In "Arrows of the Queen" we meet Talia, a young girl who's never really fit in with the rest of her family. Her brother had taught her to read (a shocking occupation for a woman) and she dreamed of becoming a Herald, even though she knew that would never happen. Then, one day, her father's wives gathered together and informed Talia that it was time for her to marry, and to their great shock, Talia refused! She ran from the room crying, knowing she'd eventually have to give in, but aching in her heart for something more.
That's when she meets Rolan. Rolan is a Companion. Companions look very similar to horses, but they are so much more! Companions are magical beings that form a tight bond with their Heralds. The Heralds do not simply choose their occupation, a companion must choose and accept them in order for them to become a Herald.
Talia, growing up in the Holdings, was never really taught anything about how Heralds were chosen. The only thing she knows about these wonderful people is what little she's been able to glean from the few books she's had access too. So when Rolan chooses her, she doesn't really know what's going on! She thinks she's found a Companion that's on his own, and needs to be returned to the Collegium. She soon realizes that there is more going on than she realizes though, and that perhaps she isn't returning the Companion, but he instead is bringing her.
All the Collegium Talia's greatest dreams are realized, and she faces much greater hardships than she had imagined as well. Rolan, the Companion that choose her, is the Companion for the Queen's Own. This means that not only is Talia the Herald she always longed to be, but she is the Herald who's charged with supporting and assisting the Queen!
I really enjoyed this book. I had avoided reading Mercedes Lackey's books because I saw so many of them on the shelves in paperbacks that I kind of assumed that she was one of those "trashy fantasy writers" who's work would be subpar because she simply cranks it out. When one of my friends told me that she loved Lackey's work, I decided to give her a try, and I was pleasantly surprised! The story drew me in and captivated me, and I look forward to seeing more of this world, and the stories contained with in it.