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.Closer to the Chest (The Herald Spy, #3) by Mercedes Lackey
Series: The Herald Spy #3
Published by DAW on October 4th 2016
Number of Pages: 336
Purchase: At Amazon
Herald Mags 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 safe.
His 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 ravings.
But 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 blood.
Mags and Amily will have to track down someone who leaves few clues behind and thwart whatever plans have been set in motion, and quickly—before terror turns to murder.
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 is more in 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 see more of Prince Sedric.
There was another scene with Haven’s Heartstone, and I’m really hoping that if there are more books 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 no more mention 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 read more about them. And for once, Mags was not kidnapped or held hostage!