Monday, March 25, 2013

Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

Scent of Magic
Book 2 in the Healer Series
by Maria V. Snyder
I'm confessing right now, these books (as in, ANY Maria V. Snyder book) are my guilty pleasures. Are they the best stories in the world? No. Are the main characters terrible Mary Sues? Yes. But are they fun and fast reads anyways? Hell yes. If you're looking for the most beautiful, amazing fantasy you've ever read, this isn't it. If you're looking for a fun, fast read in which you can sit back and just enjoy a goofy story... this is for you. I would absolutely send these books along and share them with people I know would enjoy them. Are they the people who read things like Tolkien or George R. R. Martin? Abercrombie or Cook? No. Are they the kind of people who enjoy authors like Condie, Meyers and Evonavitch? Yes, and that is not a criticism.

If you have not read TOUCH OF POWER (BOOK 1)
do not read this review, there are spoilers.

Amazon Synopsis:
As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomaniacal 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 confidant, 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.

 Avry: Main character, and as the last line of the the synopsis implies... a bit of a Mary Sue. I have to admit, so far I enjoy Avry... despite Snyder repeatedly writing dreadful Mary Sue girls, they are usually likeable, which is their saving grace. I feel like Avry is a bit more toned down than some of Snyder's other heroines... but then, this is only book 2.

Kerrick: The leading man, Prince of his own realm, mage of the forest and all around smouldering love interest. He's off having adventures of his own this time, and I appreciated the split chapters.
Noelle: Avry's sister, introduced in book 1 as blaming Avry for abandoning her... a big part of Avry's mission in this book is winning back her sister's love.

Tohon: Still a dick.

Ryne: The prince that Avry risked her life for in the last book spends his time earning it this book. Ryne is still a bit of a vague character, but he is likeable.

Belen: Ol' Papa Bear returns and you find yourself enjoying his company once again.

The Monkeys: Now assigned to guard Prince Ryne, the Monkeys really haven't changed... at all.

Ursin: Leader of "The Jumping Jacks", one of Estrid's troup of soldiers, he is the first one that Avry really deals with as she tries to be covert, but he's got a secret of his own that doesn't help her stealthiness at all.

Estrid: Leader of the main army opposing Tohon. She seems fair and intellegent, even if she's got a bit of over the top religious fervor.

Cellina: Tohon's lackey

Noak: Son of the leader of the people from the Wilderness. He takes Kerrick and Danny prisoner. He also has a strange "Winter Magic" that he uses against Kerrick.

Danny: Young boy rescued by Avry in the last book, has healing potential because he survived the Death Lily Toxin. Sneaks along with Kerrick, thus getting Kerrick in a lot of trouble, but proves useful as a non-magical healer, because he wants to follow in Avry's footsteps.

Rakel: Noak's sister, has mysterious "Summer Magic"

Yet another fun, quick romp through one of Snyder's worlds... this book is a fast read and for the most part, enjoyable.
The book starts out with Avry and Kerrick parting ways. At the end of the first book, we saw Avry survive the "unsurvivable" and learn that the Lilies had more of a part to play than anyone realized. Kerrick is going to reunite with Ryne and get the army moving while Avry is going to find her sister and go undercover in the world, since it's now believed she's dead.
Kerrick ends up in the North, facing an invasion from the Wildmen, and finding out that what he thought to be true might not be.
Avry, on the other hand, takes up her mother's name and becomes a Sergeant in Estrid's army, where she's quickly outed as having magic and being a healer. As is the way with most of Snyder's leading ladies, subtle isn't really her thing.
This story spends a lot of time without a lot of action. There are extensive training sequences, and a lot of "putting the pieces in place", but other than that, not much really happens until the very end. There is a constant referring to the fact that Tohon has *got* to have spies in camp, but no real effort to figure out who they might be. People who were pretty evil in the last book seem a bit distracted in this one, and in general everyone is pretty forgiving of Avry, since they're mainly just glad she's alive (whether because they were her friend, or because she is the last known healer EVER). 
More strange things occur with the lilies, some of which I'm not entirely clear on myself... and then there is "the death". The author kills off a character and I'm going to be honest... I don't understand why. Unless there's going to be some magical resurrection, which I don't think there is. It was just such a pointless death... and I have to wonder, IS there a plan, or did the author just get sick of writing that angle of the plot? It seemed unfinished. Based on reading Snyder's other stories, I could make a comment here... because this is a "death" that she seems to fall back on a lot, to try to really make the reader feel for the main character... but this time I just didn't buy it. It was too ill-placed in the story, too abrupt and really, it made the whole earlier story and anything referencing the relationship just seem like a real waste of my time. In other words, it pissed me off, but not in an "invested, emotional reader" way. More like in a "Wow, what a waste of time" way... and that's never good.
There were also some really, really, really awful cheesy lines. One that comes to mind, "My man has eyes that change colors with the seasons"... or something equally vomit-worthy. This happens a couple of times in the books, and I couldnt' help but thing, "Ew... would Avry really say that? And people didn't laugh at her?" I don't know... it's just over-the-top stuff like that where I really think Snyder is missing the mark on being a great author vs. a guilty pleasure read.

All in all, though, it's still a fun fast read, and I'll be picking up the next one on April 1st. The stories are cute, and the time investment is small, so yeah, despite my grumblings... Snyder is going to win my hard earned dollars in the end, because it's still a fun, fast romp through girlie fantasy fiction. 


  1. great review i loved how you characterized them all perfectly .... oh i want to read the next book so bad...

    Le' Grande Codex

    (my review of the book)

    1. Soon! It will be out soooo soon! I'm excited to read the next one. XD Yeah, I wanted to put a few more characters on that list, but I figured I'd leave them out... because listing them might draw too much attention to them... I'll get em in the next book review. XD

  2. bahaha loved your review. I didn't enjoy this as much as Touch of Power but still a fun read.

    Here's my review if you feel like checking it out

    1. Yeah, me either... there was a whole lot of not much actually going on in this book, other than one really long training montage XD
      Still enjoyable, but not as exciting as book 1.