Cover art: Jody Lee
HERALDS OF VALDEMAR BOOK 2
Publisher: Daw Books
Published: 1 September 1987
On the cover:
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, dispensing 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!
This novel continues the story of Talia that begun in The Arrows of the Queen. There is a time gap between the two novels, but in a way there doesn't seem to be. Talia's abilities doesn't seem to have developed much from book one, and it felt a bit like she has aged just so that a sexual relationship can be introduced. Not that the book is full of sex scenes, it isn't. And the ones that are here feels like a natural part of the life of an 18 year old in this world.
Putting aside the above, and it wasn't really a huge problem just a minor annoyance, the story progresses nicely. Having Talia leave the Collegium and go out into Valdemar gives Lackey the opportunity to show us more of the world. And it is an interesting world, it is in many ways different than what is usual in Epic Fantasy. It isn't as "Grand" as most Fantasy worlds, and that made it seem much more realistic to me. And it was very interesting to see how the Heralds interact outside of their base.
We also see more to the Heralds here, it is really good to see the community they have and how Talia fits into this. The Heralds are really a very interesting group of characters, and it is no wonder that many people love them. Lackey is really good at showing the characteristics of the cast, and you can't really remain unaffected by the characters...Even when they annoy you, there's still a compulsion to follow them.
This is really a very good read. I like how Lackey writes a serious book without making it "dark". There was also very little of the "middle book syndrome" present here. It's a great follow up to the first book and I didn't wait to pick up the last book in the trilogy when finishing.
As I wrote in my review of The Arrows of the Queen, this is a good "antidote" to the darker direction Epic Fantasy has taken lately. And for readers who are new to Fantasy it is a good look back at what the genre was back in the 80s.
Review: Arrows of the Queen
Links: Mercedes Lackey Daw Books