Reviewed by Holly White
Arrow’s Flight is the sequel to Arrows of the Queen. (Click on the title to read that review; for an overview of the world in which these novels are set click here.)
Talia, the Queen’s Own Herald, has finally completed most of her Herald training, and had earned her Heraldic Whites, the white uniform worn by Heralds. The time had come for her internship, eighteen months riding circuit with a full Herald, for on-the-job training before she can take up her full position and title of Queen’s Own Herald. However, new accomplishments have brought new challenges for Talia.
Elspeth, the daughter of Queen Selenay, was once a spoiled, selfish brat. Talia had tamed the brat, but Elspeth still had not yet been Chosen by a Companion. Since only one who is Chosen can be an heir, Council is pressuring Selenay to select another heir. However, all the Heralds who are viable choices have relatives who might seek to become the power behind the throne. The most outspoken is Lord Orthallen, who, as a member of the Council himself, had also been the one in years past to encourage young Selenay in directions which turned out to be mistakes. Orthallen sought to place his nephew Kris, a handsome young Herald, on the throne someday. It’s a dangerous time for Talia to leave Elspeth and Selenay, but there’s no other option.
Further complicating Talia’s life are her growing feelings for Dirk, to whom she is strongly attracted in spite of his homeliness. Although Dirk shared her feelings, he said nothing, especially since she has been assigned to ride circuit with his best friend, the good-looking Kris. Dirk has been brutally hurt by women in the past. Now he feared that Talia would do the same, especially since she will be going away with the handsome Kris on her circuit. And so she and Dirk are at an impasse.
To make things even worse, there are problems with Talia’s Gift. Talia is an empath; she has the Gift of sensing and being able to control others’ feelings. She can bring emotional healing to someone who is suffering. However, Talia’s Gift seems to be going rogue. She’s unable to shield herself from others’ emotions and she’s inadvertently projecting her own emotions onto others. Unless she can get her Gift under control, she could accidentally harm herself or others. It would also do significant harm to the reputation of all Heralds. Talia’s problems with her Gift are only magnified when Kris starts asking her questions that make her doubt herself, questions that his Uncle Orthallen have put into his head.
Things come to a head when she and Kris are snowed in all alone at a Herald’s Waystation out in the middle of nowhere, during a severe blizzard without even so much as a shovel to try to dig themselves out. And their Waystation was right at the edge of The Forest of Sorrows, a forest cursed in times past, a forest that seems alive and aware … and is watching them.
As always, Mercedes Lackey has given us a well-plotted, well-characterized trip into a magical place full of adventure, humor, romance, and danger. If this review piques your interest at all, I think you’d thoroughly enjoy reading this book. Mercedes Lackey doesn’t just create memorable challenges for her characters; she creates satisfying solutions, and in such a way that you can’t put the book down.
Be on the lookout next month for the review for the third in the Arrows of the Queen trilogy, called Arrow’s Fall.