[WIR, What Hath Gone Before] Arrow’s Flight.
RPG.net link here.
In Which Talia Begins Her Career As Special Herald; In Which We Are Reminded That Heralds Are Special and Elspeth is Special and Talia is Extra-Special; In Which Rolan The Bad Decision Horse MIB-Flashy-Thingys An Entire Nation And Goes From Comically Inept to Genuinely Threatening Horse-Sideral-Thing; In Which Talia Meets Starter Boyfriend and LTR Boyfriend; In Which Talia Goes On Patrol; In Which We Learn That Heralds Occasionally Just Forget to Teach People Magic; In Which Talia Messes Up Several Things While Getting Remedial Lessons From Starter Boyfriend; In Which A Third of The Book is Spent With Talia And Starter Boyfriend Trapped In A Damn Hut By Inclement Weather; In Which Future Precognition On The Side of Good Is Confirmed; In Which Talia Finally Comes To Terms With Her Specialness And Uses It To Punish the Wicked With Super Telepathic Powers.
Summary aside, I liked this book. Well, I like it in retrospect. The many good moments stand out, and I can just gloss over that interminable bit in the woods with Kris. We got more Elspeth, which was a good thing, and the book had only just started getting a handle on the idea that we might not just automatically 100% be rooting for Talia. So we got some very morally-questionable actions taken by her skated over entirely (which fits the reading of the Heralds as devoted to Goodness but very capable of falling into the trap of mistaking the Good of the Heralds as Good for everyone.), which is realistic, and works a hell of a lot better than sitting around explaining how bad everyone else is and why Talia was right.
The relationship stuff is crudely done, but brilliantly revealed in subtext; the fact that we never know how much of Kris’s reactions are unscripted romantic and how much are for-Talia’s-own-good benign manipulation helps a lot. We also get a really well-written battle scene with Talia and Kris vs. the reviers.
And while I complain about the pacing here, it fits. This books is mostly about Talia growing up and getting into position for the follow-up, and the titles themselves tell you this; you have to let your arrow fly before it can fall.