Read Arrow's Fall by Mercedes Lackey Online

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With Elspeth, the heir to the throne of Valdemar, come of marriageable age, Talia, the Queen's Own Herald returns to court to find Queen and heir beset by diplomatic intrigue as various forces vie for control of Elspeth's future.But just as Talia is about to uncover the traitor behind all these intrigues, she is sent off on a mission to the neighboring kingdom, chosen by tWith Elspeth, the heir to the throne of Valdemar, come of marriageable age, Talia, the Queen's Own Herald returns to court to find Queen and heir beset by diplomatic intrigue as various forces vie for control of Elspeth's future.But just as Talia is about to uncover the traitor behind all these intrigues, she is sent off on a mission to the neighboring kingdom, chosen by the Queen to investigate the worth of a marriage proposal from Prince Ancar....

Title : Arrow's Fall
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780886774004
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 319 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Arrow's Fall Reviews

  • Evgeny
    2019-03-03 17:09

    Talia is back from her one and a half years of internship. She now can start on her duty as the Queen's adviser (actually, her title in the book is different, but the job description is exactly the same). It turns out the court's intrigues are way more deadly than the patrolling of borderlands. Her love live is also kind of bad, and there is also a matter of extremely grim prophesy about her future. For better or worse, this trilogy in general and this book in particular are built around the character of Talia. This means that the novel is really good when Talia is at her best and it is extremely frustrating read when she is at her worst. Her personal problems come from the inability of three people (Talia included) to communicate between each other. This plot-line practically killed the entire book. Up until the very end I was sure I would give this novel 3 stars. I changed my mind only I finished reading and had time to think about what I read - the whole trilogy that is. I will have to repeat myself, but the character of Talia is brilliant. She is what a strong woman in fantasy should be (hint: strong in this case does not equal physical strength which can be achieved by anybody with lots of steroids and heavy-lifting). This is about the ability to overcome all the obstacles and care about the welfare of other human beings no matter how miserable you are at the moment - there was a scene in this novel which shows this clearly. My special thanks go to Armina for helping me with my read. This review is a copy/paste of my Leafmarks one: https://www.leafmarks.com/lm/#/users/...

  • Amy
    2019-03-02 13:55

    Setting/World Building: 4/5. Main Character: 4/5Other Characters: 3/5. Kind of disappointed by the lack of depth to the villains.Plot: 2/5Writing: 2/5Triggering/Issues: 2/5. Character death, but even worse, rape followed by torture (of the sexual sadist variety). Also triggering is the way the aftermath is handled (or rather, the way it isn't really handled at all).AVERAGED TOTAL: 3.1 out of 5, rounded to 3. 2.8 out of 5, rounded down to 2, after a few days had passed and I was still mad.Oh, how this book disappointed me. I think one of the worst parts about this book is that it HAD all the makings of what could have been a great book. The previous two set up Talia coming into her own, and I thought here we were going to get the sort of climax, the real big test of her powers and strengths. There were political machinations and tensions between two realms, and in my head I could see it building into this epic battle where Talia has to use her powers to help them all save the day. But instead... Instead the book hit me with three whammies in a row and then it was all downhill from there.So what happened? Well it all started with... (view spoiler)[Kris' death. That hit as hard as it should have, but I was okay with it, I was. Sometimes, the good people have to die and I think it's important to show that. But then, literally a page or two later, Talia gets captured, stripped, raped, beaten, thrown into a cell. She's then tortured by the 'baddies' of the book (who were unfortunately very one-dimensional so far), who of course are sexual sadists who get off on torturing her, which feels to her (in her own words) like being raped all over again.And it never gets better, it really is all downhill from there. As I was reading it, I thought, the only way this could be salvaged is if it was at least used. If Talia used it to harden, to become stronger, maybe to try and get her revenge and go to the brink of going overboard, like they'd hinted she had been in the past, only to stop herself and be the better person, etc etc. But none of that happened. In fact, Talia is bafflingly barely present in the second half of the book. She's rescued by Dirk, who "fetches" her using his magic. After that, literally all she does is tell people what happened and get healed. This massive battle passes with her only influence being helping link some people together so they can kill a mage. I mean sure, she's there, but she's not there in the way she should be. These are Talia's books! It should be about her coming full circle and becoming the person she was Chosen to be! In the end, the "drama" over the enemy isn't even wrapped up. I assume that's to carry over into the next trio of books but frankly, it seemed kind of half-assed, like she just cut them off so she could end with the wedding.Even worse, the rape and it's effects on her are literally never handled. She off-handledly mentions to Skif once that being touched by men affects her, and then literally two pages later it's a week or so later and poof, she's magically mind-healed and fine with getting married and having sex with her husband, tra la la. Compared to how the author at least tactfully handled Talia's issues with abusive men in the first book, I was SO disappointed by how it was handled in this one. It was so pointless, so why did she even need to get raped to begin with? It didn't affect anything, it didn't do anything, it was another case of someone pointlessly using rape as some way of getting across how "horrifyingly evil" the villain is, and then just sweeping it under the rug!(hide spoiler)]To be honest, it was so infuriating that I can't even spend much time on the other things that bugged me, like the stupid forced pseudo-love triangle that was really just the cause of all three of them thinking things and then never talking to each other. I hate when plots are like that. If your plot is only continued along by you making sure the characters just silence their thoughts and don't say anything even though they know they should, than it's dumb.After the first two novels, which I loved so much, reading this one was a major disappointment best summed up by this gif:Just imagine me happily opening this book and then realizing what's inside. That's pretty much exactly what happened... and to be honest, I'm not even sure how it got to 3 stars... probably because I do still like the world and the characters, I just really, really hate what was done to them and the plot. So, so disappointed.ETA: After 2 days, I was still SO UPSET about the book and what happened, that I gave in and knocked it down to 2 stars, which frankly, it should have been the whole time.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Jessica
    2019-02-26 09:57

    I really didn't like this book. Everyone got inexplicably mad at each other and people fell in love at first sight (fine) and then got married without hardly spending any time together (what not fine!!). And then one character was like "oh yeah they raped me but whatever they hurt my body, that one lady 'raped your soul'". Are you kidding me? She was awful and broke his heart and cruel but comparing that to gang rape and torture is a disgusting equivalency that really papers over some shoddy plotting and storytelling. We're expected to treat the parallelism of their lives as signs of compatibility and it's just garbage.

  • Allie
    2019-03-05 13:07

    And so the disappointing Arrows of the Queen trilogy ends. This book is actually the best of the three as far as being an actual fantasy novel - we have a real mage-war, lifebonding, near-death experiences, use of Gifts, and some political intrigue. Unfortunately, all this excitement literally happens in the final third of the book. The latter two-thirds are AGAIN plagued with the what-if-she-thinks, what-if-he-thinks of the second book. People, you are GROWN ADULTS, some of you with TELEPATHIC ABILITIES. Put down the bottle, stop angsting, and TALK already. Talia lifebonds with a man she hardly knows, and they both "love" each other just because - their romance is deep and cheesy with very little actual substance. The villain could be promising, and Lackey attempts to add a few plot twists using previous characters and mages, but it is all so poorly developed as to feel forced. And Orthallen. For God's sakes, NO ONE likes him, NO ONE trusts him, quit tip-toeing around him and DO SOMETHING already! And again, for all his hinted evil, he has little development and a very sudden end. The most fascinating part of Fall was the use of everyone's Gifts. We have linking, human transportation, fire-conjuring, all used in battle or for rescue. Excitement! FINALLY! Thank you, Lackey. Overall, this trilogy is very forgettable and can be read in a matter of days. For those interested in Lackey's universe, it's a good introduction. However, her Herald-Mage series - the only other Lackey books I have read thus far - is superior, but again has angst problems. I hope to find a Lackey novel without them. More action, less going in circles with pity and doubt, please.

  • Jessica
    2019-03-11 10:50

    ***some spoilers ahead!***I never thought this series took off. It all felt like a big build up to nothing. The entire series, even this finale, felt like the main character encountered a problem then solved it, then encounters a new one, and solves it. There's no cohesion, no building up. In this book, the main bad guy is defeated rather handily, without much fan fair, actually. The secondary bad guy who might have held some depth besides just being evil, turns out to just be evil after all, and instead of a satisfying confrontation and resolution, he's quickly killed. BORING. And the romance was even worse. It felt like they were together because they were SUPPOSE to be, because of their lifebond, not because they actually fell in love or even really liked each other all that much. Instead of their differences and misunderstandings leading to strength and understanding, they barely acknowledge them until they are already married. SO ANNOYING. Even her bond with her companion gets just kind of shoved to the side at the end, there when other characters need to use it, but very little resolution there. It was OK, just not something I'd go to again, and not my first recommendation.

  • Kristina
    2019-03-19 10:48

    I loved this last installment to the Heralds of Valdemar series. That’s pretty much all I have to say – it’s a tie for my favorite book out of all three (the tie being with the first).I think Mercedes Lackey read my previous reviews, because the pacing went up by a considerable amount. There were only a few places in the text where the plot lagged, and even when it did, I could see why it was written that way. Elspeth grew a lot this novel, I think, despite the meager amount that was written about her. You’d have thought she’d learned with the whole Hulda incident to not trust anyone wholeheartedly unless you were absolutely sure of them, but apparently she needed a second slap in the face before she learned her lesson. She came a long way from Arrows of the Queen, and I loved seeing the entire process from the Brat to Elspeth-in-the-third-book.About a fourth into the novel, the plot really picks up. Talia and Kris set out to Hardorn, and you get this feeling of foreboding from the very get-go. The trip there is actually interesting (I felt myself skip a bit of the in-between towns in the second book), and it didn’t take pages upon pages. Talia ends up getting captured – a seemingly hopeless situation – and we almost lose our main character. I love (albeit a very... twisted love) the way Lackey portrayed Talia’s captivity. As a writer, I would not want to write the vile things Talia endured, but Lackey did just that – not in a way that I’d want to throw the book into a wall, but rather in a way that made me sympathize with Talia and want to hold her until her hurt went away.The way she was rescued was... beyond awesome. I can’t even tell you all how much I was jumping up and down (yes, even after my 10th re-read!). The war... wasn’t that great, compared to other wars depicted through fantasy that I’ve read. It was just so-so; nothing totally epic. I have to admit that I loved how a side character that barely had any face time got the “glory” (and I loved him since book 1, anyway!).One thing about this book, though... is honestly... prepare some tissues or something. When I went through my first read of this third book, I sobbed my eyes out (I was 10, leave me alone D: ). This time around I didn’t sob, but I did get teary-eyed. No matter how many times I read this series/novel, the one thing that will never change is how I feel about... what made me cry. I felt like I lost a part of me (okay that may be over-dramatization). It was hard not to feel that way, when Lackey does such an amazing job of developing her characters that you feel like they’re your very personal friends.The wedding at the end was nice and simple (or so it seemed, compared to the lavish decorations Elspeth and the others came up with initially). I was so happy Talia and Dirk finally got together in the end, and I loved the way it led up to its inevitability: hope, confusion, misunderstandings, sickness, capture, reuniting, confessing, and absolute love. Kris’ gift at the end was what made the novel so awesome, and made me write a more hyped review. If you want someone to blame, blame him! :P I... loved that he didn’t back out on his promise. Lastly, the musical CD that accompanies this book is aptly named and coincides with the book wonderfully -- "Lovers, Lore, and Loss".

  • M
    2019-03-07 13:16

    This had pretty much everything I could possibly want. Talia truly and properly comes into her own, facing all sorts of challenges and meeting them all head on. Well, mostly head on. There was, of course, the obligatory early part of the novel where Talia has to navigate various social problems and screws everything up until a crisis point. And, of course, much of this comes from the fact that the characters far too often don't properly communicate with each other. I did like the part with Elspeth, since her dodging Talia was a nice parallel to Hulda's work to keep Elspeth away from Talia in the first book.The story gets much better once Talia and Kris set off to investigate the neighboring kingdom. They expect to meet the prince and find out whether he's a good match for Elspeth. Instead, the two Heralds walk right into the middle of a country in turmoil. The prince is evil and a sorcerer, and has dark designs on Valdemar. There are some nice callbacks to previous books and events, and things get steadily worse and worse until a new crisis emerges. The prince turns against his father openly, and kills a number of people at court - including Kris, which was an especially hard moment for me to read. Talia's capture was also quite harrowing, and I really could've done without the sexual violence. While it isn't depicted in a creepy, all too loving way like it is in some gross novels, it still isn't an element I enjoy reading about. Perhaps paradoxically, I found Talia's later recovery from her psychic scars a bit too easy and pat. I don't really enjoy reading about rape, but things seemed to be magically fixed rather than handled realistically, which kinda bugged me. On the other hand, I did like that in the end Talia takes her own life. It's a sad route for the heroine to go down, but it makes perfect sense in this situation - and it's been stated from the first that most Heralds don't live long enough to retire.Fortunately, in a rather awesome display of Heraldic Gifts, Talia is saved - first by having her body teleported, and then by reuniting her soul with it. I admit I would potentially have been okay if she had actually died, not because I don't like Talia, but because it would have been an interesting direction to take the story. Nonetheless, I enjoyed her heroic return and quite badass revenge on her tormentors and enemies. Plus, Elspeth got to show off that she's not just a princess, but a highly trained warrior with some neat tricks up her sleeve. I did enjoy the romance and wedding at the end, since it was nice for Talia and Dirk to get a happy ending. Plus, the fact that the conflict between the two kingdoms isn't fully resolved is nice. It wouldn't be possible to do so realistically in the short number of pages Lackey had left, and it leaves me with hope that Talia may appear again, in at least a supporting role. Although, really, I wish this was longer than a trilogy, because I've grown to really like her and I'd love to see her star in many more books.All in all, while I felt the previous book was a bit weak, this one more than makes up for it. I pretty much raced through the whole narrative in one day, and now I'm sad that I have to leave these characters behind - an excellent sign of a fantastic book.

  • Shera (Book Whispers)
    2019-03-09 10:06

    This is the book that truly changed everything for me in the world of Valdemar. The other two books clearly show how hard and trying the life a Herald is. They emphasize how every Herald from 11-90 is ready to die for their country. Lackey isn't afraid to kill off characters through the course of Arrows of the Queen and Arrow's Flight, but this one drives the knife home.Talia is just coming back from her circuit run and will be joining the court as the official Queen's Own with her own vote and everything. She still has to deal with the political drama that she had left behind, and the enemy in the dark who has been trying to chip away at her from the very first day she came to the Herald Collegium. Not only that but she has to deal with a proposal for the Princess (who still needs a little schooling in the sacrifices of being a Queen), her mentor Kris isn't happy with her, and her potential life-bonded partner is running away from her. The drama is higher than ever, but Lackey handles it well. Avoiding what could have been a cheesy soap opera.Before long Talia and Kris have to go as ambassadors to a neighboring kingdom about the proposed proposal of marriage to the princess. The events that unfold are clearly chilling as the truth behind everything comes stalking out of the dark. Valdemar has been betrayed by one of it's very own, and dark power of the old Mages are coming out to threaten Valdemar. The previous two books have brought me to silent tears, and many times watery eyes. However this book will bring out sobs of loss as the true meaning and price of a Herald takes center stage. Death isn't the hardest thing to deal with. Talia is tortured mercilessly for the pleasure of sadists, raped, and left to the simple solution of suicide. Even through it all her Herald duty keeps her alive. For fans of epic battles this last book in the Arrows series does a fine job of it. There's resolve and hope at the end. However, the new enemy of Valdemar is not done with them, and will clearly be popping up in Elspeth's(the Heir apparent) books. From here I would highly suggest reading Vanyel's book in the Magic's Price series. It may being going back in time, but it explains a lot of things about the loss of Herald-mages and the "protection" that Valdemar has. It will also help greatly in Elpesth's Mage Wind series. Sexual Content: Rape, dirty humor, and violent torture.5/5- Fabulous, a beautiful obsession!Originally reviewed at Book Whispers.

  • Jeremy Preacher
    2019-02-25 13:54

    This is the strongest book in the trilogy, I think - the stakes are raised significantly, and there is some resolution to the major plot threads. The writing is again better than before. It's still flawed, though. The not-talking-to-each-other problem takes up the first third of the book, and is tedious in the extreme. The rape and torture in the middle third feels a bit... not gratuitous, exactly, but cheap, like Lackey couldn't think of a non-obvious way to heighten the tension. And the pacing is super weird - the major resolution comes two thirds of the way through the book, and there's quite a bit of Return to the Shire-style resolution that makes the book trail off rather than come to a measured halt.I hate to sound like I really dislike these books, because I respect them in a lot of ways and they were the springboard for much better and more interesting work later on, but I would still not suggest them to adult readers without a lot of caveats.

  • Gail
    2019-03-02 10:07

    The last part of Talia’s story. She finally gets back to Haven to serve as Queen’s Own Herald, and try to work her love life out. She’s lifebonded to the homeliest of the Heralds, but he resists because he can’t believe she loves him, especially since she just spent a year with the handsomest Herald. There’s trouble over the border with Hardorn—the prince has sent a marriage proposal for Elspeth, heir to the throne—but the queen is wary because of her own history. She married a younger son of another kingdom who was using her to gain the throne of Valdemar. So the queen sends Talia and that handsome Herald to check out Hardorn. They arrive just as the prince makes his move, assassinating his father, killing Kris, and taking Talia captive. She endures torture and rape, but manages to warn the queen. Her lover teleports her out of her prison long-distance, and they catch the traitor in the Valdemar court and stop the prince at the

  • Sophie
    2019-02-21 16:00

    Being home sick gives you lots of time to read books about magical horses. This one isn't as strong as the previous, but in my stuffed-up state it was entertaining enough.(view spoiler)[A lot of the rape stuff rubbed me the wrong way. I wished a little more time had been dedicated to Talia's recovery at the end, when she discovered that she couldn't be touched without picturing her rapists, but instead it was just like "just go away for a few weeks, and when you come back she'll be fine!" And she was. Must be nice to have a dedicated team of magical healers helping you.Worse, Talia told Dirk that Lady Whatsherface had "mind-raped" him by rejecting him so harshly (this, mind you, in a series that contains actual literal violations of people's rights to their private thoughts and feelings, a lot of that DONE by Talia), and that this was WORSE than the physical rape she endured. Yeah, nope. (hide spoiler)]

  • AndrewP
    2019-03-03 11:48

    The final book in the first trilogy of Valdemar books. As I was expecting, this book was quite a bit better than the middle book. Having said that, it wasn't exceptionally good. Overall I found the whole plot a little bit to simplistic and obvious from the start. There were a couple of minor twists but most of it played out as I expected. The identity of the bad guy had been hinted at since book 1, and there was really only one possible suspect. Another thing that bothered me was that these books didn't seem to know what category they were in. Some parts were obviously aimed at teenage girls and had annoying 'sparkly my little pony' sections. Then, once or twice, there were adult themes. It felt like a big disconnect to me. Because of this, I think I would have a hard time recommending them to anyone. There are many more Valdemar novels but I don't think they will ever be on my reading list.

  • T00zday
    2019-03-18 12:16

    ** 8th re-read in Jan 2017This series is mature young adult. Love it! Long series done in trilogies. Each trilogy follows the same protagonist for the tree books. The next three will follow someone new but familiar. There's a huge amount of peripheral characters and a couple one-off books to give you backstory on specific individuals.This first trilogy (Arrows) follows Talia, a young and shy girl from a rough area that isn't known for treating women well. Italia gets "chosen" by one of the magical horse/companions of Valdemar to become a Herald.Next trilogy follows Princess Elsbeth who is a recurring character in this first three books.Magical fantasy world. Battles, war & redemption are common themes.I enjoy this series every time I read it.Absolutely recommended!

  • terpkristin
    2019-03-16 14:59

    A nice conclusion to the Arrows series. Like Arrow's Flight, it might be more of a 3.5 star book, but I rounded up. I really liked the entire series, even if it was YA and clearly a "first" series. This is the kind of book that brought me into the genre to begin with. I wish I had read it when I was younger, especially for how it handles "adult" topics of death, homosexuality, etc. If this ever came out in audio, I'd read it in a heartbeat.

  • Saphirablue
    2019-03-05 11:01

    *sobs* This book broke my heart twice. *sobs*First of all, I loved getting back into this world and meeting Talia, Rolan, Kris, Tantris, Dirk and all the others again. I loved seeing Talia being Queen's Own with all the rights, hardship and other stuff that belongs to it.The Dirk/Kris/Talia thing, though? Got a bit on my nerves because if any of them simply talked with each other... *hrmpf* Also, (and that might be my sadness/bitterness speaking because see below) it's a bit convenient how that got resolved... -.-I like that we finally meet another country in this world even though, yeah. :/And then, then Kris and Tantris got killed and, I, just, *sobs*. They've been my favourite supporting characters so far (Why do they always get killed off? Why?!?) and then they die and it's not fair and just *sobs*. Even though, there is a scene that gives me a bit of hope (when Talia is feverish and hallucinates Kris). *clings*And then, what happened with Talia? *sobs* Even though, a lot of kudos to the author that it just doesn't get brushed away as soon as she's rescued and that it is stated that you need time to heal the wounds on the outside, so you also need time to heal the wounds on the inside and that Skiff realizes what happened and runs interference with Dirk and therefore gives Talia time to heal. And Dirk also is understanding and makes sure Talia is okay on their wedding night.So, yeah, overall I really liked it but it also left me with some sadness.

  • Michaela
    2019-02-19 12:59

    3.5 starsI didn’t like this one as much as the others. It felt very slow. I’m also so confused because I’m p sure this is a trilogy but it ended with them still in war? What’s going to happen with Ancar?

  • Raquel
    2019-02-28 13:05

    Estaría bien un Viaje de la Heroína que no incluyese una paradita en el País de las Violaciones. Se me han quitado las ganas de seguir con la serie.

  • Kirsti
    2019-03-08 09:51

    Oh Talia, how I have come to care for you, Elspeth, Dirk, Skif, Kris and even the Companions by the end of this book! I remember when I first read Owlflight, I adored Darian and his angst filled story. I didn't think another character could compare, but Talia came close! I was damn near in tears at one point in the novel, something only rare Fantasy can do for me. It was just so damn sad!-Sigh- so ends my read of the beginning of Valdemar, but not the end for me. It has reawakened my love for this series, and now I need more! There aren't enough Valdemar books to quench this thirst, but I will try. Moving on to the next series, but not without regret. Five stars!

  • Tamara✨
    2019-02-20 14:02

    FIRST OFF: This book should hold a trigger warning of many forms of abuse, although not in graphic detail, I assume it would be enough to send someone into a tailspin if these sorts of traumas are still fresh in their minds. I don't want to spoil the book since it is quite a Twist I guess, but it is also quite horrific. So please be warned that if mentions of sadistic torture, suicide, sexual abuse and death upsets you, maybe don't read this book just yet. Or read it and be warned since like I said it's not in graphic detail. This was my face for most of the book:That's really the only way to put it. But because it was so grim it did leave me wanting to keep reading to find out what would happen next and also because I enjoy reading the comfort side of things after a character is hurt...It had a very saccharine ending which I guess is expected??? I don't know. I wasn't entirely surprised nor was I expecting such sugary sweetness. I have grown quite attatched to the character of Talia, which probably isn't helped by the fact that my own sister shares her name, so part of me was glad that the ending was as predictable as it was. I JUST WANTED TALIA TO BE OK DAMNIT. OVERALL I really did enjoy this trilogy and I think it was a great introduction to the world of Valdemar. I 100% want to read some of the spin off books now. But I think I am content enough with this book to leave the story of Talia alone. Unless there are novels of her when she is much much older. Otherwise I'd rather like to read about people from the past of Valdemar to people Talia trained with or even the future of the kingdom!! https://hercommonplaceblog.wordpress....

  • Gracy
    2019-02-23 15:06

    Yeeeeeep couldn't help myself. Finished it a day after I started it, thanks to reading while I'm supposed to be sleeping, supposed to be working, etc. I adore Mercedes Lackey, it's no secret. I have not read either of the preceding books in this particular Trilogy, and yet I felt like I knew Talia and her cohort very well just a short way into the book. As she often does, the characters develop while simultaneously revealing backstory, and the plot progresses all the while. This book was, also as usual, a masterpiece. I loved the characters, I found the villains perfectly distasteful and hate-able while being (I don't want to say realistic because in a fantasy novel...well...) believable. The heroes, the whole crowd of 'em, swell your heart. Sigh. Another "ooh! Lackey book! mine!" at the thrift store leads to a feverish 48 hours of reading and laughing & crying. ETA: I'm seeing a lot of negative reviews based on the rape/torture/abuse scenes and their handling. I thought they were very tastefully written so as to convey the horror of Talia's trials and the disgusting horribleness of the villains, and I thought the way things were handled afterwards re: recovery from abuse were not inauthentic although perhaps a bit simplified. In short, yes these horrible things have an affect on Talia like sexual and physical abuse do IRL and this is mitigated and healed in much the same way it would be on a non-Herald IRL.

  • A B
    2019-03-04 16:15

    Dang, this one was downright boring. I really like Mercedes Lackey's other books and just can't figure out what went wrong for me with this one. The writing seems dumbed down in this series, but it was bearable in the first two volumes.I appreciate that some of the seemingly stand-alone events in book 2 of this trilogy come full circle and the book got good for a few pages towards the last third, but it was very hard to slog through. Characters continue to be one-dimensional and the dialogue got old very quickly. Basically, every conversation is a discussion about a simple problem, such as "It's cold". Talia then says something like "Let's light a fire" and everyone then starts saying stuff like "Wow, what a genius idea. We all would have died of the cold had it not been for Talia. Whoever would have thought to use fire for warmth?"Maybe the problem is that aside from the Collegium and a way-station, we haven't seen much of Valdemar. So why on earth the action in this novel takes place outside of Valdemar, in a land not even on the map, is beyond me. I'll probably give the next trilogy a try anyway.

  • Liza
    2019-02-28 10:05

    Growing up my mom was always reading several books at once, usually biographies / autobiographies or other things that I deemed "serious" reading along with those cheap grocery-store checkout-aisle romance novels with the red covers. She called those her "candy novels"- little substance, quick and enjoyable reads, but they don't quite fill you up intellectually.No offense intended, but Mercedes Lackey provides my "candy novels". The writing, plot line, character development and other literary elements are far superior in my opinion to any romance novel I've ever remotely considered reading... but they do not compare with the literary canon. That is simply because of their genre and intended / target audience.In any case, the fact that these books stand up to my enjoyment after numerous re-readings over the course of more than 10 years. Well, that speaks for itself.These books are enjoyable. Quick, entertaining, exciting reads for adults or adolescents.

  • Crystal
    2019-03-16 10:54

    This was by far my favorite book in the trilogy. The fact that just when I thought I had things figured out the author threw me an unexpected ccurve ball that had me on the edge of my seat waiting to se how the characters interacted to both the events and reacted to one another.This book ripped my heart out and slowly mended it back together with it's romance, tragedy, and even sometimes humor. Just as talia seemed to be getting comfortable in her skin and position the unexpected happened and I couldn't help but wonder how she was going to deal with her given situation. It was jsut as the first a page turner that left me laughing, crying and feeling an overwhelming sense of urgancy to see just how this book was going to end. I highly recommend this trilogy to anyone who like myself is taking their first look at fantacy reads.

  • Rebecca
    2019-02-21 12:12

    This, along with Arrows of the Queen, is one of those books that I go back to whenever I have a gap in my reading and an afternoon or so to fill, not wanting to dig into anything more substantial. It's a satisfying end to the trilogy, while still leaving the way for the series that she wrote about Valdemar after that. Elspeth's story in the Winds and Storm series in particular are teed up nicely. Make no mistake about it being a brutal book, though, with a whole section of rape and torture, although it's mostly left to the imagination (always the most effective way). I believe I've said before, in other reviews of Lackey's work, that she's really not much of a writer, but she's a hell of a storyteller. I think this is one of the best examples of that.

  • Melissa
    2019-03-15 10:16

    I was split on this book. The first third (or maybe half) frustrated me a lot. I hate it when characters hide their thoughts and feelings from their closest friends rather than coming out and just discussing things. It always makes things worse (didn't Talia and Kris learn anything from the previous book??). And it's really frustrating to sit through pages and pages of it -- you can see the conflict building up and it's a cheap way to create conflict. On the other hand, the second half of the book totally made up for it. You know things are not going to go well, but just how quickly and suddenly everything comes to a head is crazy. It totally caught me off guard. Inevitably, I cried. My glimmer of hope was that the friend who suggested the series to me doesn't like anything that doesn't have a happy ending of some sort. Otherwise, it would have been despair.

  • Lisa (Harmonybites)
    2019-03-14 14:12

    This is the conclusion to Arrows of the Queen and Arrows Flight, which should be read first. I think this is a satisfying resolution to all the threads established in the first books. I like how Talia grew through all three novels and Lackey certainly made me feel for her characters. Well, the ones on the "good" side. This author's and series greatest flaw is arguably that she creates a very black and white world, with villains in the twirl-the-mustache mold, and this is no exception. Combined with the appealing characters, I loved the magical world Lackey created--a group of heroes of various backgrounds drawn together because they are the chosen of their companions--magical horses who are their full partners. What teenage girl wouldn't be enthralled by such a world? But I still enjoyed rereading this even as an adult: a good escapist read.

  • Millerbug
    2019-03-15 10:17

    This book was much better than the first two. A lot more satisfying. More action, better character building. I did get tired of the whole "I wonder what so and so is thinking, feeling... and I'm sure it's this, but I'm not going to ask or bring it up" avoid the issue thing. It just makes me want to scream "OUT WITH IT FOR PETE'S SAKE!!!" All and all, just this one book makes me want to read more from Lackey now. I think this series was some of her begining books, and I've a couple of her books that I've loved. OF course they were co- authored with Andre Norton and Kate Elliott as well. I've also read some other reviews saying that Talia (the main character) is one of their favorites. Not mine, I couldn't stand her most of the time.

  • KC
    2019-03-16 13:16

    while execrable dialogue ("catling?" "dearling?" "heartling?") and a saccharine sentimentality as subtle as the color in a Lisa Frank illustration may be par for the course in a Valdemar novel, the ponderous pacing of this offering was unendurable. what really undid it for me was the stupidity of the main characters: in one scene, they recognize that the villain's objective is to weaken the protagonist's relationships with her friends. half a chapter later, and THEY'RE ALL FIGHTING BECAUSE OF THE VILLAIN'S MACHINATIONS. you figured out his game, and lost it anyway? really? (still gonna read most of the rest of them, though.)

  • emily
    2019-03-11 13:15

    this whole trilogy underwhelmed me. the writing wasn't fantastic, it was a little simplistic both in plot and in character development. there was a lot of telling, not a lot of showing; there was barely a time when i felt any emotional connection to any of the characters. that said, the plot wasn't awful, the world creation was decent, and i think if the different plot threads had all been woven together instead of brought up and dealt with episodically the entire trilogy would have been much more cohesive and interesting. each book took me about a day to get through, so if you're looking for some really fluffy fantasy for a summer read, pick these up.

  • Kathleen
    2019-03-20 09:55

    This book concludes the trilogy centered on Talia very nicely with an epic battle and a wedding. The evil prince of the foreign kingdom manages to be frightening by employing magicians although the torture with his childhood nanny borders on comically evil. The characterization of Talia's love interest Dirk falters a little in this book as well, when their romance is left mostly to the magical life bond between the pair. I really preferred their love stemming from their shared snarkitude in Arrow's Flight. Still, it was an enjoyable tale overall.