The Heralds of Valdemar: Arrows of the Queen
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Published By: DAW Books
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Running through the books written by Mercedes Lackey that I have reviewed for G-POP.net, I realized that one novel in particular was missing. It was the very book that started my addiction for all things associated with the kingdom of Valdemar - Arrows of the Queen.
It all began when I received a box filled with books from a great friend who knew that I love to read. I enjoy losing myself in a really good book. My friend told me that her favorite of the authors’ works she had sent were those by Mercedes Lackey. Knowing that she had excellent taste in books, I decided to make a Mercedes Lackey novel one of the first books I would read out of that box.
Arrows of the Queen is the story of Talia and her initiation into the world of the Heralds of Valdemar. When we begin this novel, Talia lives with a very brusque and hurtful family in the land of the Holderkin, a very strict people who think only of necessity. It is not necessary for women to learn more than what it takes to run a family. Families are large and men take more than one wife to ensure that the family name and lineage remains strong and hearty. But Talia is different. To her family, she is a mystery, preferring to devour books and live in a world of fantasy, and thus, Talia endures both verbal and physical abuse at the hands of her family members. There are only two members of the family she can turn to for support, and those are eventually taken from her, one is killed during a raid on the homestead and one sent off to be married.
At thirteen, Talia is informed that she, too, is to be married. Alarming news for Talia, she finds herself inexplicably openly protesting the idea. Rather than feel the wrath of the head wife, who has been bound and determined to break Talia of her mysterious ways, Talia runs away, seeking refuge in the woods. She is found by a wondrous creature, a horse like no other, seemingly straight out of Talia’s novels. Rolan is indeed a Companion, and like those spoken of in the tales Talia has read, he has chosen Talia to become a Herald. Not just any Herald, but the Queen’s Own.
What follows is a beautiful tale of growth – physical, emotional, and mental. One of Talia’s first lessons involves learning self-worth. She is encouraged to open up and is taken aback by all the love and trust showered upon her. Uncertain at first, Talia learns to adjust to this new world where abuse is shunned and love abounds. We root for Talia as she realizes her true powers as a Herald-In-Training and cry with her as pain and loss plague her growth.
This book reminds me of the Harry Potter novels. In fact, I venture to guess that fans of the Harry Potter novels will find themselves loving Mercedes Lackey’s works. I was mesmerized by the words on the page and completely drawn into the story, feeling as though I were living it rather than simply reading words on a page. I devoured this novel in a couple of days as I found it very hard to put down. I find it just as hard not to pick up the next novel in the series and soon I joined Talia once again as she continued her journey toward becoming the Queen’s Own Herald.
Mercedes Lackey definitely has been able to procure my undivided attention, a sign of a truly gifted writer! Run, don’t walk, to your local book store and check out The Heralds of Valdemar Trilogy!
For more Mercedes Lackey novels, check out: