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Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for giving me this book to review.Closer to the Chest is a very enjoyable book which goes at a variable pace which starts off slow and builds to a crescendo by the end The story can be a bit predictable as it follows the outline of many other Mercedes Lackey books, it does not mean it is any less enjoyable for that My favourite character is Nicholas, because whilst most Heralds are meant to be practically perfect, Nicholas shows that they still Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for giving me this book to review.Closer to the Chest is a very enjoyable book which goes at a variable pace which starts off slow and builds to a crescendo by the end The story can be a bit predictable as it follows the outline of many other Mercedes Lackey books, it does not mean it is any less enjoyable for that My favourite character is Nicholas, because whilst most Heralds are meant to be practically perfect, Nicholas shows that they still have some human foibles The villains are a new one, and it can be predictable because you know that they re going to be beaten however it is always interesting to find out how they lose, and why they re doing this.I enjoyed Closer to the Chest and would recommend it to readers of the earlier Magsseries and readers of other Mercedes Lackey books.This and my other reviews can be found at Amethyst Bookwyrm Each and every one of Lackey s Valdemar novels feels like home I did enjoy this book, but what I write here is in comparison to the other books which are Absolutely Brilliant If you re like me and you ve read and re read every single other Valdemar book You know you ve got to pick this one up too, because it s going to be new If you re looking at these as a first time reader, let me instead recommend the Arrows of the Queen trilogy or Brightly Burning as a stand alone personally, I start Each and every one of Lackey s Valdemar novels feels like home I did enjoy this book, but what I write here is in comparison to the other books which are Absolutely Brilliant If you re like me and you ve read and re read every single other Valdemar book You know you ve got to pick this one up too, because it s going to be new If you re looking at these as a first time reader, let me instead recommend the Arrows of the Queen trilogy or Brightly Burning as a stand alone personally, I started with Owlsight I m finding the books in The Herald Spy trilogy to be a little bit light in comparison to some of the others Short reads, I m finishing them very quickly and am not able to bask in the wonderful world of Valdemar for very long.My gut instinct is that the books that have to do with Mags are for a newer reader who is not yet familiar with Valdemar, and who may be at a bit of a younger reading level.Some of the characters feel like repetitions of characters we already know and love long time readers of the series already know and love Skif as a herald spy and Talia as the new female Monarch s Own, so there s not much new happening Plot points haven t grabbed me and the conflicts that are happening are somewhat laughable in comparison to what we ve seen the Heralds deal with before.Loose ends are getting wrapped up a little bit too tidy, and conflicts resolved a little too easily Maybe it s harsh to say so maybe the intended audience is a bit different for these books Still, they feel like Valdemar Lite Buy this book if you can t get enough of Valdemar and you ve read all the others You ll re enter the world you love and you ll glimpse some new storylines new history to learn about.Skip it if there are other Valdemar books out there that you haven t read yet guaranteed, they are probably better I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review, which was first posted on book blog Will Read for Feels Actual rating 4.5 starsAny release of an all new book set in Valdemar is cause for celebration in my book, and Closer to the Chest, book 3 in the Herald Spy series, is no exception Valdemar is Mercedes Lackey s fantasy kingdom where spirit horses called Companions p I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review, which was first posted on book blog Will Read for Feels Actual rating 4.5 starsAny release of an all new book set in Valdemar is cause for celebration in my book, and Closer to the Chest, book 3 in the Herald Spy series, is no exception Valdemar is Mercedes Lackey s fantasy kingdom where spirit horses called Companions pair up with humans, called Heralds, and together not only ensure the safety and supremacy of the government and their overarching law There is no one true way but preserve the integrity of the nation.In this book, newlywed Heralds Mags and Amily find themselves facing an altogether different sort of intrigue Rather than the game of preemption and prevention they re used to especially given that both Mags and Amily s father are spies they must investigate a set of crimes and attempt to stop the perpetrator or perpetrators before they can escalate from mayhem to murder.I relished the challenges put to the characters in this volume of the Herald Spy series because Mags and Amily found they had to employ a new way of thinking, focus on playing detective rather than spy, even as they worked to adjust to their newly married state.This second aspect of the challenge they faced was a bit subtle but I liked how, because they were married now, their relationship problems stemmed from trying to find ways to make each other happy or at least avoid making each other unhappy rather than from working to stay together despite everything that might keep them apart They ARE together, as is plain to see, and that brings an entirely new set of challenges in the love department Of course, our heroes hurdle them beautifully.As far as the big mystery goes, I think I would ve liked a teensy bitintrigue, but that s just because I enjoy it when a book keeps me guessing Apart from this point, though, I don t have much to complain about.In fact, one thing I really enjoyed was how relevant the story was to this day and age, so if I had a child in elementary or middle school I would put this book into their hands immediately, just because the way the book tackles the issues of women s rights, bullying, and victim shaming are something that could stir open and critical thinking in people who are still forming their ideas about the world and their place in it.Closer to the Chest was another win for Mercedes Lackey, reinforcing my fandom and leaving me wishing I didn t have to wait another several months for the next installation in this series This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here So disappointing The story was bland and slow It was easy to read in that the way it was written wasn t an impediment i.e the sentences weren t too long or complicated After awhile though I realized I was really bored, waiting for something of interest to happen I almost gave up but because I d read the first two in the trilogy I didn t want to give up on this one.Again, the story was so so at best It wasof a young adult book than an adult book There was nothing that wasn t suitable So disappointing The story was bland and slow It was easy to read in that the way it was written wasn t an impediment i.e the sentences weren t too long or complicated After awhile though I realized I was really bored, waiting for something of interest to happen I almost gave up but because I d read the first two in the trilogy I didn t want to give up on this one.Again, the story was so so at best It wasof a young adult book than an adult book There was nothing that wasn t suitable for teens There was no sense of danger because it is pretty clear none of the major characters are going to die or suffer permanent injury On the plus side I really liked Mags way of speaking He doesn t speak like any other Herald portrayed in the other Valdemar books, or at least I don t think so He clearly was uneducated, unpolished And he retains elements of that in that he continues to speak that way even as a Herald though he can speakcorrectly when he tries For me this dialect I guess that s what you call it was not difficult to get used to and wasn t an annoyance but helped cement the character.As far as how this book rates in the trilogy I d say the 1st one was the best followed by this one and then the 2nd But as a Lackey series it ranks toward the bottom At least I was interested enough to read them so that s something I can only recommend them if you re really bored, like Mags or like to read every Lackey book no matter what One thing that I noticed in the 2nd book but didn t mention and it washeavy handed in this last book is the author s stance on Christianity It seems clear to me that she targets Christianitythan any other religion because she paraphrases the bible or so I recall Maybe I m just jumping to conclusions I don t think so In the 2nd book it s made clear that there is no one way religion wise This is not a real surprise because I think this view was clear as far back as the Vanyel books Magic s Price, etc but it was vaguely, briefly uncomfortable in the 2nd book because of a few pages and way too heavy handed in this one The villains in this book are religious fanatics of a Christian fundamentalist on steroids point of view Don t get me wrong, I think the point of view extreme needs to be discouraged put down But in the book it seemed that any Christianity is wrong bad and that bothered me All religions that believe in one true way are intolerant, but if you believe that there is no one true way and are intolerant of religions that disagree than that seems to be okay, according to the book I couldn t find the passages that really bothered me, sorry I skimmed back as far as page 200 and couldn t find them Oh well, it might not even be something you notice If you read the books you can decide for yourself if it s an issue or not.So, go ahead and read the books if you want, but don t say I didn t warn you that they were bland and slow and written as if the author was on auto pilot ( Free Epub ) ☤ Closer to the Chest ♲ Herald Mags, the King of Valdemar s Herald Spy, has been developing a clandestine network of young informants who operate not only on the streets of the capital city of Haven, but also in the Great Halls and kitchens of the wealthy and highborn In his own established alternate personas, Mags observes the Court and the alleys alike, quietly gathering information to keep Haven and the Kingdom safeHis wife Amily is growing into her position as the King s Own Herald, though she is irritated to encounter many who still consider her father, Herald Nikolas, to be the real King s Own Nonetheless, she finds it increasingly useful to be underestimated, for there are dark things stirring in the shadows of Haven and up on the Hill Someone has discovered many secrets of the women of the Court and the Collegia and is using those secrets to terrorize and bully them Someone is targeting the religious houses of women, too, leaving behind destruction and obscene lettersBut who Someone at the Court A disgruntled Palace servant One of the members of the Collegia Someone in the patriarchal sect of the god Sethor Could the villain be a woman And what is this person hoping to achieve It isn t blackmail, for the letters demand nothing the aim seems to be the victims panic and despair But why Mags and Amily take steps to minimize the damage while using both magic and wits to find the evildoer But just as they appear to be on the verge of success, the letter writer tires of terror and is now out for bloodMags and Amily will have to track down someone who leaves few clues behind They must thwart whatever plans have been set in motion, and quickly before terror turns to murder Mercedes Lackey seems to be running out of really good fodder for her Valdemar series Lately her books have been less than stellar good enough for fans but with too much contrivance to be excellent I enjoy them still, but not as much as her earlier stuff.She s really milking this character for all he s worth this is the eighth book starring Mags, the orphan boy who was Chosen to be a Herald and who eventually becomes a spy for the king A bit of a Gary Stu but not enough to be overly annoy Mercedes Lackey seems to be running out of really good fodder for her Valdemar series Lately her books have been less than stellar good enough for fans but with too much contrivance to be excellent I enjoy them still, but not as much as her earlier stuff.She s really milking this character for all he s worth this is the eighth book starring Mags, the orphan boy who was Chosen to be a Herald and who eventually becomes a spy for the king A bit of a Gary Stu but not enough to be overly annoying, Mags in this volume deals with amundane problem than in previous books instead of a threat to the kingdom from a foreign nation, he is investigating an anonymous writer of poison pen letters targeted at women, who gradually escalates his activity to attacks on them It makes a nice change from the preventing the end of the world as we know it type of story.It s a blatantly political statement on misogyny, feminism, and women s rights, which is all well and good for a young adult audience What I m a bit skeptical about is the setting in which she places this story, as this happens in an earlier time in the history of Valdemar, which to me seems a little out of place But over the years she s changed Valdemar so much in order to fit her stories in that it really requiressuspension of disbelief than it used to to enjoy them Still, for longtime fans she retains the core of what we love about the world, so I give this 3.5 stars, though I would round down instead of up Check out my other reviews, discussions and link ups at Fantasy of the Silver Dragon.I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.This book wasn t as fast paced as most Valdemar novels It was still interesting and kept my attention, but if you love the ones full of action, this book isin the line of intrigue Mags, Amily and a number of their friends from the last book, spend most of Check out my other reviews, discussions and link ups at Fantasy of the Silver Dragon.I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.This book wasn t as fast paced as most Valdemar novels It was still interesting and kept my attention, but if you love the ones full of action, this book isin the line of intrigue Mags, Amily and a number of their friends from the last book, spend most of this book hunting a bully.You know exactly who is responsible from the beginning, but finding enough evidence to prove it takes most of the book I liked getting to see how Mags and Amily were settling into their roles I also liked that we got to seeof Prince Sedric.There was another scene with Haven s Heartstone, and I m really hoping that if there arebooks in this era of Valdemar, that they finally start learning what it is and how to use it Instead of going to it as almost an afterthought, or when in the middle of a crisis.One thing that irked me slightly, is that there is a discussion about Amily getting one of Lady Dia s mastiffs for protection from the Poison Pen letter writer And she says she will talk to Dia about it the next day But then there is nomention of it, and no dog appears except the muff dogs the courtiers own Not sure if it was forgotten about or if it was forgotten by the characters or what.I liked Lirelle and her siblings, they were very smart and it would be fun to readabout them And for once, Mags was not kidnapped or held hostage This review was originally posted on Fantasy of the Silver Dragon I enjoy Ms Lackey s series ever since the first book about Herald Talia.And I really enjoy Mags and Co.However, I admit to be a trifle disturbed perplexed by how closely this particular book follows the plot of Dorothy L Sayers s most famous work Gaudy Night Lord Peter Wimsey Book 12, down to the discussion of the Poison Pen, discussions of whether or not the servants could be responsible, burning effigies in the yard, and debates about the position of women in society and whether someone is a I enjoy Ms Lackey s series ever since the first book about Herald Talia.And I really enjoy Mags and Co.However, I admit to be a trifle disturbed perplexed by how closely this particular book follows the plot of Dorothy L Sayers s most famous work Gaudy Night Lord Peter Wimsey Book 12, down to the discussion of the Poison Pen, discussions of whether or not the servants could be responsible, burning effigies in the yard, and debates about the position of women in society and whether someone is a womanly woman It is bit too close for comfort, even though it certainly is given its own twist set in this world.Nonetheless it is still a fun read and I look forward to the next book in the series.Update Upon a re read I still enjoyed it as a part of the series, but the blatant re telling of Sayer s Gaudy Night, re told in Valdemar is still annoying This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here ML is the only author whose books I order in hardback as soon as they are released, but I find that with each successive Mags book I am waiting longer before I read them.because I am finding each to be less interesting than the last Very disappointing where have the characters such as Vanyel, Kero, and Karal gone to Why are the bad guys so one dimensional and so unnecessary to the story that we don t even meet them face to face until the last 20 pages of the book after our heroes spend 3 ML is the only author whose books I order in hardback as soon as they are released, but I find that with each successive Mags book I am waiting longer before I read them.because I am finding each to be less interesting than the last Very disappointing where have the characters such as Vanyel, Kero, and Karal gone to Why are the bad guys so one dimensional and so unnecessary to the story that we don t even meet them face to face until the last 20 pages of the book after our heroes spend 350 pages trying to convince themselves that the members of the new in town misogynistic religion might actually be the ones writing nasty letters to women I still want to live in Valdemar as I love the world ML has created I don t think I m brave enough to be Chosen, but then again I am fully as nearsighted and un athletic as Myste and look where she ended up but I am very ready to be done with Mags and move onto another storyline This book fit the pattern of Ms Lackey s recent Valdemar books perfectly she takes a story from another book or play not written by her , transports it into Valdemar, gives it enough twists and differences to avoid actual allegations of copying, does a great deal of preaching, makes several editorial mistakes, does only a very little character development, does a lot of obvious and long winded plot development, builds to a climax that is all over far too quickly with no denoument, and lea This book fit the pattern of Ms Lackey s recent Valdemar books perfectly she takes a story from another book or play not written by her , transports it into Valdemar, gives it enough twists and differences to avoid actual allegations of copying, does a great deal of preaching, makes several editorial mistakes, does only a very little character development, does a lot of obvious and long winded plot development, builds to a climax that is all over far too quickly with no denoument, and leaves the reader wondering where the last chapter is.Yet I keep reading them, and vaguely enjoying them And as long as we all keep reading them because we are nostalgic for the old Valdemar books, Ms Lackey will keep churning them out, just like this, and we ll keep reading them, and she ll keep writing them, and So, we are at an impasse, and I m not entirely certain that I mind