Arrow’s Flight… by Mercedes Lackey

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Arrow’s Flight

(The Heralds of Valdemar, Book 2)
by Mercedes Lackey

Published By: DAW Books, Inc.: A Member of Penguin Group (USA)
ISBN-10: 0886773776


Disappointing

Reviewed by Christina Wantz Fixemer
on 10/01/2008

Talia has earned her Herald whites (see ARROWS OF THE QUEEN) and is ready to embark upon her eighteen-month internship with Kris, her mentor. Together, they are to ride through their assigned sector to settle disputes and perform other duties as Heralds.

The circuit is in trouble from the start, however, as Talia learns of rumors that she has abused her powerful empathic Gift. With her fragile confidence shattered, her Gift gets out of hand. She must regain control, or she’ll be a danger to everyone around her.

Talia must successfully complete her internship. The Queen and many, many others are depending on it. Can Talia finish the year and half without driving herself, and her mentor, insane?

I was disappointed with this novel. The first one was enjoyable, so I was eager to dive in to this, the second installment of The Heralds of Valdemar. Unfortunately, the main conflict in this novel was over the lack of control over Talia’s Gift. She didn’t talk about it with her mentor until it was almost too late. The slow degradation of her abilities over many, many months was painful and repetitive to read. For being a smart character, she didn’t act with much intelligence in that regard. One might argue that this lack of communication was due to her long-standing poor self-esteem, but that excuse only goes so far.

One of my pet peeves is when the author expects the reader to swallow a series of misunderstandings that should never have gone beyond the first few scenes. It feels like a deliberate machination on the author’s part. If the author feels the need to use this to make the story fit their idea of the plot, then there’s a fundamental flaw in the plan. The author should figure out how to work with the conflict without using tenth-grade tricks.

Another thing that annoyed me about this novel is that there were events that seemed important to the story and weren’t included. By this, I’m referring to a visit Talia took to her family of birth and was basically turned away. This event was mentioned in passing, but I never saw it happen. The rejection by Talia’s family is a critical key to the formation of her as a character, and it needed to be in the book. Whether Lackey didn’t feel the need to write this event or whether the editors chopped it to save on page count, I feel it was a mistake.

After all that, it probably sounds like I hated this novel. In fact, I liked it well enough to finish it in less than a day. These two major issues, however, made it difficult for me to enjoy this book to its potential.

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Vamps… by Nancy A. Collins

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Vamps

by Nancy A. Collins

Published By: HarperTeen: An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
ISBN-13: 978-0061349171


Lukewarm Teen Vampire Drama

Reviewed by Christina Wantz Fixemer
on 10/01/2008

Lilith is the New York vampire underworld’s queen bee. Young, filthy rich, and still flame resistant, she lives for high-end labels and adoring lackeys. Other Old Blood vampire girls are expected to bow to Lilith’s whims at Bathory Academy, the prestigious school where hunting prey and shapeshifting are core classes.

So when a night spent “slumming” in Central Park results in the death of Lilith’s right-hand vamp—no thanks to a trashy New Blood—things start to change. That nasty New Blood suddenly shows up as Bathory’s newest student. Lilith sees her as a threat, not just on the social scene, but also with her boyfriend, Jules.

Cally couldn’t detest the idea of Bathory Academy more if you paid her. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a choice. What’s worse is that Old Blood brat, Lilith, blames Cally for something that wasn’t even her fault. Why can’t Lilith just leave her alone? Then there’s that vampire hunter guy who can’t seem to leave Cally alone, either…

Nancy Collins’s new novel, VAMPS, is an interesting take on the vampire subgenre. Take one part “Beverly Hills 90210,” one part “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and throw in a dash of “Sex in the City,” and you have a New York vampire buffet with plenty of teen angst.

The writing is solid, but the characters are mostly shallow. Cally shows the most depth with her secret history and personal code. Lilith is clearly the “bad girl” here, but she is so utterly shallow that I couldn’t respect her even as a villain. This is epitomized in the scene where she’s more concerned about her father cancelling her credit cards than about the death of her supposed friend. Many of the things she does or tries to do to Cally are cliché, especially when it comes to her obsessive attitude toward her boyfriend, to whom she’s been “promised.”

There are twists and turns enough to keep a reader’s interest. If you can get past the unbelievably shallow Lilith and a handful of clichés, you’re likely to enjoy this novel. Otherwise, I’d look to other paranormal choices.

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