Thursday, 22 August 2013

Review - Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey

Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar, #1)

Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
Series: Valdemar: Arrows of the Queen #1
Published by DAW on March 3 1987
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Rating: 3/5 stars

Talia, a young runaway, is made a herald at the royal court after she rescues one of the legendary Companions. When she uncovers a plot to seize the throne, Talia must use her empathic powers to save the queen.
The biggest compliment I can give to Arrows of the Queen is that it is very reminiscent of the Song of the Lioness books by Tamora Pierce, which is one of my all-time favourite series even a good ten years after first reading them. It turns out they were actually published around the same time (early- to mid-80s, long before I was even born!) so perhaps the authors were influenced by some of the same things.

The problem with Arrows of the Queen is that it’s a very pleasant read, but it’s kind of dissatisfying. It’s like expecting a big slice of cheesecake and being presented with a sliver of lemon meringue pie – it’s still lovely and sweet and you wouldn’t pass it up, but it wasn’t as delicious as what you had in mind. I feel slightly disappointed by the book, but I’m not entirely certain why. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I never felt truly connected to any of the characters. There were a handful of character deaths that should have been far more emotional to me as the reader than they actually were. I found that the narrative style was focused a bit too much on telling and not enough on showing. I get that there was a lot of ground to cover in such a short book - it covers about 4 years, perhaps a bit more - but I needed more evidence of the growth in character development and relationships than was given.

Apparently Dirk becomes the love interest in later books, which I find quite amusing. This is mostly due to the fact that the moment I read the description of him my mind immediately leapt to the... oddly formed... visage of Benedict Cumberbatch. I spent the rest of the book picturing Dirk as a young Benedict Cumberbatch. It made me chuckle.

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