Saturday, August 29, 2009

Valdemar 16: Arrow's Fall (Lackey, M)

Rating: 4
Year: 1988
Genre: Fantasy
Read again? Yes

Final Talia book, and 10 left.

Talia is nearly 20; we join her and Kris shortly before they make it to Haven, her 18-month Internship completed.

She's quickly embroiled in the latest issue before Queen Selenay and the Council: King Alessandar of Hardorn has petitioned for Princess Elspeth's hand in marriage to his son, Ancar.

She also has to deal with Herald Dirk. He's the guy she has her eye on, and it's clear that he wants her, but he thinks she wants to be with Kris. There's a big argument--and the three close friends won't have anything to do with each other.

Then Talia gets into another argument with Elspeth after catching her with a dirtbag.

Queen Selenay sees a chance to work a reconciliation: she sends Talia and Kris to Hardorn as envoys to find out what Ancar is like.

Things steadily get worse from there.

In all, the least satisfying of the three. The sitcom-esque misunderstanding between Talia, Kris and Dirk is just ham-handed. The dialogue from the bad guys is horrendous and oh so prissy.

This is the story in which all those conveniences come home to roost (spoilers!):
--Talia's got a tight bond with her Companion that can't be blocked, even by powerful shields.
--Dirk remembers that he can "Fetch" a living person (Fetching is telekenesis, moving things with your mind) just in time for the third act.
--Dirk and Talia are "Lifebonded," which gives him the link to bring her back.

There are some others, but it's not like these are deal-breakers. They're only as clumsy-seeming to me as they are because I've been reading this trilogy since 1995. My reading tastes and attitudes have changed--probably because of George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" books, which make Lackey's Heralds look like happiness-and-sunshine flower children and her bad guys look like bumbling pikers.

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