Book Review: Taste of Darkness by Maria V Snyder

Taste of Darkness (Healer, #3)

Title: Taste of Darkness (Healer #3)
Author: Maria V Snyder
Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult, Last in a Series
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 2014
Pages: 458
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
She’s fought death and won. But how can she fight her fears?

Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he’s gone forever.

But there’s a more immediate threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry’s healing powers are needed now more than ever.Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully. For the future of her world depends on her decision.

My Review:

The war for control of the Fifteen Realms is just getting started. King Tohon may be no longer a threat but there are many factions all vying for the crown. The Skeleton King with a passion for human flesh, Estrid’s forces and former rivals coming back out of the wood work, Avry and her faithful friends have their hands full. With a mutated version of the Plague back in the mix, Avry needs to stay strong and do whatever she can for the cause.

Maria V Snyder is not easy on her characters – they are living in the middle of a war and there are casualties to be had. Avry is trying to do the best she can to help Prince Ryne defeat his enemies and return the Fifteen Realms back to some sort of normality however, he is willing to do whatever it takes – sacrifice whoever he needs – in order to defeat the others. Avry is such a great character. She’s determined to do what is right for herself and doesn’t take orders very well. Her bickering with Ryne is somewhat reminiscent of just how  she used to banter with Kerrick in the first book and it’s nice to know that despite all that has changed, some things stay the same.

There is so much happening in this book. I was a little critical of Scent of Magic because I thought it felt like a bridging novel. And whilst I still believe that – it was worth reading to get to this book. As far as final books in a series go, Taste of Darkness is amazing. Things referenced in the first novel are re-addressed and everything that happened in the first two novels was leading to this moment. We get to see more about the different magic users and the extent in which some of their power and affinities effect them.

One of the things I’ve liked most about this series is Avry and her relationships with her friends – Flea, Belen, the Monkeys and Kerrick – and that hasn’t changed. As they grow older and wiser, their relationships have strengthened throughout all they have experienced. Avry’s romantic relationship with Kerrick is at times heartbreaking but these are two characters which bring out the best in each other and whilst they don’t always agree with each other, they do support one another’s decisions.

This is the first series by Maria V Snyder that I’ve read and I loved getting to experience the world she created and witness the battle of the Fifteen Realms. She’s a great fantasy author and I will definitely be reading some of her other books now that I’ve finished reading the Healer series.

 

 Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia for the review copy. 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Top Ten Tuesday: BEST SEQUELS EVER!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten BEST SEQUELS EVER! 

Oh yes…. capital letters on purpose! I love a good sequel. Here are the top ten that came to mind… But ones I LOVED!

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)Series: Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas
Sequel: Crown of Midnight [my review]
Why I Loved it?: I loved the first one but the second book was everything I loved from the first book PLUS MORE! More action, more romance, more bloodthirsty Caelana being in assassin mode… HIGHLY recommend it.

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2)Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Sequel: Days of Blood and Starlight [my review]
Why I Loved it?: Beautifully written, this second instalment was exciting and amazing. I loved the deeper look at the creatures and Karou’s past.

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2)Series: Blood of Eden by Julie Kagawa
Sequel: The Eternity Cure [my review]
Why I Loved it?: The first book, The Immortal Rules, did a great job at laying the groundwork but this book was so EXCITING! I loved Jackal and how Allie has grown throughout the book. Can’t wait for the third book!

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)Series: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Sequel: Scarlet [my review]
Why I Loved it?: I fell in love with Cinder and to be honest – I was worried that the second book wouldn’t live up to my expectations. But it exceeded them. We got to see all the stuff that I loved from the first book and got to meet some brilliant new characters. When does the third book, Cress come out? Way too far awaay if you ask me 😛

Scent of Magic  (Healer #2)Series: Healer by Maria V Snyder
Sequel: Scent of Magic [my review]
Why I Loved it?: It may have been a bit of a filler novel to bridge the gap between one of my FAVOURITE first in a series books (Touch of Power) and what promises to be a brilliant third book – however it was great. I love these characters! I don’t think there are many character who are both healers and super kick-arse as Avry is.

Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2)Series: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
Sequel: Anne of Avonlea
Why I Loved it?: I loved Anne-with-an-E when I was growing up and this was a great series. It’s one that I can mark my childhood against. I can remember where I was the first time I read parts of it and loved growing up with Anne.

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Series: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Sequel: Catching Fire
Why I Loved it?: The first book made such an impression on me but it was the second book that truly made me fall in love. Finnick was the best character in this series! And the events of this book…. fantastic!

Spark (Elementals, #2)Series: Elementals by Brigid Kemmerer
Sequel: Spark [my review]
Why I Loved it?: I love all the books in this series. It’s much like the adult paranormal romance books I read in terms of each book is about another pairing rather than the urban fantasy series that keep following the same main characters. Spark follows the hot-headed Merrick brother, Gabriel. He’s fantastic. I love this series! Can’t wait for Secret which is released in early 2014.

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2)Series: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Sequel: The Golden Lily [my review]
Why I Loved it?: Sydney gets better with each instalment. And Adrian? Oh my… I know I’m a little Richelle Mead obsessed but I can’t wait for the fourth book, The Fiery Heart which is released November 19, 2013.

The Awakening (Darkest Powers, #2)Series: The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong
Sequel: The Awakening [my review]
Why I Loved it?: I love Kelley Armstrong. She’s a Canadian author who writes fantastic urban fantasy novels. The Darkest Powers trilogy is set in the same universe as her adult series, Women of the Otherworld, but revolves around young adults instead. Chloe is just coming into her powers in the first book (The Reckoning) but by the time the second book starts – she’s embracing the young woman she’s starting to be. A great set of secondary cast members, this book really comes into its own.

I love sequels. I’d love to see which books you love and are on your lists this week!

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Book Review: Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Scent of Magic (Healer #2)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: paranormal, fantasy, magic, adventure
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: January 2013
Pages: 414 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Hunted, Killed—Survived?

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible … again

My Review:

After reading Touch of Power (the first book in the Healer series) I couldn’t wait to get back to Avry, Kerrick and the rest of the characters from the Thirteen Realms.

Avry, back from the dead, is a healer on a mission – to stop Tohon from taking over the Realms and experimenting on the innocent with his army of the living dead. After deciding to separate from Kerrick (and letting him fight his own battles in the North), Avry joins Astrid’s army in disguise and gathers as much intelligence as she can under her new assumed identity. Hiding in plain sight and showing just how good a soldier she can be, Avry manages to get close to both her old friends (the Monkeys, Belen) but also her estranged sister, Noelle.

Meanwhile, Kerrick is back in his own kingdom trying to amass an army of his own to fight against King Tohon. But things don’t go according to plan and Kerrick finds himself trying to stay one step ahead of enemies he didn’t even know he had.

There’s a lot going on in this book and I enjoyed the layout – every Avry chapter was followed by a brief overview of what was going on in Kerrick’s part of the world. Simultaneously we, the readers, were able to follow both their stories with ease. The only problem with this was it meant the novel as whole missed the spark of banter between the two leads that I enjoyed so much from the first novel.

I loved getting to see a new side of Avry – not just a healer but a warrior in her own right and a fairly kick-arse one at that. The training of her group of soldiers was interesting and I liked to see the camaraderie between them.

In many ways this book is a transition novel – bridging the gap between the first novel and the final novel of the series. There’s a lot of ground work being laid and stuff that doesn’t seem to be all that relevant at the moment but is just leading up for the next book. I enjoyed reading it – there’s A LOT of surprises and action, drama, betrayal going on but it fell a little short of my expectations.

I would definitely recommend this book for fans of the first one and can’t wait for the third book to be released in a year’s time!

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Touch of Power (Healer #1)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: paranormal, fantasy, magic, adventure
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: December 2011
Pages: 390 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The price of peace may well be her life…

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honoured for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogue who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader – an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own – is unequivocal in his demands; Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince, the leader of a campaign against her people.

As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for.

My Review:

Avry of Kazan – a healer on the run ever since the Plague started three years ago and the people turned against those with the power to heal. After an incident lands Avry in a jail cell and a date with her death in the morning, a stranger offers Avry a choice. She can come with him and save his friend or keep her appointment with the gallows.

Taking Kerrick of Alga up on his deal, Avry joins his warriors as they make their way though many of the Fifteen Realms facing assassins and magicians on an adventure Avry never saw coming.

This book is the kind of adventure fantasy book that I adore. There’s action and drama. Despite the time frame of this novel taking months and there being down time in between deathly feats, there was never a boring moment during the entire book.

Avry is a kick arse heroine. She’s strong in spirit and can hold her own against Kerrick and his bunch of merry men but she knows how to follow orders when completely necessary. The Monkeys (Quain and Loren), Papa Bear (Belen) and Flea are absolutely fantastic. They provide much necessary comic relief – not only to the reader but also to the other characters.

The magic in this book is fascinating. The eleven different types and the magicians who control them are well thought out. I thought the mages were especially intriguing. Jael, Tohon, Sepp and the others are characters that I loved reading about not just for their personalities but for their powers and how they worked.

There’s so much going on in this book – the current political power struggle, magic, the back story between the royals of the Realms, healers and the Plague – but Synder managed to write it all in such a way that made perfect sense. There were times when I felt like Kerrick’s group were wandering mindlessly for a while before something new happened and they had new purpose but for the most part I loved how everything come together.

Touch of Power is the first book in the Healer series with the second, Scent of Magic, being released in January 2013 by HarlequinTeen.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository