Closer to the Heart audiobook
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Closer to the Heart audiobook free
Closer to the Heart is the second book in The Herald-Spy trilogy, a sequel series to The Collegium Chronicles series in the Valdemar saga. This is really a book of growth for both Mags and Amily as they navigate their still new roles as Heralds. And, of course, there is no end to the conflict and intrigue they need to work through! I love the way Lackey handles conflict in these books. Yes, there is the overall conflict within the plot, but there is always some kind of moral conflict as well. For the storyline, there is the discovered existence of a rebel faction, weapons being siphoned away in a futile attempt to overthrow Valdemar. Personally, there is the moral issue of excess. Mags is hyper aware of how little some people have, after his time as a mine slave. There are so many, even in Haven, with so little, and it has become his mission to help alleviate that whenever he can. Amily, too, is continuing to grow. Learning from her father and Mags, she has begun to create her own network of eyes and ears, those of the Handmaidens to the nobles of Haven. All in all, I love this addtion to the Valdemar saga!
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* Originally published on book blog Will Read for Feels. Let me start out by describing a little of what goes on in Closer to the Heart, which is book 2 in Mercedes Lackey’s Herald Spy series, since the blurb says more about the series and virtually nothing about what goes on in this installment. Newly engaged couple Herald Mags and King’s Own Herald Amily have found their wedding plans hijacked by the Crown, which fully intends to capitalize on it and turn it into so much political and diplomatic fanfare. But things must be postponed as a plot is uncovered that could potentially bring Valdemar into war with its politically unstable neighbor, Hardorn. While Amily must do her best to diffuse the situation from the capital, Mags is sent out to mine country—the first time he’s returned here since being rescued from child slavery—to ferret out possible conspirators. There are many things I like about this book. The first was that I believe it’s the first novel of Valdemar that tracks a Heraldic couple from both points of view. Sure, we’ve seen couples in the past, notably Herald-Princess Elspeth and her Hawkbrother mate Darkwind, but most of their story didn’t take place in Valdemar itself, and Darkwind is not a Herald, and while there’s also the couple made up by Queen’s Own Herald Talia and Herald Dirk, their love story comes quite late in their dedicated series. So I was keen on seeing the rhythm Amily and Mags would find as a couple, with the weight of their duties resting so heavily on both their shoulders. The second is that this brought Mags back to Valdemar’s mine country, which he hadn’t really visited since he was rescued child from slavery at a mine in the very first book of the Collegium Chronicles, Foundation. Here, I think, is a bit of a reward for fans. If you’ve followed these books from the beginning as I have, you’ll appreciate the difference between the mine Mags was saved from and the one he visits in this story, and while I felt like Lackey may have underwritten the emotional impact of these contrasts, I also felt like I could gather a lot about what she didn’t say. It also made me curious as to how it would affect Mags’ outlook once all the current stresses were over and done with. The third is learning more about the spy network in Valdemar. I really enjoyed how this was treated in the two books about arms master Herald Alberich as well as in the earlier books on Mags’ life, but this volume really gets into the nitty gritty of it, which I liked. And there was a return to that favored warsport, Kirball! In the interest of avoiding spoilers, I won’t share details, but if you enjoyed the way Lackey wrote about the games in the Collegium Chronicles, you’ll enjoy this one. I guess the only thing that kept me from giving this read a five-star rating is that it didn’t seem quite as action-packed as the previous novel. Not that it felt like an unnecessary series filler—don’t get me wrong on this point. It very much felt like Lackey was establishing some of the calm before the storm, so while I wasn’t quite as engaged as I have been in some of her other books, I can see how it would work in the rhythm of a four- or five-book series, which I’m hoping this will be. I’m also looking forward to seeing how she amps up the action and the intrigue in the novels to come. So while Closer to the Heart isn’t a full five stars, it’s definitely very solidly a four.
Audiobook Closer to the Heart by Mercedes Lackey
I will try to not bring up to many spoilers. This book started off strong and was flowing nicely but then bam. It was almost as if Ms Lackey suddenly realized she had a deadline and slapped in the last three chapters. Of course Mags and Amily get kidnapped…again. And it\’s all nice and over in two chapters. It left me with me a feeling of \”what just happened\”. Characters that I came to enjoy during the story were completely forgotten about by the last three chapters. Also I get it that Mags had an unhappy childhood and was a mine kiddie but does it have to be brought up all the time? I also missed Bear and Lena. You\’d think they could have made it to their wedding at least but I get it. Deadlines must be kept. So the reason I\’m giving this book only three stars was because it had a neat and tidy slap on ending. I will still buy her books particularly her Valdemar series but I wish she would get back to her old style of writing.
Audio Closer to the Heart narrated by Nick Podehl
I love Mercedes Lackey books, and especially the Valdemar ones, but I simply couldn\’t get on with this one. The first book (Closer to Home) was okay, although I felt as though I\’d heard the story before but couldn\’t remember where from, but this book left me bored. Nothing really happened. I found myself skimming pages and pages before something interesting jumped out to make me slow down and read more carefully. Although competently written, it feels much more simplistic and two dimensional than her earlier books in the series. I can\’t even say I like Mags and Amily because I don\’t feel I really know them. Not sure I\’ll even bother with the third book.
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Repetitious, formulaic, simplistic … or, as an American reviewer so aptly described it – light and fluffy. I felt like I\’d read a novella and was stunned to see the print version runs to 400 pages. Such a shame as I\’ve read all her books and this is certainly one of the weakest on so many levels.