Thursday, July 4, 2019

ARC Review: Eye Spy by Mercedes Lackey

Eye Spy
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Series: Valdemar: Family Spies (Book 2)
Publication: DAW (July 9, 2019)

Description: In this second installment of the Family Spies series, set in the bestselling world of Valdemar, the children of Heralds Mags and Amily must follow in their parents' footsteps to protect the realm.

Mags, Herald Spy of Valdemar, and his wife, Amily, the King’s Own Herald, are happily married with three kids. Their daughter, Abidela, dreams of building on her parents' legacy by joining her father's network of spies, hoping to offset her seeming lack of a Gift.

But when Abi senses the imminent collapse of a bridge only moments before it happens, she saves countless lives, including that of her best friend, Princess Katiana. The experience, though harrowing, uncovers her unique Gift—an ability to sense the physical strains in objects.

Intrigued by the potential of her Gift, the Artificers seek to claim her as their own—but only the Healers can train her. Through training with both of them, Abi discovers unique facets of her Gift, including a synesthetic connection to objects that allows her to “see” as well as feel the strains.

Her Gift may also grant her a distinct advantage as a spy—there won’t be a building in the entire kingdom of Valdemar with a secret room that she doesn’t know about. With the help of her mentors, she must hone her gift to uncover the hidden secrets in the depths of Valdemar.

My Thoughts: Abi is the daughter of Herald spymaster Mags and his wife Amily who is the King's Own Herald. She has grown up with the children of the king and queen. She has been trained by her father to be dangerous, to be another layer of protection for the royal children. She has also been trained to be observant. She sometimes wonders if that will be enough for her to be a help to her father and her kingdom since she seems to lack any magical gift.

One day, while on an errand with her best friend Princess Kat, Abi gets a bad feeling about a bridge they have to cross. She knows that the bridge is in immediate danger of collapse. She and Kat manage to save all the people on the bridge before it does collapse. Now, she has a unique Gift to learn to use: she can feel the stress in non-living things.

Abi is sent to be trained as an Artificer which causes all sorts of resentment from some of the other students who feel that she took the place of a more worthy candidate just because of who her parents are. Especially resentful is Dudley Remp, a first class bully who feels entitled to whatever he wants because his father is rich. When he attempts to assault her after class with the help of a couple of his sycophants, she breaks his finger. When his father comes to demand that she be beaten and expelled because she hurt his son, her father casts a Truth Spell which quickly shows what happened and leads to his being expelled instead. However, she has made an enemy who isn't just going to go away.

At the end of her training, Abi has to come up with a Master Work to prove her accomplishments and she chooses to rebuild the bridge that had collapsed some years earlier. To do so, she needs to reinvent a technique for supporting bridges that she learned from a ruin in the city. Before her bridge is finished, though, she is asked to accompany a small group of Masters as they travel to a land bordering Valdemar that is thinking about becoming part of Valdemar.

This journey gives Abi a chance to explore more of Valdemar and learn more about things that Master Artificers do. She is traveling with three other Masters, a Herald who is one of her father's agents, and three mercenaries who have been hired to guide them. Things go well at the beginning but quickly go downhill when they come to a town that had a previous visit from "Valdemaran Artificers" who caused a part of the city wall to collapse. They learn that the group has Mages and they believe that they are Karsites who want to ruin any relationship with Valdemar and who can control demons.

They need to find a way to restore Valdemar's reputation and get rid of the Karsite spies. The story was exciting. I liked the Abi grew and changed through the story and identified a path for her life that will make her happy and fulfilled. This was truly a coming of age story.

Favorite Quote:
"I wish it was a normal Gift, or none at all." Abi replied, restlessly running the hem of her tunic through her fingers. "I like things to be...orderly."

"Which is why you're going to make a great Artificer," Kat teased. "All math and tidy numbers, where everything always works the same way every time."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.
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  1. I doubt the genre works for me but I liked your review of this one.


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