author: Mercedes Lackey
series: Alberich's Tale #2
published: 5 October 2004
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Once a heroic Captain in the army of Karse, a kingdom at war with Valdemar, Alberich becomes one of Valdemar's Heralds. Despite prejudice against him, he becomes the personal protector of young Queen Selenay. But can he protect her from the dangers of her own heart?
Once again, I love Alberich and his perspective on Valdemar! This story of this book is also told from the alternating perspective of Selenay, the new young queen of Valdemar.
Which does lead to one small rant. Selenay’s story in the book is the foundation for much of the conflict and intrigue, centered on her relationship and marriage. She knows that she will likely have to make a marriage of importance to the country rather than for love. Leading up to this is her lamenting her lack of choice in romantic partners. This is where it got a little unbelievable for me. She was raised from birth to rule the country in her father’s stead. It has been established that future monarchs are very drilled in politics from day one. So how is she unaware that a neighboring nation has marriagle princes of proper ages? There are treaties and agreements, ambassadors. Her lamentations as she wonders about eligible princes seems to fly in the face of reality.
But a thing to celebrate… Herald Myste! I love her. She’s a wonderful character for so many reasons. She’s flawed, but relatable. She softens Alberich, who is usually so very stern. And she’s not a spring chicken, which is one of my favorite things about her. She’s middle-aged, which is not an age demographic found all too often in fantasy novels, especially in roles in which they get to do great things. So, yes, I adore her!