Review: CLOSER TO THE HEART (Herald Spy #2) by Mercedes Lackey

closer-to-the-heartThis book had the awkward job of pushing along a trilogy plot that I don’t quite understand and a relationship that is already solid. I keep reading Valdemar books because this world has such a special place in my heart, but at this point the drama and intrigue is no longer there for me in this particular section of the world with these particular characters.

I do genuinely still care about them, and this is reflected by the fact that my favorite moment in the book was Mags and Amily’s wedding. But that’s probably because I’m a sucker for weddings. Before anyone screams “spoilers!” at me, if you’re reading the series, you already knew that this was a forgone conclusion four or five books ago. Every other moment of this novel faded into the endless descriptions of spying in Haven and court drama that has persisted for seven books by now. At this point, I am certainly reading for Amily’s journey to become King’s Own rather than for anything on Mags’ part.

I think that the biggest problem with this particular section of the Valdemar series is that Lackey has been swept up in her own propaganda that Heralds are perfect. All of the conflict in this trilogy is completely external, and Mags and Amily find the perfect solution at the perfect moment every time. Right now, reading these books is like wrapping myself in a cozy blanket and having some tea on a rainy afternoon. Excellent comfort fare, but getting boring and predictable. Which is a shame, because I know that there is so much possibility elsewhere in the world of Valdemar (even for Heralds), and I know how good of an author Lackey can be.

Rating: 3 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Currently reading: Tempest, edited by Mercedes Lackey

Currently writing: 88,007/90k words

Published by steelvictory

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Her debut novel, STEEL VICTORY, was her thesis novel for Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was one of the co-editors for FAR WORLDS, a speculative fiction anthology. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (, on Facebook (, and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits). She is currently working on more tales set in the world of Limani.

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