Sunday, September 24, 2017

Arrows Flight - Mercedes Lackey

Arrow's Flight - Mercedes LackeyArrow's Flight
Mercedes Lackey
DAW Books
Copyright: 1987

The product description:
Follows the adventures of Talia as she travels the land as a Herald of Valdemar in the second book in the classic epic fantasy Arrows trilogy

Talia could scarcely believe that she had finally earned the rank of full Herald. Yet though this seemed like the fulfillment of all her dreams, it also meant she would face trials far greater than those she had previously survived. For now Talia must ride forth to patrol the kingdom of Valdemar, dispending Herald's justice throughout the land.

But in this realm beset by dangerous unrest, enforcing her rulings would require all the courage and skill Talia could command—for if she misused her own special powers, both she and Valdemar would pay the price!
Arrow's Flight is the sequel to Arrows of the Queen, Mercedes Lackey's introductory book in the world of Valdemar. It's also a book I've read and re-read many times. The most recent re-read can be found here. I should also note that I chose to re-read this one now for the Valdemar Reading Challenge that I run every year.

Either way, the last few times I've picked up Arrow's Flight, I've found more and more that there are parts of the book that irritate me a bit - mostly the fact that much of it seems to be misunderstanding central - and yet, each of those misunderstandings seems to build logically off the of the last. Of course, there are also plenty of amusing moments and we see Heralds on circuit in detail.

There were a few details that had me going "how is this supposed to work?" on this read through, one of which was the "fumigation bombs" that Kris and Talia use in the waystations. I couldn't help but think of the possibility of one setting the place on fire inadvertently if it landed in the wrong place/something had been knocked over and the like. Other than that, as someone else pointed out, much of the book is two people talking about a third person not currently with them - mostly foreshadowing for the third book.

Other than that, it was neat to see the Queen relaxing, and to get a first glimpse of Eldan, who we see primarily in parts of By The Sword, and also IIRC in Owlsight. I have to say, this is also the book that makes me want to hear some of the music described - namely Sun and Shadow. Think I'm going to have to head for YouTube to see if I can find some recordings of this or some of the other music that goes with the world of Valdemar. It's a bit hard to believe, but I've been reading these books for more than twenty years now, known about the music for a while, but never taken the time to go hunting for any of it before.

Arrow's Flight is definitely a "middle book" if you know what I mean, and sets up some of the situations for the third book, Arrow's Fall. Still, it's a read that I enjoyed, and I'm quite disappointed that part of the cover of my copy fell apart on this read. And I've since discovered that part of the cover on my copy of Arrow's Fall is missing too - I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to the condition of my books.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Arrows of the Queen - Mercedes Lackey

Arrows of the Queen - Mercedes LackeyArrows of the Queen
Mercedes Lackey
DAW Books
Copyright Date: 1987

The product description:
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. 
The very first Mercedes Lackey I ever read if my memory's not playing tricks on me (I know the date is more or less correct as I remember the waits for the third of the Gryphon set and also for the later Mage Storms books to be published), back in the mid '90's. I've been hooked ever since! I remember initially borrowing this trilogy (Arrows of the Queen, Arrow's Flight and Arrow's Fall) from my local library and renewing it twice (I wanted to re-read the books right away). At any rate, I chose to re-read this one now for the Valdemar Reading Challenge I've been running again this year.

Arrows of the Queen was the first book Mercedes Lackey wrote in this world and it is still one of the best entry-points I think. We, along with Talia, get introduced to the basic concepts of how this world and the country of Valdemar work, along with a brief history of it. In some ways it's a bit idealistic, but not by too much - I could wish more of the countries in the "Real World" worked as well as Valdemar seems to.

When I was borrowing Arrows of the Queen and the other Valdemar novels from the library, this trilogy was shelved with the YA books. I still think that it's equally as good a read for the teen audience as the adult fantasy readers. For the most part there's nothing too, too graphic in them, and many of the issues that Talia and the other characters face may resonate with younger readers - though I wouldn't suggest much younger than teens.

Like most of the other Valdemar-based novels, this is one that I can nearly always come back to and enjoy no matter how I'm feeling.

All of what I said here has been said previously in my earlier review of this book, found here. Honestly, I expect I'll be saying it again in some future year too. I've lost count of how many times I've re-read this one.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The latest book to join my collection - The Oxford Inklings

The newest book arrival to join my Tolkien collection turned up yesterday.
The Oxford Inklings - Colin Duriez
The Oxford Inklings
Colin Duriez
Lion Hudson
Copyright date: 2015

The product description:
A unique account of one of history's most intriguing literary groups, which will find itself on the reading list of every serious Tolkien, Lewis, or Inkling fan
The Inklings were an influential group, along the lines of the Lake Poets or the Bloomsbury Group. Acclaimed author Colin Duriez explores their lives, their writings, their ideas, and, crucially, the influence they had on each other. Examining the clear purpose behind the group while celebrating its diversity and lack of formality, Duriez explains how this eclectic group of friends, without formal membership, agenda, and minutes, could have a program that shaped the publication and ideas of the leading participants. The Inklings met weekly for many years in Oxford, to discuss and read their writings—conversation was as important to them as writing—and so the city of Oxford, and its pubs where conversations were borne out, feature, as does the Christian faith of the defining members, which influenced them greatly. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were at the group's center, but who else was involved, and why do Owen Barfield and Charles Williams matter so much? The Oxford Inklings explores the complex and fascinating interactions of the group, including the women on the fringes, such as Dorothy L. Sayers and Lewis's wife, Joy Davidman.
I have to admit, I'm curious about this book. Mostly though, I want to see how it compares with Humphrey Carpenter's The Inklings. I've long considered his Tolkien biography to be the gold standard as it were - though I do own other biographies, I just haven't gotten around to reading them yet.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...