Fantasy

Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey #ReadingValdemar

arrows-of-the-queenLast year, Melanie @ GrabTheLapels mentioned that she was planning on reading 15 books written by Mercedes Lackey – she talked about the story behind those books in this lovely post. I got immediately intrigued – books that feature magic always draw me in and I wanted to give the world of Valdemar a chance.

Melanie and Jacky @ DeathBySundoku decided to co-host an official read along called #ReadingValdemar – its schedule can be found on their picture below. True to my inner rebel, I somehow did not quite stick to the schedule (hey, I’m only a few days late!). I am glad that I took part in reading The Arrows of the Queen as it turned out to be an enjoyable read.

For those interested, here are also Jacky’s review and Melanie’s review of The Arrows of the Queen.reading-valdemar-v2Let’s start with Goodread’s blurb first:

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.


What did I think of Arrows of The Queen? I was entertained by it despite thinking it was probably not the best written book I have read. However the characters as well as carefully added social issues wan me over in the end.

I could not help myself but to compare Lackey‘s with Tamora Pierce‘s books. Both of these female authors write fantasy books featuring strong female protagonists and their messages promote gender equality.

Pierce‘s Alanna: The First Adventure from theΒ Song of the Lioness quartet was first published in 1983, and Lackey‘s Arrows of The Queen in 1987. If you enjoy Pierce‘s books, I think Lackey‘s books may be worth checking out as well.


As mentioned already, I had some minor issues with the way Arrows of The Queen is written. This could be that it was Lackey‘s first book. I would have probably preferred it to be edited a bit more and for it to omit the somehow slightly confusing change in narratives, which at times felt a little disjointed.

On the other side, I absolutely enjoyed reading about the main character, Talia. If you have been following my blog for a while, you may know that I have a special place in my heart for ‘coming of age’ stories. And Arrows of the Queen certainly fitted that category. Talia, who is 13 at the start of the book, is going to a magic school to learn how to become a Herald (I was sensing strong Harry Potter vibes there, but Lackey‘s book was written a decade before HP was published!).

Talia is certainly a likeable character. She is not perfect though – she struggles with asking for help, bottles up her feelings, doesn’t trust others and is quite shy. She is therefore having problems forming friendships and connections with other and finds it hard to belong. She is a fellow dreamer with a kind heart that compels her to contribute and to help others. Despite her flaws, she is willing to grow and learn – something I find crucial when deciding if I care about a character or not.

I was really impressed how carefully Lackey embedded many social issues into the book. Gender equality, homosexuality, casual sex – it was all there and there was no judgement attached to any of these messages. Diversity is nowadays quite common in many YA books but I dare to say it wasn’t that well represented during the time this book was published and I do applaud the author for doing so!

As I absolutely adore animals, I also appreciated the Companions – magical horses, that choose their Heralds. Reading about those special bonds between Heralds and Companions made me so happy. I do believe that animals talk to us, especially when we listen very carefully.

Overall, it was a fairly slow coming of age story that introduced me to Valdemar as well as its very likeable heroine, Talia.

I have bought the other two books in this trilogy as I do want to know what happens next. I will not be reading them on schedule though as I’m currently swamped with compulsory reading for my course but I will give those books a chance later on in the year. I am really looking forward to it! πŸ™‚

Recommended? Yes if you enjoy slower paced coming of age fantasy that feature likeable heroin, magic schools and beautiful horses.


Over to you!

  • Have you read The Arrows of the Queen?
  • What’s your favourite coming of age story?

Fancy sharing it with me? Thanks for reading! ❀️

28 thoughts on “Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey #ReadingValdemar”

  1. Thanks so much for reading with us, Vera! You’re definitely not too late. Jackie was saying that most people following a read along post about a week after the hosts do. I’m giggling that you compare the book to Harry Potter. This is a reviewer on Goodreads who was VERY mad that Arrows of the Queen is exactly like Harry Potter and felt that Mercedes Lackey ripped off the idea — even though the reviewer knew Lackey wrote her book first. I think perhaps this reviewer struggles with things.

    Make sure you share this posts’ URL in the link at the bottom of my review to enter our international giveaway ($20 to the book depository). What classes are you taking now that have you reading so much? I love hearing about classes people are taking! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you! I’m glad to hear that. πŸ™‚

      He he, I could not help and throw Harry Potter out there. And yeah, this book was written waaaaay before HP so absolutely no contest there as to who could possibly got influenced by whom… unless the fluidity of time somehow doesn’t work… πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      I’m doing Masters in Coaching :). I’m currently learning different aspects of coaching, which are all heavily based on psychology. The learning material I’m currently studying involves creating ‘Thinking Environment’ as well as learning how to help clients set goals after their values have been discovered – all super interesting stuff. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks! Just completed three days of 9am till 5pm in person learning and today is the last day of that (day four). Reminding myself to read some fiction tonight as I’m loving what I’m learning but it’s a lot to take it. Great idea, thanks! 😊

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Despite this one being published back in the 80s when I read a lot of SFF, I never read any Lackey before. So I might give her another look and see what she’s done recently. As you say, this one was an entertaining read apart from a few editorial problems. Which is a shame. Still, worth knowing she might be someone worth reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read in some reviews on Goodreads that Lackey’s writing is very polished later on so I thought this was probably due to Arrows of the Queen being her first book.

      Crossing my fingers your enjoy some of her books as well, I will surely be reading more of them as well. 😊 Happy reading! πŸ“š

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve not heard of this story though the author sounds familiar. Sounds interesting though especially seeing an “early” magic school setting at least in recent terms! Glad you posted about this and the read along sounds like fun πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I found that interesting as well. A way before Harry Potter, there was Valdemar… 😊 I wished I knew about her books when I was growing up as I bet they would be fun to read.

      Like

  4. Mercedes Lackey is one of those authors whose books I probably should have read already! I’ve been wondering where to start — so glad to see your post! I can’t commit to a readalong, but it’s good to see the schedule, which gives me an idea of which books to read in which order. Basically, once you mentioned Tamora Pierce, I was sold! Great write-up — I look forward to seeing your reaction throughout the readalong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lisa! I hope you will enjoy Lackey’s books if you read them one day. I’ll be certainly posting more reviews of Lackey’s books.
      And I absolutely understand about the realalong commitment!

      Like

  5. Oh, how cool! A year long readalong! I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the books too πŸ™‚
    Haven’t heard of this author before. It might be kind of fantasy i could actually enjoy too. With a young character, kinda like in Name of the Wind πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! 😊
      It’s a fantasy with some strong political messaging. As I love coming of age stories and stories that feature animals, this way right up my alley. With that said, I’m starting to feel like giving fantasy a break for a bit. I feel like reading some thrillers but ask me again tomorrow and I may say otherwise! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha πŸ˜€
        I’m kinda like this with thrillers, but the other way round. Read so many psychological / domestic thrillers. Kinda wanna read something different. Read two historical fiction so far… but then again they were also thrillers. * sigh * πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

        1. He he, that may be just Universe sneaking those thrillers in for you to say: keep on reading them! 😊 I will probably read a lot of fantasy after I just declared I may try another genre… πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely review! I adore coming of age stories too, especially about female characters. I also really like magical schools and animal companions, so this is clearly a book for me 😊 I couldn’t pick a favorite coming of age story, but I just read I Capture the Castle and it’s definitely a contender! ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I really hope you will enjoy this book. Talia is a likeable character that is flawed despite appearing β€˜perfect’ – and maybe quite because of that. Crossing my fingers you enjoy it if you read it one day. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•

      Yay! I’ve got I Capture the Castle sitting on my shelf so I will definitely read it soon. I have been putting it off for some strange reason but now I’m sold. Thank you! ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great review, Vera! You tackled a lot of my struggles clearly. It does feel like a slow coming of age novel. But, for some reason, I really enjoyed it! As Kim @ Traveling Gladly put it, these books are “literary catnip”. Easy to read and digest. Not too challenging, but a ton of fun.

    Good luck with your classes!! I saw above you’re getting a masters in coaching! That’s awesome. I have taken a few pure coaching classes and that stuff is HARD. I’m not very good at it. I’m sure you’re better. XD

    I look forward to hearing your future thoughts as you make time for these books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jackie! Loving the β€œliterary catnip” analogy, I do think it describes these books rather nicely. Thank you for sharing it with me.

      And thank you for the wishes. I’ve started my journey towards that this past weekend and had to take a break from blogosphere. I want to process everything that came up (lots of it) and to calm down my anxiety about what is required (a lot). πŸ™‚ It’s all good though, coaching can be such a positive experience. I think even though you may feel you were not good at it, even you being there with your coachee and creating a safe listening environment for them must have been a tremendous experience for the other party. I’m sure they appreciated it. πŸ™‚ I’m leaning toward the CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) applied into coaching route and loving exploring it. So much fun! πŸ™‚

      I’ll be definitely reading more of these books once the in person part of the course is over, it’s quite intense so far and I’m giving myself a permission to process it and don’t over-stretch myself too thin. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on these books as well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wish I could say I agree with you that the coachee got something out of it… For my coaching classes, the other coaches were our coachees. This was difficult as the other coach learners are my coworkers. No one really felt comfortable opening up to each other about anything. It was… well, poorly timed. Trust is important when doing these sorts of things and I don’t feel like the trust was there to start. Overall, I learned a few good techniques, but I didn’t get a chance to practice with willing participants.

        Coaching can certainly be an overlal positive experience! I don’t know much about CBT applied to coaching, but the interconnection of the two makes sense to me! There are many parallels to coaching and psychology. Obviously, the two are very different careers, but I see the appeal of applying coaching to CBT issues. I might dig into this some omre!

        Yes– take time to prioritize what you need to prioritize! Books will be here when you’re done. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. What a tricky coaching environment that must have been! I can see how opening up to people we work with may have created many problems. I’m 100% with you about trust. If it’s not there, it’s not a safe coaching environment. I like that you can see something positive about it though regardless how frustrating it may have been. πŸ™‚

          And thank you for your kind words, books are indeed here for us when life calms down again. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh! Tamora Pierce! I remember reading a few of her books when I was in elementary school, because her novels would always be at every library I went to, but I don’t remember much about her stories. I do know a lot of people love her books for her strong female characters, so it would be interesting for me to reread her books to pick up on what I missed as a kid.

    As for the world of Valdemar, I’ve actually never heard of it, so thank you so much for introducing me to it! I love how you broke down aspects of the first book, and I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on the rest of the books in the trilogy (if you decide to write book reviews for them 😊)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Zoie, I really hope you will enjoy some of Pierce’s novels if you reread some of them again. I really like The Immortal quartet featuring Daine.

      I will definitely review the rest of this trilogy once the most intense part of my coaching course is over, I am currently head over heels in cognitive psychology and am looking forward to reading some fantasy sometime soon. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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