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Scent of Magic (Healer) Paperback – December 18, 2012
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"Filled with Snyder's trademark sarcastic humor, fast-paced action and creepy villainy, Touch of Power is a spellbinding romantic adventure that will leave readers salivating for the next book in the series."-USA TODAY
"The descriptions are vivid and draw you into the rugged journey across the mountains. You'll want to follow their voyage into the next book."-RT Book Reviews on Touch of Power
"This is one of those rare books that will keep readers dreaming long after they've read it."-Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Poison Study
"Snyder delivers another excellent adventure."-Publishers Weekly on Fire Study
"A compelling new fantasy series."-SFX magazine on Sea Glass
About the Author
Maria V. Snyder is the New York Times bestselling author of the Study series, the Glass series, the Healer series, Inside Out, and Outside In. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology from Penn State and a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part ways with Seton Hill, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Find her on the Web at MariaVSnyder.com.
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This odd twist is also found in the secondary characters. All the relationships first built are now separate. Avry ends up with a whole new set of people to interact with. While the story is still a good one, the characters needed to have a chance to develop together before pulling them apart.
Even so, this book would have rated 4 stars if not for the ending. Really? REALLY? We are FINALLY allowed the reunion only to have it ripped from us... And, the cliffhanger reeks of manipulation. After over 400 pages the reader is not allowed any closure but teased with a taste then thrown right off that jagged cliff. Seriously, if the writing weren't so well done, three stars would have been a dream.
Avry goes undercover in the second installment of the Healer series. While I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first, it was still really good. Avry remains an intelligent, likable protagonist. The characters throughout the story have strong motivations for their actions, and all of them move the narrative forward in some way. The political intrigue deepens as important players move around the setting. I’m honestly interested to see if she can wrap up all the loose ends in one book.
Probably the biggest departure of this novel is adding alternating chapters between Avry’s and Kerrick’ POV. It was a tad jarring at first, but I eventually fell into the groove. It probably wouldn’t have been as jarring had Avry’s chapters not been in first person, while Kerrick’s chapters were in third person. A lot happens during their escapades so the need for both perspectives is understandable.
Verdict: Read it! If you liked the first one, you will enjoy this installment of the series. Strong characters, intriguing setting, and forward movement of the plot all makes this an enjoyable novel.
At the end of Touch of Power, Avery healed King Ryne, taking his sickness into herself. Since no healer had ever recovered from healing a plague victim, she is presumed dead, which means, for the first time in years, no one is hunting her. Or expecting her. She uses this opportunity to go undercover, and gather intel in Estrid's camp. She leaves Kerrick behind, disguises herself, takes up a new name, and infiltrates the camp under the guise of a trainer. She teaches troops Kerrick's technique for moving through the forest silently. This role puts her on the knifes-edge of danger. The troops don't trust her - assuming she's a spy. Jael still wants her dead. An unknown informant hides somewhere in the camp. Tohan invades her dreams every night - if he were to discover she was still alive, he'd hunt her. And any one of her friends could unwittingly expose her. She can trust no one.
Meanwhile, Ryne sends Kerrick to the north to gather troops. Back in his homeland, he finds his country at war. The savage tribes of the north have invaded. Kerrick's people are losing ground, and in no position to take up arms in Ryne's cause. Kerrick must find a way to keep his kingdom safe, and return to Ryne and the woman he loves in time to rescue them from Tohan's armies.
This action in Scent of Magic starts from page one, and doesn't let up. The first half of the book is full of cloak and dagger suspense, the last half focuses on all-out war. The strategies used in battle are intelligent, well thought out, and realistically executed. I could actually believe that the war was being spearheaded by two tactical geniuses - Tohan and Ryne. There are victories, and losses, and betrayals from unexpected quarters.
Every character in this book is likeable, even the villain, but that's no surprise to anyone who is familiar with Snyder's work. She knows how to write characters. What made this book stand out when compared to previous series was the character development. In her earlier series, any growth the characters experienced seemed to be forgotten and lost between books. In Scent of Magic Avery and Kerrick both seem to remember the lessons they learned in the first book. They are both better versions of themselves, and they grow even more in Scent.
The story progression is well structured and cohesive. Scent took the story set forth in Touch and builds on it, moves it forward convincingly. I might even go so far as to say the sequel is a more engaging than its predecessor. The stakes are higher, the consequences for failure more dire.
I really can't say enough good things about this book. While Poison Study remains my favorite standalone story (since I didn't like the sequels), Healer is quickly becoming my favorite series by this author. The writing is stronger. It feels like Snyder has found her stride as an author. Her current work is well structured, and beautifully executed. Fans of the first book will not be disappointed.