Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
My rating: 3 of 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.
Mercedes Lackey is a well-known name in the fantasy genre, and after reading Arrows of the Queen, I am beginning to understand why. This book has some rough edges no doubt, but with a bit more polish and development, I think Lackey would be a truly excellent fantasy writer. And, from what I am given to understand, Lackey has honed her craft since the publishing of her first novel (Arrows of the Queen).
Lackey's world-building is excellent. I'm hoping to see a bit more development, but I suspect that this may be filled out in the sequels in this series. Her main character, Talia, is likable if slightly distant. Some of her supporting characters blend together- and it's a pity since all of them have potential as round characters. On the other hand, there were a few characters who were truly stand out. Jadus and Skif are subtle stars in this novel, each characterizing underrepresented relationships in the publishing industry. In my own life, I have often bonded with older people. Some are like grandparents; some are not. And it was refreshing to see Talia and Jadus create such a relationship. Skif is a charming character in and of himself- however, his thwarted romance turned friendship is highly relatable and lovely to see in a novel. Books are too often filled with instant lust and eternal love. Skif provides a realistic comfort.
Overall, Lackey was an absolute pleasure to read. It is no wonder that her work has inspired devotion in so many readers throughout the decades.
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