Friday, May 17, 2013

Review: Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Scent of Magic (Healer #2)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Harlequin (UK) Ltd via NetGalley
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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.
Review by Nara

**Spoilers for Touch of Power**

After a torrent of unfortunate events in Touch of Power, the characters just can't catch a break. Things go from bad to worse in this book, setting the third book up for some major action. Each time our heroine manages to jump a small hurdle, BAM, Tohon blocks her with a mountain. As if undead soldiers weren't bad enough already, BAM, give 'em neck braces and they're practically invincible. On the whole, the book was pretty grim, with a focus very much away from the romance, concentrating more so on Avry's general badassery and the fantasy side of things. I have to admit that the lack of romance was slightly disappointing, but it was certainly made up for in world building.

There is really fantastic world building in Scent of Magic. Snyder just pulls out these amazing high fantasy settings that are quite memorable. She has interesting and unique ideas- in this series, it's the Peace and Death Lilies. The thread of mystery surrounding the Lilies was embedded firmly into the plot- and I for one am pretty interested in seeing this aspect finally solved in the third book.

Scent of Magic has a dual narrative perspective with Avry's in first person and Kerrick's in third person. I think that this was done quite well, with the two characters each having a distinctive voice. We're introduced to several new characters, one of the most interesting of which was Ursan- a soldier in the army fighting against Tohon, who helps Avry out at several points in the book. Unfortunately, things don't go well for him either, the poor guy. I also really liked seeing Danny's growth- damn that kid is sneaky. His character is developed much further, and wow, is he freaking awesome! I hope he has a large role to play in the third book.

I crossed my arms. "You sound like Kerrick."
"Thank you."
"Uh-huh. You do know I disobeyed almost all of his orders. Right?" I suppressed a grin.
"I do. But I'm smarter than Kerrick."
"You are?"
"Oh, yes. I know the magic word."
"And that would be?"

There's a fair bit of Snyder-style humour scattered throughout the novel, which aids in lightening the tension and general grim-ness of the book. Towards the end, OH THE DRAMATIC IRONY! You'll understand what I mean when you read the book, but basically, because we get both points of view rather than just the respective halves that Avry and Kerrick get, it's excruciating when the characters think certain things that we know are wrong. Also, DAT ENDING. December can't come fast enough....


Overall: 9/10
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 4/5