Book 1: Arrows of the Queen Book 2: Arrow’s Flight Book 3: Arrow’s Fall
*This trilogy can be found collected together in an omnibus titled Queen’s Own. (The Featured Image)
This is the first trilogy in the Valdemar world. This trilogy follows Talia who begins her adventure in the borderlands with Holderkin family. She isn’t happy dreaming of Herald adventures that she’s only read about. She has suffered abuse from the hands of her older brother and the first wife. The only path for her future is to either marry or to join the area’s convent. On the day that the Holderkin wives tell her that they’ve decided that she was going to marry Talia runs away. This is how the companion, Rolan, finds her.
Talia has been chosen by Rolan, but she doesn’t know this. She believes that Rolan has lost his herald and needs to get back to the Collegium, so she takes him. When she gets there, she begins to understand that her life is forever changed. Talia was chosen to be Queen’s Own, not just because what becomes obvious to everyone, but also because of her latent powers that Rolan sensed within her. Her history of abuse has better prepared her for the challenges and horrors that she faces as Queen’s Own than anything else ever could.
This was the first Lackey book that I’ve read, but I think that this is a great place to start. Talia’s story begins in The Arrows of the Queen, continues in Arrow’s Flight and concludes in Arrow’s Fall. I loved each book, and if you have seen the review/mini-review you know that I rated each 5 stars. Surprisingly, at least to me, Arrow’s Fall, was my favorite.
Each book covers a different aspect of Talia’s journey from training to her coming into the full authority and power of the Queen’s Own. You also learn more about the history of the heralds and the magic of the companions as you read along. Though all of the secrets are not revealed, you are satisfied. Even the characters are unaware of all of the secrets and magic of the companions. Each book is written with care and detail.
While this trilogy may be Talia’s, you read from other perspectives. You learn about Talia not just from being inside her head but also from her interactions with the other characters. It was so easy to fall into this world. A big part of that is because of book two, Arrow’s Flight. Talia’s internship takes her out of the Collegium, away from what’s happening at court. This allows us to get a bigger sense of the world and people of Valdemar. The real people. She travels to the Northern borderlands and interacts with all manner of people. This allows for a wider view of the world, something we wouldn’t have gotten if we only followed Talia at the Collegium.
This is the beginning of the Valdemar works, and I am assuming that this would be Lackey’s first published works. I am going to say that this is not her strongest work, and that makes me excited to continue reading her works. I loved this trilogy, but I didn’t like everything that happened. Sex is super casual. I understand that it is extremely rare for heralds to make permanent bonds, I get it. But the sex is too casual (almost reckless) to me. Also the fake love triangle that comes about in book 3 is simply annoying. Taking the triangle out would mean that the whole book would have to be rewritten. But still. . . If you read the entire trilogy you’ll understand what I mean by fake love triangle.
There are a lot of things that Lackey does really well. Her treatment of sexuality falls into this category. Minus the casualness, sex is always treated with respect and consent. The one case where sex is not given with consent, it is dealt with justly. Also, characters’ sexuality was not done to be a talking point. The characters were diverse, mainly (or only) because the Valdemar world was diverse and the characters reflect that.
While fantasy always require a certain amount of suspension of belief, Lackey creates a world that is authentic and easy to visualize, as well as characters that compels you to care enough to get to know them.