[Advance Book Review] Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

(Healer #3)

Taste of Darkness (Healer, #3)This book starts off right where the last one left off. Which is good news if you remember who was dying on the last couple of pages of Touch of Power. 

We dive straight back into the world of the Fifteen Realms and the whole everyone-wants-to-kill Avry thing. And by “everyone,” I mean “four or so armies.” Avry’s beloved Kerrick is missing (again), Prince Rayne wants to use her as bait (again), she can’t stop dreaming about evil psychopath King Tohon, her sister is still missing, and the deadly plague is back.

Remember how I gave A Touch of Power, the first book in this series, an ecstatic, all-five canary rating? Then do you remember the three, somewhat apologetic canaries on my review for book two, Scent of Magic?

I loved the first book. The second left me lukewarm. And after a couple days sitting on my reader response to Taste of Darkness, I have finally figured out what went wrong with this third and final novel in the Healer trilogy.

Where the first book gave us a single plot and an impossible romantic subplot that somehow worked. Then the second book started splitting up the story into several plots. And here, the subplots have officially taken over, New Feline World Order style, taking Taste of Darkness away from that single-plot paradigm that made us fall in love with Avry to an epic fantasy set-up condensed into one tiny book. It’s a novel full of sidequests. And the characters are rewarded for those sidequests with unexpected video-game-level-convenient bounties that just happen to be what they need to solve their other problems.

But I kinda think that’s something that just happens when you leave six major villains to be taken down over the course of one, short book.  The buildup to each encounter just…isn’t satisfying enough. And then, many side quests later, the story ends with an anticlimactic final battle and final sacrifice. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it.

For those who love the second book in the series for flipping between being in Avry’s head half the time, and then following Kerrick around for the other half, good news! This book does it again. For all of us who thought it was annoying and distracting, bad news! This book does it again.

And this kinda carries over to the rest of the book, too. It’s a book for the fan – if you enjoyed books 1 and 2, you’ll appreciate the merry band getting together, the romance, Avry’s brave (if foolhardy) decisions that keep getting her in trouble, and, well, stuff.

And if you haven’t read any of these books, go back and check out A Touch of Power (Healer 1) by Maria V. Snyder because it is all sorts of fun.

Book for review provided by Harlequin MIRA.
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[Advance Book Review] A healer on the run, an army on the march.

Scent of Magic by Maria V Snyder (Healer #2)

Publication date: December 18th 2012

(This review may contain spoilers of book one, Touch of Magic by Maria V. Snyder.)

After reading Touch of Magic (has it really been a year?) and stamping it with a Five-Canary approval rating, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. And here it is!

Avry of Kazan, the last Healer in all of the Fifteen Realms, is dead of the plague, sacrificing her life to heal the man who destroyed her people…or so everyone thinks. Finally free and able to make her own decisions, Avry’s loyalty is torn between the need to help a sister in the clutches of a vicious mage, her own calling as a Healer, and the need to do her part against the tyrannical King Tohon and his ravaging army. And if she is to do all this, she must part ways with Kerrick, so soon after finding him again. Continue reading

[ Book Review ] When being a healer is a death sentence.

A Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder (Healer #1)

When the plague broke out, the healers could do nothing for the sickness, and so were blamed for it. Three years later, Avry – once an apprentice healer, now a fugitive – is on the run, hunted because of what she is. But when she is finally caught by an armed group, Kerrick, their leader, doesn’t want her for the bounty. He doesn’t want her dead–at least, not until she does one more healing for him. And the person Kerrick wants healed? Prince Ryne, a man Avry would rather die than save.

Avry is the kind of smart, tough heroine that I’ve grown accustomed to seeing in Snyder’s novels. As Avry finds herself trekking across the lands, dodging mercenaries and the deadly creatures that decimate the landscape, she is forced into uneasy alliances with the people who want to use her. A Touch of Power is a promising opening to the series.  But it can also be read as a completely self-contained (and fully satisfying) stand-alone novel.

Continue reading