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Mercedes Lackey, Arrows of the Queen
Arrow's Flight
Arrow's Fall

Shut up. Shut UP.

When I get moody, I sometimes regress in my reading habits. Usually this means picking up some YA lit, often with a female protagonist (because the males don't tend to have the emotional development or trauma I'm looking for; Ender's Game is a notable exception). Hence, the ultimate in escapist teenage girl lit.

Arrows of the Queen starts off with thirteen-year-old Talia being horribly abused by her family for the crime of not wanting to become a baby-factory. She's discovered by a magical white horse who Takes Her Away From It All, and over the next two hundred pages and several years she learns to trust herself and others, finds several close friends, and foils at least one plot against the kingdom.

There is even less plot to the second book, which mostly deals with now-Herald Talia and the Obligatory Hot Guy wandering around the north of the kingdom, righting wrongs and getting snowed in. The third book attempts to have Serious Plot but it just doesn't work all that well: Lackey is (or at least was) out of her depth with diplomatic intrigues and betrayals. By the end of the trilogy Talia has Endured Great Trials, Abandoned All Hope, and then Found her True Love.

It is cloying and sentimental and damn if it doesn't actually work. I give Misty Lackey a lot of crap for not being able to write, and that's not fair at all. She has an excellent grasp of human (or at least teenage) motivation and character, and her dialog isn't half bad. Shame about her plots, but whatcha gonna do. I empathized, as I was intended to do, with Talia. I winced a lot at the Generic Fantasy elements (for this I blame the Tough Guide to Fantasyland). I laughed. I cried. I kissed two weeks' reading time goodbye.

I wish I could remember which BBSer it was, back in the early nineties, who came up with the best description of Lackey's work I've ever heard: Mercedes Lackey writes about the things that fascinate teenage girls: horses, magic, gay men, and true love. So true.

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"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

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