Scent of Magic (Healer #2)FeaturedHot
As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avery 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, Avery 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, Avery 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 Avery is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible ... again.
One of the best thing about reading Snyder books is that they will always be chock full of incredibly strong, sassy women. Avry, the heroine, of course, has healing powers, which can also be used to fight, in addition to being well-trained with weapons. On top of that, she's incredibly bright and willing to do just about anything to help friends, and almost as much to help people she does not even know. What I love about her is how little vanity she has; at one point, she offers to heal a friend's facial injury to save her from the scars, even though then Avry would have to bear them instead. She also prefers practical clothing to beautiful dresses.
However, Avry's not the only strong woman in the book. Jael and Celline are varying degrees of bad guys, but are incredibly powerful. Even better, women fight in the armies of this world and can even rise to positions of authority. Women like Leah and Wynn do not have any powers to aid them, but they still kick so much butt. A lot of novels have strong heroines, but, in order to emphasize her uniqueness, otherwise contain only meek female characters.
Snyder also gets the villain just right. Tohon ranks pretty high up on the list of villains that horrify me. He has insanely powerful magic, which he can use to make zombies and to make Avry weak in the knees (I did not like what happened with that at all btw). Aside from that, he's crazy. He goes from friendly to murderous in no time; his moods are unpredictable. Not only that but Tohon's the brilliant kind of crazy: he pretty much equals Ryne for military strategy. Basically, he's terrifying because it's very easy to imagine him winning.
Sadly, I didn't feel the same love for this installment as the previous. I think a lot of that had to do with the separation of Kerrick and Avry. At the end of the first chapter, Kerrick and Avry part ways to accomplish different things in the war against Tohon. One of my favorite things about Touch of Power was the dynamic between the two of them, which obviously can't happen if they're not together. Plus, now that they're a couple, they don't have the same sexy banter that they did before even when they're together.
The other issue with the two of them being apart for most of the novel is that Snyder changed the narrative style. All of Touch of Power was from Avry's first person perspective, even when the group separated from what I recall. In this one, Snyder added relatively brief chapters from Kerrick's perspective. Avry's perspective remains in first person, but Kerrick's bits are in third person limited. This device might have worked better for me had his sections been counted as chapters (only Avry's are numbered, while his are headed merely Kerrick) and been written in first person as well.
These next couple of points will reference spoilers, though without specifics. While I love these characters and want them all to survive, you guys know how much I appreciate an author that will make their characters really suffer. Snyder can do this, I know she can, but she doesn't exhibit that ruthlessness here. Everyone freaking kept coming back to life! It's to the point of absurdity. Sure, a few people Avry cares about dies, but the main characters can apparently not be killed. That really lessens the impact of the plot.
Despite those issues, I was still debating between 3.5 and 4 for the rating, since I did really enjoy the book and get caught up in it. The deciding factor ended up being the ending. The fact that she ended this installment on the exact same cliffhanger as book one makes me want to throw all the things. Avry and Kerrick are once again united and temporarily safe, but one of them might die of a disease! Oh noes! Obviously neither of them is going to die permanently, so why even bother?
In spite of everything, I did still quite enjoy reading Scent of Magic and will be eagerly awaiting book three, and really anything Maria V. Snyder chooses to write. I need to find time to read her first series, because I've heard it is worlds better than this one, which I like a lot.
Maria...Maria...this could’ve been so much better. I fell absolutely in love with the Healer world after book 1, Touch of Power. The characters were amazing, the plot was stunning, the romance was smoky. Perfect! I just have to say that I love book 1 a lot more than Scent of Magic. Book 2 left me a little disappointed.
Scent of Magic starts off right where T.O.P. left off, when a Peace Lily saves Avry from almost certain death. The world thinks she is dead, since there has never been a survivor of the lethal plague. Avry finally gets the reprieve she’s longed for, sort of. She can move around much more freely than before, as long as she hides her infamous healer face. Using this to her advantage, she splits with Kerrick and goes to infiltrate Estrid and Jael’s army against Tohon, while Kerrick returns to his own kingdom to rally his army.
Rewind. She splits with Kerrick. This is one of the points that made Scent of Magic disappointing in my opinion. I don’t mean they broke up or anything, but they aren’t seen together for almost all of the book. I missed the sarcastic banter and sweet romance between them. It was one of the things that absorbed me into T.O.P. so much. The original gang I loved is in shambles. Flea dead, Belen, Loren, and Quain are in one direction, Kerrick in the other, and Avry in yet another!
Scent of Magic is told in dual POV’s by Kerrick and Avry. There are basically two plots going on, one with the main character Kerrick, and the other with Avry. They’re on two completely different agendas, which kind of irked me off because I wish they had some show time together. If you haven’t read S.O.M. yet, you might be squealing your head off right now hearing about Kerrick POV. I know I was. Yes, he is one swoony boy, but not exactly the best narrator. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I actually was dreading to read Kerrick POV sometimes because all of the interesting stuff happens in Avry’s story. His narration was actually quite dull in comparison.
Okay now onto the good stuff. As I said before, all of the interesting stuff happens in Avry’s POV. She infiltrates Jael’s army, who is her arch-nemesis, and it’s really interesting watching Avry trying evade Jael finding out her true identity! There were lots of close calls that honestly left me shaking a little. I especially liked how Snyder basically ended each Avry chapter with a mini-cliffhanger! I think she has earned herself the title: 2nd Queen of Cliffhangers (after JLA of course :D). It made me want to read the next chapter so badly, which is probably why I found Kerrick chapters bland. Along with trying to fit in, Avry is trying her best to win her sister Noelle over again (I do not like that girl). There was a huge twist in the plot right at the end, and I did not see it coming! Actually there are several twists, but there is one biggy that left me completely reeling for the next book. I’m also wondering about Tohon’s feelings for Avry...real? Or just ambition? Scent of Magic is full of intrigue, and will keep your mind spinning in all directions!
While this was a little disappointing, I will continue to read this series. The final installment, Taste of Death will be out at the end of 2013, and I am eager to see how Maria V. Snyder will conclude this series!
I disagree with Steph on some of her points. I didn’t find Avry and Kerrick’s separation terrible to read about because of the amazing plot. I didn’t find Kerrick’s half of the plot bland at all. I loved to see the world from Kerrick’s perspective and laugh about all the people and things he found annoying. One of the funniest parts in the entire book is when he is bickering with his brother! It was so cute and romantic when both were pining and dreaming about each other in consecutive chapters. Kerrick constantly calculated the amount of days it would take to travel from his current location to where Avry was.
Constant switches of narrators and of course Maria V. Snyder trademark of ending chapter in cliffhanger make Scent of Magic intense and quick read. Very soon you will be surprised that you have reached the end. And then - there's another surprise for you. Another HUGE CLIFFHANGER. I hate when books end in cliffhangers. It feels like a cheap trick to build the tension and inspire the readers to buy the next book. Since the next part of Healer series, Taste of Death, is scheduled for December 2013 - we are doomed to die slowly from curiosity.
Avry is still one of the most intricately woven characters in ya fantasy that I encountered. I admire Maria V. Snyder how she combined Avry's healer abilities and feelings with sense of justice and also how they influence her decisions in battle for freedom. When your first impulse is to heal, it's much harder to hurt someone. Avry is perfectly human and someone to whom I can easily relate too.
But, one of the things I missed here are members of Kerrick's fellowship. Avry is on new mission and she changed old fellowship for new one, but the pranks, warmth and cute side characters that I loved so much were missing. Kerrick's gang is scattered and interactions, humor and love between them (that was one of my favorite parts in Touch of Power) barely exists in Scent of Magic.
Also, although Avry has a couple of encounters with lilies in the book I don't feel like there is much discovery on this topic. I hoped that Scent of Magic will give us more explanations about influence of lilies to humans. Lily is my favorite flower, so naturally I was interested to find out more about them, but Scent of Magic just adds more questions to their mystery.
Overall, Scent of Magic is a really strong second book full of exciting action. Now we have to sit and eagerly wait for the next one. Will it be intense and full of adventures? I do not have any doubt. After all - "...it's Avry. Trouble always follows her."
I recommend this book to fans of: ya fantasy, realistic down-to-earth heroines.
Sometimes authors slack off a bit with the world building in the second book, but not Snyder. Her world building is perfect, because there is not too much that it gets boring, but not too little so that we couldn't learn anything about Avry's world. We finally get to see some of the Northern Realms in this book, and also explore more parts of the world we already knew.
I was debating whether to give a 4 star or a 5 star for the characters, but in the end settled on 5 stars because the good stuff about the characters quite outnumbered the bad things.
I love Avry. She's strong, willing to make sacrifices, not too shallow, and she's a healer!!! :) The only problem I had with her was that she was sometimes too compulsive, she didn't stop to consider and follow other people's advice. But that wasn't too much of a problem, because Avry always manages to wiggle out of those tough situations. She wasn't the only strong female though. This book is just full of kick-ass females, even the evil ones, and even the ones who don't have magic.
Tohon, what can I say? He ranks pretty high on the "evil" list. He has powerful magic, which he uses to his own evil purpose, he's crazy, goes from friendly to murderous. The worst thing about him is he's so smart and powerful that you can imagine him winning this war.
In this one, Avry and Kerrick are separated. I think this is quite a big part of the reason why I preferred Touch of Power. The dynamic and the aggravated banter between the two of them was a very enjoyable part of the first book.
(SPOILER ALERT) And why does everyone keep coming back to life?! What, are these main characters invincible or something? Sure, some important people did die, but the really big characters just can't die. It's like, he's dead, oh no! everyone panic...... oh. hi. there you are. (END SPOILER)
I hated that cliffhanger. Now I have to wait, what, (goes to check release date of next book) another ye - *splutters* ANOTHER YEAR!?!?!?!?!? Okay, fine, it's not a full year, it comes out December this year but *splutters some more* to see what happened...
I really hope it's not the end of ... (not divulging anything here)
Please Maria, write as fast as you can.
I've always loved the worlds that Maria V. Snyder creates, they are magical and the descriptions themselves are even more so. I sometimes dream of living in Synder's worlds, whether it's in Ixia or the Fifteen Realms, they are always amazing. I love how she spends time creating different traditions, appearances and people from each of the Fifteen Realms, which makes this world even more real.
I love the introduction of Kerrick's point of view. Without it, we would of never meet the Northern Tribes, which have tonnes of great new characters, and I believe that the Tribes would help to fight Tohon's forces. Kerrick's view also brought excitement to the story when nothing was happening with Avry's side of the story.
I love Avry, I really do. She's intelligent, funny and witty, but sometimes she makes poor decisions, and doesn't listen to others, and she always thinks her way is the right way. I hate how she ignores very good advice, and only heeds her own. She can't look beyond herself sometimes. She didn't even process Ursan's warning until right at the very end, and I thought it was a really obvious clue. I think she needs to slow down, listen to other people, and think more clearly. Otherwise she is an awesome protagonist.
I think the mystery of the Peace and Death Lilies was really clever, and it was quite hard to work out was happening. I think that Avry got things a little bit too quickly in this book, but it still had her guessing, and clueless sometimes. I hope the whole mystery hasn't been solved, because I love it to much.
Once again, Maria V. Snyder has come out with another great book that I have fallen in love with. I hope she writes real fast, because already I can hardly wait for the next one.
I love the world that she's created. It has magic elements, but I can totally see myself a part of what she describes. There are beautiful descriptions as well as awesome emotional detail that pulls me in and has me invested in the characters. When something happens, whether it is tragedy striking or a moment of joy, I want to celebrate or cry right along with them.
I loved being in Avry's head, and the use of 1st person POV. She has such a great voice and she amuses me with her wit and awes me with her intelligence. It is always a pleasure to watch her interact with Kerrick, Belen, the monkeys as well as some new and intriguing characters she finds herself surrounded by. She commands respect, even if it is not at first glance. She knows her craft, and I enjoy that confidence.
We also get to be in Kerrick's head, and that is also quite a perspective. The only thing that threw me, was the switches in POV and perspective. It was fine mostly going from 1st to 3rd person, but in the arc, there was really no indication that it was switching and I would often be confused until I realized that the perspectives had switched. This is an easy fix, and I am hoping that the finished copy will have something more distinctive.
Anyways, back to more of what I loved. There was so many things going on with the plot, and Avry kept finding new ways to get herself in the thick of action, "in trouble again." This book is in no way a filler, there was so many major events that happened, as well as new trials and plots that bring more to be resolved in the next book. Speaking of, I cannot wait to get it in my hands and find out what happens next.
Bottom line: I love this series, the characters and Maria's writing.