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Closer to the Heart

(Valdemar: The Herald Spy #2)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  3,495 ratings  ·  230 reviews
Mags was a Herald of Valdemar. But he had once lived the brutal life of a child slave. When he was Chosen by his Companion Dallen, his young life was saved, and he slowly adjusted to being well fed, educated, and treasured as a trainee in the Herald's Collegium at Haven. Singled out by the King's Own Herald, Mags would thrive in his secret training as a spy. His unusually ...more
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by DAW (first published October 2nd 2015)
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Linda Corbin The first in this series for Mags is "Closer To Home". The series before, the beginning of Mags' journey, is Foundation, Intrigues, Changes, Redoubt, …moreThe first in this series for Mags is "Closer To Home". The series before, the beginning of Mags' journey, is Foundation, Intrigues, Changes, Redoubt, and Bastion. (less)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  3,495 ratings  ·  230 reviews


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Elspeth
This one was a four star read all the way up to the ending. I am not saying the ending was bad, it was just not satisfying so it ended up being more a three, or three point five.

I'm still happy with this series though, and this one didn't really lead into what may happen next for Mag's and Amily, but I am still curious what Lackey is going to do with these characters.
...more
Kathy Davie
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
Second in the Herald Spy fantasy series, the seventh in the Collegium Chronicles, and both are within the overall Valdemar series. These two particular subseries revolve around Mags; Collegium Chronicles is about Mags' early life and learning while the Herald Spy is Mags moving into his adult position. If you're interested, there is a chronological listing of the Valdemar books on my website.

My Take
In many respects, Closer to the Heart is more funny than anything else with the various training p
...more
Annette
Apr 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I keep coming back to Lackey for - well - "mac n' cheese." Not very good for you, and hardly gourmet, but quick, comforting, uncomplicated, and tasty.
This was no exception. A fast, comfortable read. Better pacing than others in the "Mags" series. Sweet, good-hearted characters, a little healthy danger - all the ingredients of a good Lackey novel.
I Do grow a little weary of her little jabs at anyone who has the audacity to believe that They are right even when it might mean that someone else is
...more
Kylara Jensen
I'm a sucker for Mercedes Lackey.

I told myself after Closer to Home that I wouldn't read any more books about Mags. But I can't just not read a new Valdemar book.

But I pretty much only got 60 pages in before I gave up. I am just so tired of Mags. PLEASE STOP WRITING BOOKS ABOUT MAGS. I don't know how anyone cares about him or his life any more.

It's all the same thing. Mundane overly descriptive passages about him spying in the city, Mags and Amily making plans about better ways to spay, then exe
...more
Courtney
This book was a bit slow to start, but was still an improvement from the last volume in the series. Once again, there is a very slow build-up to the action of the story - Mags & Amily wander the city, making new friends and plotting as they set up their new spy network. It's only about half way through that the real plot is introduced, and even then most of the chapters afterwards are all information gathering, planning - and 'kirball*', as it once again makes an appearance in Mags' life. Grante ...more
J.L.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: october-2016
This 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. B
...more
Kathryn Ford
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Enjoyable as always. :)
Silvara Wilde
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star
Check out my other reviews, discussions and link ups at Fantasy of the Silver Dragon.

I received this book for free from DAW in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Having only liked a few of the books from the last series about Mags, I wasn't sure what I'd think of this one. But since it was Valdemar, I had to give it a try. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the first book in the series before this one arrived, so some of the th
...more
Kristy Halseth
The story was a good story but these books are starting to suffer from the same problem. The main characters are all too good and smart. The problems are all caused by external forces. The characters themselves always come up with just the right ideas and inventions just before they need them. No one is making mistakes or bad choices that result in problems. Everything is just too pat and easy. Even when people are in trouble, they have just the tools they need, when they need them, because they ...more
Denise
Oct 26, 2015 added it
Not as good as the first in this trilogy

It was mostly a good story, but left with many holes, particularly at the end when Amily is so concerned about the guard. Did he live or not?
Roger - president of NBR United -
My goodness I still think that Mercedes Lackey can do no wrong in Valdemar. I just love all her story that are set in this universe. this is no different. each story is new and fresh and each series is interesting.
Erin Burns
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
On its own merits, it is fair to middling. But I'm plumb tired of Mags. ...more
Olga Godim
I wrote the same review for all three novels of this series. I actually liked these books. The writing is lousy, explaining why I didn’t read this writer for so long, but the stories are interesting. They kept me reading till the end.

What I didn’t like:
Too much moralizing and explaining, as if all the readers are fools and need all the pontifications they can get from the writer. If Ms. Lackey cut off all her preaching and explanations, the books would’ve been much shorter and much better.
Also I
...more
Marina
I give this book 4.5 stars. I love this world of Misty's and was real glad to come back to it. The read was quick and entertaining. It was very interesting to read the history of the Heralds spy network and learn how the Queens Handmaidens came to be. Can't wait to read the next book. =0)
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Spoiler:
Note to Self: Valdemar
Herald Mags(King's Spy,ex-mine orphan/child slave, Chosen,unusually strong Gift—Mindspeak and Mindhear a
...more
Megan
Jan 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While still an enjoyable read, Closer to the Heart felt like a backwards step for the series. This is the second book in the "Herald Spy" series, but the seventh to feature main character Mags and his Companion Dallen, who has at this point been the protagonist of far more Valdemar books than any other character. Unfortunately, he just keeps getting less interesting.

With his enigmatic backstory now completely resolved and his love life secure, Lackey doesn't quite seem to know what to do to con
...more
Mike
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge Mercedes Lackey fan. I love everything about Valdemar, and I have since the first time I picked up Arrows of the Queen. (Which, by the way, I almost didn't do. Have you seen the cover of that one? So pink and little-girly and twee. My first thought on seeing it was My Little Pony Meets Girl With Unfortunate Haircut and thought there's no way I'd find anything entertaining about it. Ha!)

That said, every now and then, Lackey gets a little bit too...hmm...coincidental for my tastes. By
...more
Ria Bridges
Stories about Mags seem to be Mercedes Lackey’s current passion when it comes to Valdemar, as there are currently two series involving this character in a central role. I don’t think any other character of hers can claim an equal amount of time in the spotlight, and previously, starting a new series in the Valdemar timeline, even if familiar characters were involved, typically switched to a new primary character or characters. I think the only other character who could come close to claiming tha ...more
Misi Stroud
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Writing isn't easy.

I've been a fan of Mercedes Lackey since I first read her in the late '80s. I enjoy the Heralds of Valdemar series, so I'm glad she's chosen to go back into the part of the timeline after an apparent finale.
Those who enjoy details of a much earlier, way less technological society with their fantasy fiction will like this story. Mags and Amily are so far two of the more solidly written characters.

But really? The same plot device? Again?!

I'm rooting for the finish of these books
...more
Kelcey
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We are back on track and it feels so good! If you have not just read these books, start by referring to my review of Closer to Home. The first book in Mags' new series left me shaky and unsure as Mags was edged out of page time by other lesser characters, but in book 2, page time was shared fairly equally between Mags and Amily which is all good in my opinion! Coot returns as a minor character in a perfect role and Violetta was barely mentioned (thank goodness!) We are back to the things that Am ...more
Jayme(the ghost reader)
This is the second book in "The Herald Spy" series. Mags, is Valdemar's Herald Spy and establishing himself to keeping Valdemar safe. He will need all his wits and cunning when the surroundings kingdoms try to pull Valdemar into a war because they think Valdemar is supplying weapons to the other side. Then Mags and Amily get kidnapped. I liked the remark Mags made "I wish everyone would stop kidnapping me." I am happy to say Mags and Amily get married. I always was a big supporter of them. ...more
Kristin
It was fine. I think I've found the ticket to not being annoyed with more recent Lackey books and that is to just treat them like fanfiction. I have read better fanfiction than these books, but if I think of it as a fic that is just making a little place in a larger world, I have more patience with them and the weird pacing and minuscule plot. ...more
Susan Pola Staples
Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series is one of my favourites. Telepathic spirit-white horses and beautiful, simply gorgeous Jody Lee covers cannot be beat in a fantasy series.

This is the second in the Herald Spy trilogy/quadrilogy/5 part installment of that universe.
...more
eyes.2c
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still enjoying Merecedes Lackey. Amily and Mags continue to develop and new characters are being introduced.
Barry
I am a fan of the Heralds of Valdemar books. However, these recent books concerning Mags are IMHO not up to the standards of Arrows or Vanyel
Kris
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A new Mercedes Lackey Valdemar book. Typical Valdemar fare, a comfort read for me.
Katy
Much like the previous book. Still not a fan of Kirball or dialect, still read the book anyway.
Harmony Williams
I am so very disappointed in the ableism of these books. I probably should have expected it, given that Amily was healed from her disability as a "cripple" in the last series. But I had hoped for better. I like that Amily's leg still gives her some pain and tires her out quicker, that she has to concentrate on running and mind her limits. But she wasn't the only disabled person in this book.

If I have to read one more thing about Tuck (who is nonverbal) not being "right in the head" I will burn
...more
Ronald Spitzer
Apr 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mags and Amily set up further networks for information gathering and training plus the networks go into action once the plot to undermine the kingdom is deduced. Another fun adventure with more parts of Valdemar revisited and revealed. Read this trilogy in order. The unfortunate part is that like in so many of her books Lackey inserts her bias against religions that have definite belief in healthful truth and are not co-opted by the culture into do-good but be meaningless systems. Part of today' ...more
Dawn Livingston
This is a stand alone book but it's best to start with the first book in the trilogy and best to start with Foundation, the first of the series just before this one, for an introduction to the character of Mags.

Very disappointing. It was okay. Slow story where nothing much happens until the end where it seems rushed and even the danger seems mild, not something the heroes can't handle. This is not the kind of book where there isn't a happy ending and you can tell which leaches any sense of dang
...more
Josh
May 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, high-fantasy
I'm enjoying this series, despite Mags annoying accent, and it's overall pretty fun despite a few flaws.

One thing: wishing this was set post Selenay rather than trying to fit it into Valdemar's mid-history. Just doesn't seem to fit to have the level of sophistication that general isn't present in Selenay's time for something set so much earlier

Also? the "Kirball" is pretty meh, and has been for several books. For all Lackey's immense skill as a writer...she ain't a sportswriter and it kinda show
...more
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Play Book Tag: Closer to the Heart by Mercedes Lackey - 3 stars 3 9 Apr 13, 2016 05:54PM  
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Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts & M ...more

Other books in the series

Valdemar: The Herald Spy (3 books)
  • Closer to Home (The Herald Spy, #1)
  • Closer to the Chest (The Herald Spy, #3)

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