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Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar, #1)
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2015 Reads > AotQ: A Teen Girl's Dream (mild early spoilers)

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message 1: by Joanna Chaplin (last edited Dec 04, 2015 10:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments I first read this series when I was a teenager, back in the era where I was reading everything I could find in my local library's somewhat limited scifi and fantasy section. (If only I had known about interlibrary loans!) I devoured it. I adored it. It was almost the perfect series for who I was at the time.

The protagonist was female, and about my age. She loves books. She starts in a restrictive situation and ends up in someplace much more supportive. The book contains magical sentient horses. It's about good people in a good kingdom trying to defend their home and make the world better for everyone around them. Less so this book, but later books in the series use positive, if maybe a tinge stereotypical portrayal of persons of color. This book, while not one of the first places I encountered casual sex within the context of enthusiastic consent and homosexual relationships, it was probably one of the first places I encountered positive portrayals of either, which made me think.

On that note, I was kind of surprised when I happened to reread it a couple of months ago and realized how very progressive it all was, despite coming from around the time I was born. Almost as if fantasy lapsed on social issues somewhere in between now and then, although maybe that's a topic for a different thread, one I'm not sure I'm prepared to tackle.

There was one problematic spoilery bit that I didn't remember from my first read that I was actually quite uncomfortable reading again. To the point where I was surprised that it hadn't made a bigger impression on teenage me. But again, perhaps a different thread for that topic as well.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who had a positive early encounter with this series. And I know not all who did are women. So sing out if your adolescent self enjoyed this series! How did you discover it? How did you react to it, how did it make you think? And what else did it lead you to read, if that applies and you can remember?

message 2: by Kristina (new)

Kristina | 588 comments Still waiting on this from the library.. but I remember reading it as a teen. I remember the cover atleast...I dont really remember the story-I wonder if it will come back to me. As a horse obsessed girl I often picked my books because of a horse on the cover.. the difference with this one is that it also had a unicorn sticker on the side labelling it as fantasy. After reading this one, I knew to look for that sticker when picking books... which is how I then discovered Dragonlance... and the rest is "To Read" history.

Sandra (whatlovelybooks) | 179 comments Yeah, I also had a strong urge to bust out my Lisa Frank sticker's and plaster horse posters all over my walls. Companions should have been unicorns imo. I was also surprised by the homosexual relationships in the book. It seemed very nonchalant about it.

Maria (missmia277) | 30 comments This is my first time reading this and pretty early on I thought, "why didn't I read this when I was younger?" It has everything that I love about fantasy.

I also noticed how progressive it was too. I honestly can't wait to share this with my future children. I feel like they could truly benefit from this book.

terpkristin | 4188 comments Maria wrote: "This is my first time reading this and pretty early on I thought, "why didn't I read this when I was younger?" It has everything that I love about fantasy."

I'm not too far in, but this is my initial impression, too. I think some people may be slightly disappointed because it's fairly "traditional" and may skew a little younger, but I'm sad I missed this in my formative years.

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments Hey, terpkristin, since you're here, how is my spoiler protection attempt?

terpkristin | 4188 comments Joanna wrote: "Hey, terpkristin, since you're here, how is my spoiler protection attempt?"

I think you did great! You mentioned that there would be early spoilers but all you did was say anything that might be in a blurb, so I think you're good there. And you didn't say the "problematic spoilery thing" that struck you this time (other than to say there was one) so that seems good (but if you want to mention it in the future in this thread, maybe use the spoiler tag). :D

Adelaide Blair I read this in my early twenties and really enjoyed it. I've honestly read a lot better written YA since then, but this would be a great entry point for a lot of people. (My introduction to fantasy was the Menolly books by Anne McCaffrey.) It's been fun going back to it.

Geir (makmende) About a quarter into the book, I wish I'd read this like 25 years ago. But now will have to do, and that's OK.

Richard | 99 comments After reading your post, I spent the rest of the book trying to guess what your problematic bit was! :)

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments Richard wrote: "After reading your post, I spent the rest of the book trying to guess what your problematic bit was! :)"

Perhaps I'm misremembering and it's in book 2 or 3 of the trilogy? If you find my reviews of the books when I reread them a month or so ago, it'll say. I'm waiting for a little longer in the month to skim the first one to be sure of which bits are in which book.

message 12: by E.J. Xavier (new) - added it

E.J. Xavier (ejxavier) | 163 comments The sticky-sweet tang of an ice-cold can of artificial grape soda has the power to unlock deep visceral memories of midwestern summers and my childhood.

For me the Valdemar books live in the same category as my artificial grape soda. For all its flaws I'm still happy to sneak a taste from time to time, and I think the world would be a sadder place without these things. Adulthood be damned.

message 13: by Iain (new) - rated it 3 stars

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1416 comments I ploughed through all three books in just under a week. It was a very enjoyable read.

Yes, there are periods where the prose is clunky and could be better. But overall this wasn't very noticeable whilst reading the book. After a series of "heavy" books that were not easy to read because of the heavy subject matter (or leaden prose in Time and again) it was refreshing to read a YA novel.

I found the character development of Talia to be well handled. The challenges were appropriate for a young person in their situation.

Further discussion is under the spoiler tag, although I am not commenting on specific plot point but rather themes in a general way.

(view spoiler)

Teadragon | 23 comments I read these books when they were pretty new, at about age 13, which was the perfect age. I loved them. They are some of the most well-targeted "bookworm teenager who likes fantasy, surrounded by non-readers" material that could exist. I also read everything else Mercedes Lackey wrote for years afterwards. At the time, the books were very progressive, egalitarian, and positive towards women and other minorities, but also the idea of diversity of beliefs as well. I think that because "Misty" Lackey writes a lot of books aimed at a young adult audience, she is often under-rated. For that audience, she has done some fine work. If you do enjoy these, I'd also recommend "The Last Herald Mage Trilogy", , and "Oathbound", "Oathbreakers" and "By the Sword.

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