like a long first chapter. It seems to me mostly a set up for the next/rest of the book/s (and I have the paperback of the next here. I just need to make time to get to it.

So a good book a readable book. It has the good world building (but then Ms. Lackey has spent a lot of time and ink in this world already) and a good system of "magic" (though they'd correct you for calling it magic I suppose.

And who doesn't love horses?

Don't tell me if it's you.

Recommended, a good read I hope the series holds up.
Profile Image for Rob.
848 reviews535 followers
August 1, 2016
Executive Summary: This book is super trope-heavy and not always the best written, but I found it a light, fun, quick read that seemed to suit my current mood. 3.5 stars.

Full Review
I’ve heard of Mercedes Lackey, but none of her books had made it onto my to ever growing to read pile. If not for Sword & Laser I probably never would have read this.

This is one of those books that read at a different point, I might have been bored by. I’ve been a bit burnt out on reading lately and this seemed to hit the spot. This is the classic chosen one trope mixed with the magic school trope. I’m a complete sucker for the Magic school trope.

It was obvious at times that this was Ms. Lackey’s first book. The writing was decent, but could use some more polish.

The biggest surprise for me were all the social issues casually woven into the story, especially given the time this was published. It seems like only recently that books are dealing with things like gender equality, homosexuality or casual sex without negative connotations are more commonplace. This book covers all of those things, but in subtle ways. It could simply be that my own personal reading selection in the 80s and 90s simply neglected other works covering these kinds of things.

This certainly seems to be a book aimed at young women more than boys. Much of my reading was stuff my mom brought home for me. I doubt the cover with the girl on the magic horse was something I’d have been willing to give a try in my teens. That said, who wouldn’t want a magic horse as your companion? If you don’t, you might be dead inside!

If this book was published today, it’d be put in the YA section and might be lost in vast array of fantasy aimed at young girls. In many ways this book feels like it could be a prototype for those books. However, as I don’t read a lot of YA anymore I could be wrong there.

The book ends in a pretty good place. The major issues seem to be wrapped up (albeit a bit too quickly and neatly). I feel like I might be up for reading more, but could be perfectly content to stop here.

Overall, I’m glad I read this book. I’m not sure if I’m going to continue on with the series. I’ll probably have to be in the right mood for it. Maybe this time next year.
Profile Image for Beth.
917 reviews104 followers
January 20, 2020
Arrows of the Queen tells the story of Talia, a young girl from a repressive society who suddenly ends up being bonded with a magical horse called a Companion*. Rolan, the Companion, takes her to the capital city of Valdemar where she learns about her role as the Queen's Own Herald and gathers a group of friends around her.

*as in many fantasy novels of the time, Important Concepts are Capitalized.

I first read this book not long after it first came out, and was so drawn in I read all the way through the trilogy back-to-back, something I almost never do. How's it held up in the intervening 30 years?... the rating should tell most of the story.

Much of this novel was enchanting. Talia's an endearing character and it was easy for me to root for her. The descriptions were good, and there's an intriguing sense of a larger world, its magic and dangers and history, beyond its "present day" story and setting. I'm interested in seeing more of Talia's friends, like Skif, who work hard to break her reticence, and love and support her. The whole thing is mostly comforting and cozy.

At the same time, I'm not that excited about the writing style, which like many fantasy novels from its time period is heavy with exposition, written with very basic sentences and vocabulary. Only a handful of the supporting characters are memorable at all, and the rest are names without any particular character traits. A lot of the action, including a number of Heralds' deaths, either happens off-screen or is abruptly resolved, depriving those parts of the story of interest and immediacy.

This was Lackey's first published novel, so I'm willing to cut her some slack. She's had a long, prolific and successful career since 1987, and her budding skill as a storyteller shows even this early on. I'll keep on going with this trilogy, and see if I can get further into the huge Valdemar universe after that!
Profile Image for Bobby.
95 reviews4 followers
January 27, 2020
This is a re-read, but it's been so long since I read it the first time, I only really remembered a few major events. I think this is still a great coming of age story, and I remember it was one of the first magical school type of books that I read. So my rating may be a little bit nostalgia, but it was just really fun to read this again as an adult.

One thing I hadn't realized was that there's not a whole lot of plot in this one. We do get the story of the main character developing over time, with a few plot threads here and there, but it's more of a slice of life type of book than I remembered. Either way, I enjoyed going through this, and I'll probably re-read more of the series.
Profile Image for Kasia.
398 reviews280 followers
May 29, 2011
I found this book to be sweet and engaging without feeling like a saccharine fairy tale. This was something that enchanted me with its wit and charisma and a bit of danger, the blend of fantasy, mystery and magic in an archaic setting was easy to read and to enjoy. Mercedes Lackey has dozens of books under her belt so I wanted to start from the very beginning; this initial novel was a wonderful introduction to the realm of Valdemar and all the intense and magical things that can happen in it. I adored this tale so much that I read it during all my free time, of course once I finished I pounced on the second one, and I'm happy to say that so far I'm loving it too, this is a trilogy whose roots reach into many of Lackey's later books so I recommend starting her off with this story first, it's quite wonderful and makes for a great way to spend the time.

It all begins with young Talia, a wisp of a girl who loves to sneak horseback riding and reading into her chores, acts almost unthinkably useless to her parents and fellow Holderfolk inhabitants, girls after all should either marry off or live at the temple, both options are visions of horror for young Talia for she has bigger dreams, ones that make no sense to the simple but quite brute people she lives with. So running away to save her freedom doesn't seem too scary when it happens and luckily she meets Rolan. He is a snow white horse, one who's velvety nuzzle makes her completely melt in his presence, one that looks like an important animal, one she recognizes form her reading about warriors and the evil creatures who pursue them, suddenly her life feels like one of the books she reads, unfortunately with heroism comes danger, and with danger comes death. When Talia tries to return the horse to the collegium that houses the queen, heralds and important figures she realizes that this was no chance meeting, Rolan picked her because he felt something special about her, something that will change her life forever and help determine the future of the whole kingdom. Talia has a choice to make, she can stay but the price can equal her mortality, the new life she can enter is rewarding but dangerous and it has claimed many young and bright ones before her. She will have to face her heart and soul to find the right path for her, luckily she has Rolan, after all how can such a gorgeous creature hurt her.

I don't want to spoil too much but this was simply marvelous, I loved the book, it was such an easy and wonderful read that it felt like pure pleasure and not ever bit chore like ( for those new to this genre) some fantasy books can be overwhelming but this was straight dessert. Few parts moved me to tears, for some reason I felt not only attached to Talia but to her horse as well, Lackey had done an incredible job in her first book, she's someone who truly loves what she does, it really shows and I hits the reader back, I'm ready for more!

- Kasia S.
Profile Image for Kat  Hooper.
1,583 reviews399 followers
March 1, 2011
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Talia is not like normal 13-year-old girls. She likes to read adventure stories and she fantasizes about being a Herald for the queen of Valdemar. She does not want to get married to one of the dreary men in her village. So, when a Companion — one of the blue-eyed white horses who belongs to a Herald — shows up without a rider, Talia is happy to help him find his way home and stunned to learn that she’s been chosen to be trained as a Herald.

Published in 1987, Arrows of the Queen is Mercedes Lackey’s first novel and the first in her popular Valdemar series. This is a coming-of-age tale in which a naïve and wide-eyed youngster who has endured a repressive upbringing is suddenly freed and enrolled in a special school, where she makes friends and enemies and discovers that she has magic powers and an important destiny.

Like many such heroes, Talia is a good and well-meaning girl who, despite being mature and wise beyond her years, neglects to tell adults when she’s being bullied or needs help, thus getting into mishaps that could easily have been avoided. Fortunately, she deals with some equally unwise villains who tend to audibly rehash their evil plans at the exact moment that Talia happens to eavesdrop on their clandestine meetings.

Although I’ve read many books of this ilk and, therefore, found few surprises in this one, I must admit to being charmed by Talia and her story, though I’m certain I would have felt differently if Arrows of the Queen had been published more recently. Mercedes Lackey’s first novel has a nice pace (though Talia’s lessons were sometimes prolonged and too detailed) and an engaging heroine, and introduces a world I’d like to learn more about.

I listened to Albany Audio’s version of Arrows of the Queen, which was narrated by Carole Edie Smith. She’s a terrific actress, but she has a rather unsuitable Northeastern US accent which just doesn’t fit the medieval setting of Valdemar. I managed to mostly listen past that. Unfortunately, the next 24 Valdemar novels are not available in audio format. I may pick up the next couple of Valdemar novels in print, completing at least the first trilogy. This series has the potential to provide many hours of mindless entertainment.
Profile Image for ❀angela.
126 reviews88 followers
June 8, 2013
I absolutely ADORED this book. I wanted to give it five stars...

But how can I when I'm so effing mad that

Anyway. The world-building is good and it's a very easy read without being juvenile. It shares a lot of similarities with Tamora Pierce's Alanna, though I think I'd prefer this book.
Profile Image for Wealhtheow.
2,432 reviews543 followers
February 20, 2009
Talia is a peasant girl who yearns to be more than a brood-mare. She wants books and adventure! Alas, all she has to look forward to is years of more abuse and hard labor. But then! A sparkly magical white horse comes by! The Companion (the shiny psychic horse) takes her to Valdemar, an idyllic kingdom where a wise, hard-working, common-sensical queen rules. Training montage! Everyone thinks Talia is the bestest evar!

Talia is a bit like Alanna, except infuriatingly humble.
Profile Image for Rachel (Kalanadi).
722 reviews1,401 followers
August 11, 2016
Solid feel-good fantasy about a young woman coming of age. Strongly reminiscent of Alanna: The First Adventure and Dragonsinger for me.
Profile Image for El.
1,355 reviews503 followers
October 15, 2016
My partner has been working on a fantasy world for a while now, and one of these days he might actually put all of his scraps of paper together into a cohesive story. I love this, and I keep urging him to keep at it; one of the ways I encourage him is to ask him about his world which then sets him off on an hour-long discussion about some very important yet seemingly-small details about something that happened in this world a thousand years ago.

We got to talking about his main character, a female, and there was something that was bugging me about this character that I couldn't, for a long time, figure out. I finally managed to put it together - the character he is envisioning is pretty damn awesome. Like... too awesome. No one (myself included, har) is not that awesome all of the time. So we talked about that at some length, that when writing characters you don't want the protagonist to be so absolutely perfect, because then the story will lack tension or character development. And these things are important to a good story.

It bugged him at first, but he eventually came around to what I was saying and recognized my advice was probably accurate.

I'd like him to read this book as an example of how boring a character can be if she's perfect at everything she ever does.

Talia is a 13-year-old who leaves her own corner of the world because she's about to be forced into marriage which is pretty ew considering her age. She runs away, finds a horse (or does the horse find her?; hmmmmm....), and off they go. These two, Talia and the horse she intuits is named Rolan, are pretty tight. He brings her back to his homeland, and everyone there is pretty excited because Rolan found his special friend. Rolan is now Talia's Companion. Cute!

Turns out Talia is pretty gifted in some other ways and the queen of this place wants her to be her own very special guard. This 13-year-old manages to be incredible at everything, and much of the story involves her being awesome at things, and that not sitting well with some people, but who cares because perfection.

Sorry, the story isn't that great, I'm not going to lie.

The worst of it, however, is the attempt at writing sex scenes. Talia and a boy try to make the sex happen a few times, but they keep falling asleep which is totally realistic (NOT) for adolescents to continuously fall asleep before the actual act. And then!
"I hate to say this," Skif began with a sigh.

"I know. This isn't going to work, is it?"

"I guess not. It's either the gods, fate, or the imp of the perverse."

"Or all three. I guess we're stuck just being good friends. Well, you can't say we didn't try!"

Ummmm. Is this like a three-strikes-you're-out kinda deal? Cause that seems a bit harsh, even though they both seem to be on the same page about this. Like "Man, bummer we can't stay awake and get it in; oh well, let's just order pizza."

Unless the plot point implied here is that Skif or Talia are gay, or asexual, which then that's great because this book was written in 1987 and it would be refreshing if Lackey was leading the story along one of those lines. But I sort of just feel the possibility of sex was thrown in for, what, shock? Interest? Publicity? I don't know, but it didn't work here. AT ALL.

What did work, however, is a brief discussion of this land's version of birth control, which pretty much mirrors your standard birth control pill of our own day, except it's in powder form there. This actually intrigues me, probably more than it should because a powder birth control? Like... do you put it in your tea? Do you snort it? So many possibilities here.

The fact that I put this much thought into powdered birth control makes me realize that the story just wasn't doing much for me in the slightest. I had high hopes for this book because I read Lackey's Mage Winds trilogy back in college when a friend of mine claimed they were her favorite books EVER. I also enjoyed them at the time, and always meant to read more by Lackey.

I realized as I read this that after reading The Mage Winds trilogy, I did try to read one of Lackey's other trilogies (of which there are quite a few, actually), but the story never took off in the same way. So I wonder if I actually did try to read this trilogy (The Heralds of Valdemar) but couldn't get into it.

I do have the next two books that I got from the library at the same time as this first one, so I will stick with it to see where Talia takes us on her quest to becoming Herald. I hope the story improves though, because this was a pretty big disappointment.
Profile Image for Octavia Cade.
Author 86 books108 followers
May 14, 2018
An entertaining, easy-read coming of age story in which Talia escapes her difficult family to train as a Herald, complete with magical powers and an even more magical horse. The main strength here is the protagonist - Talia is sympathetic and I enjoyed reading about her, but I did feel that the more talents got heaped on her in the second half of the book the less interesting she was, and the more she started to feel like a fantasy heroine rather than an actual person. Another positive is the general atmosphere of kindness that surrounds her in Herald training school - obviously there's conflict in the story and enemies to be defeated, but they're often almost outside the text, and it's nice to read a book where pretty much everyone who spends any time on page is a decent person. I have to say, though, that in many ways the book struck me as a very long introduction. A pleasant one, don't get me wrong, but when I came to Goodreads to rate and review and saw that it was the first in a series, I felt absolutely no surprise. The rest of the series will be going on my reading list, though, and I hope they're as likable as this one!
Profile Image for Meg.
128 reviews3 followers
June 22, 2007
This was the first Valdemar book that I read, which was sort of fortuitous since it was the first book about the world that Mercedes Lackey wrote. It isn't my favorite (Kero's tale has that honor), but it comes very very close.

I re-read this book (and the rest of the trilogy) probably about once a year, and I never get tired of them.

Don't be fooled by the childish looking covers, this trilogy deals with some VERY adult themes.. child abuse, death, torture, sex, war, rape, murder... but it does it in a way that doesn't leave you feeling slimy.

Are there talking horses? Yeah, kind of. It's a fantasy novel. Animals frequently talk in fantasy. Narnia, anyone?

The Valdemar books are still my favorite series of all time.
Profile Image for Diana.
1,521 reviews84 followers
July 4, 2019
Re-read 2019
I'm on a bit of a re-reading spree. Revisiting some of my favorite series.

Re-read 2018
I'm picking up some of my favorite books as a re-read to take a break from all the reading for a paper I'm writing. I love the books revolving around Talia and how she became Queens Own of Valdemar.

Re-read 2017

Poor Talia, she's a holderkin girl who wants to be something other than a wife or mother. When she escapes into books she dreams of being a Herald of Valdemar and doing great things like Lavan Firestorm and Herald-Mage Vanyel. Unfortunately, that isn't something proper girls do in her society. After running away from her hold to avoid a marriage at 13 she is found by a Companion, and her adventures both good and bad start from there.
Profile Image for Brecht Denijs.
246 reviews32 followers
January 27, 2019
Ugh, I adored this book and I so want to give it five stars but, sigh, it's got some issues. This is the sucky part about being an adult, seasoned reader. You pick up a thing or two about writing books and suddenly you can't help but notice things and be critical. I'm sure I would have loved the shit out of this as a kid and readily given it five stars, I can't in good conscious do that now though.

Arrow of the Queen is a classic style Noblebright, coming of age fantasy story. It was basically Harry Potter before Harry Potter was Harry Potter. I love these kinds of stories, they're my favourite subgenre in fantasy and I'm so glad to have stumbled on this one. It does the Noblebright thing very well, creating a world within a world that is full of good, justice, friendship, love etc...while the world at large still has grimness and evil. There is grief and loss in this book, but hope above all. I loved it, I loved the bits of the world we got to see and I loved the characters.

Also, this book had LGBT rep in the 1980s! I wasn't expecting that. Kudos for including it, though I must say, it wasn't always handled all that well. I'll circle back to that but for now I'll point out that one of the characters who despite being from a region where it is generally accepted and being in a place where it is also openly allowed, still feels the need to hide her sexuality somehow and has a lot of sex with men instead. I mean she might be bi or something, but it wasn't explained well AT ALL. A lot of great female characters in this book though. If ever I have a daughter, this would be the type of book I would like her to read.

Now on to the parts I really rather not talk about, because I loved reading this book so much, but I must address the issues.

It doesn't really have one. This trilogy was written back to back and all published in just a single year, first one in 1987 (incidentally that makes it as old as I am) and the last one in 1988. As such, this first book is really just covering our Hero Talia's formative years at the collegium and her initial admission. A lot of things seem to happen, but there is little to no big overarching plot that we're working towards. The antagonists are all nameless and faceless and their motivations none existent as far as we're concerned. As a consequence the pace was downright odd with constant shifts in speed between chapters. Seeing as we cover about three or four (formative) years in this book, this did lead to a certain amount of confusion at times.

Show, don't tell
This basic rule of creative writing was ignored a bit too often. Sometimes the author would literally tell us that "a bond was formed". To make matters worse, what she told us at times contradicted with what was happening, in particular with how characters acted. Especially in Talia's regard to Skif.

While staying from certain tropes nicely, with strong characters of both genders and the world being neither utopian nor dystopian. It sadly does still follow a couple of tropes or deals badly with trying to avoid them. I'll list four examples below:
1) The chosen one trope: This is one is sadly very present. I like Talia a lot but she is certainly a bit over powered, almost super human even. Her few flaws seem to be applied very randomly and aren't logically utilised. Sometimes they seem to be just there because the author is trying to make her seem a little less perfect and not being very successful at it.

2)Men and Women can't be just friends trope: I particularly hated this part as I have quite a few close female friends. It was by far my least favourite subplot and should have been left out entirely in my opinion.

3)The back-up love interest trope:

4)The beauty myth trope: Now it avoids this particular trope, but it does so hard its best to avoid it that it goes so far in the opposite direction as to become a trope in itself. The book hammers it in that our characters are not really attractive looking, every single chance it gets, to the point of being downright annoying. Poor Dirk is even made to look like Quasimodo. Here's a thought? How about one general description of what a character looks like, without commenting on their attractiveness. Because unless it somehow pertains to the plot, I really don't care and I certainly don't need to see it repeated.

Now, in spite of my ramblings and in spite of the issues, I really loved this book. I'm happy to have discovered the world of Valdemar and I suspect I shall be spending a lot more time in it. If you're into Noblebright, I warmly recommend this one. Bear in mind that it is an all ages novel, so the story is more basic without major twists. Not that that is a bad thing in and of itself, but it is noteworthy.
I'm looking forward to reading the next one!
Profile Image for The Captain.
1,077 reviews372 followers
September 14, 2018
Ahoy there me mateys! While drawin’ up me lists of 2016 for me log, I realized a curious thing – out of 134 books read, not a single one was a re-read. In me enthusiasm of discovery and taking suggestions from me crew, I did not revisit a single old port for plunder! And part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends. So I decided to remedy that and thus created me new category where I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .

arrows of the queen – Mercedes Lackey

Now I had touched upon this novel and the author in me previous log post, Broadside No. 8. This book was my introduction into her writing. As I said in that post “I finished the trilogy and forayed further into the Valdemar world. I am not sure how well this series would hold up now since I haven’t re-read any since I was a younger lass but me memory holds such fondness for them. I enjoyed her writing so much that eventually I delved into her other work.”

The answer about whether it stood the test of time is . . . erm . . . not so much. While this book did bring back some fondness for me, in general I found in more problematic than my memories would suggest.

Me primary problem be that the main character, Talia is such a special snowflake. I mean seriously, she is twelve or thirteen and out of a backwater province with no real education or experience and yet she can enter a new land with new politics, culture, etc. and somehow with her “wise beyond her years” personality suddenly become a trusted adviser to the Queen. Seriously her advice is common sense. Sigh. Of course young me would not find Talia’s talents to be unreasonable. I wanted them too!

On top of that the culture, politics, and education of Valdemar seem to be rather flat in execution. As was the plot. In actuality I found Talia’s beginning experiences in her homeland to be the most interesting part of the story. It felt more fleshed out than the later parts of the book. The story in general felt too simplistic and generic. And that ending was so ridiculous! I mean seriously the bad guys had no brains.

Plot aside, there were two aspects of this book that still make me heart happy. One of the things is the bond between horse and rider. It is a magical telepathic bond. This bond had way less page time or purpose than I remember but the concept still makes me happy. Even if I can’t have a telepathic horse on me ship for practical reasons, I still kinda want one.

The second aspect of this book concerns sexuality. In this book sex was not shameful. People could have no-strings-attached sex. There are also monogamous long term couples. And gay and lesbian couples. It is by no means graphic but I do remember my younger self’s brain being introduced to these different kinds of relationships and sex. I had no experience with knowing any types people with alternative lifestyles at that point. This wasn’t a major revelation or even one I thought a lot about at the time (late bloomer here) but as a child it did lead to thoughts of “hmm different” and also “cool.” As an adult reader, I appreciate that Lackey was writing about this options as a) normative; and b) doing so in 1987 when people didn’t advertise these lifestyles as viable, perfectly acceptable choices. So hurrah for that!

So while me second reflections of this novel seemed to point out the flaws in this book more than anything else, I still maintain me fondness for it. I don’t know if I will reread the second and third books of this trilogy because too many books and so little time. But I am actually glad I gave this book another look.

Check out me other reviews at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...
Profile Image for Shera (Book Whispers).
586 reviews285 followers
June 27, 2021
Genre: Epic Fantasy

Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, and other popular male authors where about it for Epic Fantasy exposure when I was first starting out in the genre. So it came as a shock when the allure of a female voice was so addicting after being bombarded with male writing—in fact Lackey was the first female EF author I had ever read back when.  It was a shock to read a book that actually had emotions and plots that worked with them.  Of course the idea of mystical horses that can mind-link to humans and have the same intelligence (if not smarter) of their riders is any little or grown-up girls dream. 

The horses are mystical—maybe even divine—creatures that protect the kingdom in more ways then even their Heralds.  Considering their Heralds act as enforcers of the law, spies, ambassadors, negotiators, warriors, assassins, and so much more—it's pretty impressive.

Talia comes from a repressive society of Holder Kin, that believe women are no better then housewives. The villages are basically polygamist settlements where women marry at thirteen, or are vowed into silence as priestesses.  Talia is immediately relatable as a young girl who dreams of more and finds her escape in the few books that she can get her hands on.  So when she's confronted with an arranged marriage, I was only too willing to follow along Talia's escape into the world of Heralds and Companions.  Where outside of Holder Kin society women are equal to men. 

Lackey's "emo reputation" probably comes from the fact that she is not afraid to deal with negative emotions. Talia has been repressed by her abusive upbringing, she suffers from low self-esteem and doubts.  Heralds are asked to justly serve the kingdom and set aside personal feelings and prejudice. Talia is also Queen's Own, which is a position as the main advisor and friend to the current ruler.  Even though Talia's Companion makes her Queen's Own by picking her, this book is still a journey on Talia truly becoming a person to fit that role. 

Life-bonded couples—much like soul mates—are a favorite topic of negative opinions from other reviewers. While some characters state it was love at first sight, the relationships don't start then. Lackey is all about character growth and nothing is ever easy, so don't be afraid about mushy-gooey soul mates spoiling the storyline.

Arrows of the Queen may only be a 230 page book, but it covers more story then most 700 page books. Lackey's writing style is easy to get into, and is classy enough to forget the few typo issues at the beginning. Even though some characters don't even get a page appearance, as they're only brought up in conversation, you know who they are and what happens to them—even caring about them.

This is my third time visiting this book, and it still manages to enchant me.  It covers the training years of Talia, being the time honored tale of escape from the mundane lives we live to something incredible.  Political intrigue adds flavor to the pages as the current Queen has old and new enemies who want her gone. Leading to attempts on Talia's life and the brainwashing of the Heir. The cast of characters here will become well loved friends that you constantly look out for each book.

Sexual Content: Homosexual themes for some cast members and secondary characters clearly have sex lives. There are some mature scenes where Talia tries to get involved sexually—but it ends up being rather comedic and nothing happens. All in all nothing truly outrageous.

Rating – 5/5 Fabulous, a beautiful obsession!

Originally reviewed at Book Whispers.
Profile Image for Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~.
1,579 reviews104 followers
February 27, 2021
This is the first book in the Valdemar series and it has a lot going for it, but it falls short of what I expect out of a story. The good news is it's not another Tolkien ripoff trying to pass itself off as something original. The bad news is it's the first in a series, and I think even the first book Lackey wrote, and it shows. The other good news is that for a first book, this shows a lot of promise, and I'm willing to go along for the ride and see how Lackey improves as a writer over the course of the series, especially as I'll be reading this in publication order.

This book introduces us to the world of Valdemar, so named after its first ever king, and a young Herald by the name of Talia. She's the classic Hero archetype, pulled from the fringes of society from a miserable life to discover that she's something more than she dreamed possible, landing into a world of adventure. Eventually. After she gets trained and goes to school and all that boring stuff. ;) Along the way, she meets several friends, helps with a conspiracy to unseat the Queen, and gets a magical horse.

I like Talia for the most part. She comes across a bit Mary Sue-ish at times, but that appears to be a hazard of the Heralds in general, since they're Chosen by their Companions, who somehow can sense the people who will have all the qualities necessary to be good Heralds: goody-two-shoes with some form of Gift and with hearts of gold no matter how awful their starts in life might have been. In other words, no one from Slytherin is getting onto this team. Not that they're perfect, and that saves Talia from being a true Mary Sue. She has faults and she pays for them, and she struggles to fit in and find her place in the Collegium. Her growth through the book was quite well-done.

Of the other characters we get the most page time with, I really liked Skif and Jadus. Skif was a street rat and still has many skills handy for sneaking about - and getting into trouble. Jadus becomes a mentor to Talia, and later to Skif. Elspeth, the queen's heir, is a horror child when we first meet her, and I can just imagine the tough love approach taken to tame her would be frowned upon by some.

The world-building is sprinkled throughout the book and doesn't overwhelm at any point, but I would've liked to see more of the day-to-day goings on of the Collegium, more training sessions, more classes, more equestrian training, anything at all with the Council. The various other side characters also don't get as well developed as the ones I mentioned and are there mostly for support. There's also a lot of head hopping that I'm sure would annoy some readers, though it was never confusing whose head we were in at any point.

I also wanted more of the conspiracy.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
9,331 reviews399 followers
February 3, 2020
For Jan 20, 2020 SFFBC
Also avl as ebook okc.
Probably want to get sequels, too. At least the first trilogy.
mobius sent me a beat-up mm pb after a relatively long wait... but once I finally got my hands on it I read the first third when I should have been sleeping, and now am having trouble putting it down. It's an easy, engaging, teen/ YA style read, perfect for young girls who love horses and for us older women who remember being young and want a comfort read... probably good for other folk, too. I do hope that I can read the sequels; I'd kinda like to own the trilogy. If it ends as well as it's going so far, it'll be a strong four stars.
And done. And yes indeed, the ending was just as charming as the rest of the story, and it is totally worthy of four stars, and I want to own the trilogy (and of course keep reading Lackey).

It's not a perfect book, and so people who aren't engaged by it will find plenty of nits to pick. But I was enchanted. Now I feel a bit more surprised I wasn't engaged by Tamora Pierce's Sandry's Book. (my review of that does pick nits)
Profile Image for Laura (Kyahgirl).
2,070 reviews144 followers
July 18, 2018
3.5/5; 4 stars; B+

I have had a pile of Mercedes Lackey books sitting on a shelf in the basement ever since I inherited them from my sister years ago. I finally started working on them. I remember Joan telling me to start with these then follow with the Magic's Pawn subset.

This book had several strong female characters, including the main character. It reminds me very much of the Tamora Pierce series I read lately starting with Terrier.

This was good clean fantasy. I don't feel compelled to rush out and binge on the series but I will definitely read more.
Profile Image for Scott.
685 reviews81 followers
April 13, 2014
Ugh, what? Get outta here.
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