Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
Heralds of Valdemar #1
DAW Books – March 3, 1987
Purpose: 100 must read Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels by Female Authors
Source: My Bookshelf
So far, I have not been impressed with the books that have appeared on this list. In fact, I told my friend who is reading along with me that if I didn’t like this book, I was ready to just forget about the list. But, I loved this book. For so many reasons. Talia, the main character, was very likeable. This was a young girl who was wise beyond her years. Other characters make a comment about this, but it is apparent with the writing. Next would be the relationships in the story. There’s familial, friendship and romantic relationships. Some are destroyed as they should be. Some move from friendship to romantic but reverts to friendship, without all the angst and drama. The romantic relationships range from lifelong to unrequited or in secret. Again, without all the angst and drama.
I loved watching Talia slowly come into her own at the Collegium, into her gifts as well as her role as the Queen’s Own. This book was a foundation book, giving the history if the Collegium as well as the history of companions. But it wasn’t boring, and it wasn’t full of info dumps. There were enough mini-adventures and mystery to move the story along, so you’re not just left with the history. Talia comes to the Collegium at a time where conspiracies and a covert rebellion is brewing. I was lost in the story and enjoyed the writing so much.
One other thing that I really enjoyed seeing in this story was the way women were treated and depicted. Women are valued and treated as equals. Valdemar is ruled by a queen. The queen has the same requirements to rule as the king. This was a sore spot for the king who turned Queen Selenay into a widow and who was at the heart of the rebellion. Heralds and Heralds-in-training are both male and female. They all go through the same rigorous mental and physical education. In fact, the previous Queen’s Own role that Talia steps into was filled by Talamir- a man. I am interested to see if this equality continues throughout the rest of the series.
This was an enjoyable read, and I can definitely see how Lackey made it onto the list. She is an author that I will continue to read throughout the year. I am looking forward to catching up on her backlist.