Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Scent of Magic (Healer #2), Maria V. Snyder

scent of magic maria v. snyder Australian coverTitle: Scent of Magic
Author: Maria V. Snyder (author website | blog)
Release Date:  Jan. 1st 2013 by HarlequinTeen Australia
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star

There’s a comfort returning to the pages and world of a favourite author: a sense of familiarity and trust that where she leads, you will follow. With this firmly in mind, I enter any Maria V. Snyder novel with excitement, and, in Scent of Magic, was well rewarded. With romance, intrigue, magic and war, I was thrilled, but even more delighted to find myself surprised.
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

After healing the dying Prince Ryne at the cost of her life, no-one’s more surprised to find herself alive than Avry of Kazan. We join Avry and Kerrick where we left them, together at last, but Avry’s ‘death’ provides opportunities too good to ignore, and the couple are soon separated, providing the catalyst for the first of many surprises Scent of Magic has in store.

As Avry and Kerrick separate, so too does Scent of Magic’s narrative, a first in Snyder’s novels. While Avry assumes a new identity, travelling to join the army of High Priestess Estrid, Kerrick reunites with Prince Ryne, helping to rally his troops and join Estrid in the fight against the evil King Tohon. If this has you confused, you’re not alone. While Scent of Magic is not the place to enter this series, and it took some few chapters to acclimate, its world and characters re-emerge from the shadows swiftly, and at this, it takes off.

Scent of Magic is, perhaps, Snyder’s most action-packed novel to date. When ‘The Plan’ goes awry, Avry and Kerrick’s paths careen off in disparate directions and, with each alternating chapter ending on a high-stakes note for both leads, maintains a rocketing pace, an element sometimes lost to the minutiae of High Fantasy — though a typical fantasy novelist this author is not.

Snyder has a particular talent for writing strong, capable and intelligent leads, and Avry is, of course, no exception. Even better, Avry’s grown since Touch of Power, and been shaped by her experience. No longer running from danger, she confronts it. She assumes a ‘woman of action’ role in Scent of Magic and, separated from her lover and protector, readers are shown what she’s truly capable of. With magical healing abilities, feared powers, and a knack for finding herself desperately entangled with the Powers That Be, Avry could easily be compared to Snyder’s most memorable heroine, Yelena, but possesses a spark and a special magic all of her own.

Kerrick, meanwhile, gets his moment to shine like no other Snyder hero has, and his job is harder, even, than Avry’s. Beaten, kidnapped and held captive, he becomes a more flawed and relatable hero, and through his eyes we learn more about the magic and construct of the Fifteen Realms. Kerrick’s intimate knowledge of his world’s workings is a welcome addition, offering form and familiarity to a complex world system that would otherwise prove confusing.

While it’s no surprise a Snyder novel offers wonderful leads, there's an interesting moral ambiguity in the Healer series’ characters, one which seems absent from Snyder's previous work, at least in comparison. It boasts a vile, narcissistic, megalomaniac villain, made all the worse as he genuinely believes his evils are justified in the scheme of things, for the greater good – and may just have a point. Meanwhile, the ‘good guys’ themselves don't seem quite ‘good’, and it offers a plethora of opportunities for unexpected twists, turns, and surprises.

The Verdict:

High stakes, gripping intrigue and an immersive magical world, Maria V. Snyder delivers yet another fantasy romp which will appeal to fans of Kristin Cashore, not to mention the inimitable Maria, herself. This is Snyder at the top of her game. Filled with unexpected betrayals, double crosses and an expansive cast of warm, wonderful supporting characters, Scent of Magic is surprising and compulsively readable, and one of Snyder’s finest offerings to date.

Books in This Series:

  1. Touch of Power (December 2011)

  2. Scent of Magic (January 2013)

  3. Taste of Death (Expected December 2013)

Want it? Get it:

Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Bookworld | Dymocks | QBD
An enormous thank you to Harlequin Teen Australia for providing a review copy of Scent of Magic


  1. Oh Kerrick . . . how I adore him like I do with all of Snyder's boys. And like you, I really enjoyed this sequel and the ending has really got me gearing up in excitement for the third book. Can't wait to read it! As always, lovely review!

  2. Great review, Sarah! I haven't read the first book yet, unfortunately. I made a start on it, but never did get the chance to finish it. I'm glad to hear Avry shows some character growth between books one and two though. :) I will have to make an attempt on this series again. I love this cover, by the way! The flower reminds me a little of the artwork used in the Covenant books by Jennifer L Armentrout...

  3. I have not read this series yet but whee action packed books, capable leads, and moral ambiguity! I feel like I would like this series. :)

  4. Fans of Kristin Cashore? Gosh, I need to pick this up ASAP in that case! I read and really enjoyed Snyder's Poison Study Series, but I haven't been a fan of much else of her writing, hence the reason I avoided this. I think I'll definitely need to pick it up, though, now. Fantastic review, Sarah! :)

  5. I read the first book, and really liked it -- especially the group dynamic -- so I'm glad to hear that it's so good. Snyder at the top of her game? Yes, please! I'm usually really against changing POVs, but I have to admit that I'm curious about Merrick's journey. Hopefully I'll read this one soon!

  6. I am intrigued to read Kerrick's point of view! AND THIS IS HER MOST ACTION PACKED NOVEL?! Brodie likes action!! *double punches imaginary foe*

    And... I'm also kind of excited to read more about Tohon, even though I can't recall warming to him in ToP. Your comments about him have me interested, damnit. I MUST get to my copy soon. No more excuses. AMAZINGLY PERSUASIVE REVIEW, SARAH <33

    I can totally imagine Brodie double punching and drop kicking and all judo-throwing the bad guy. Brodie Hathaway *nods*

    Wait. Did I just type that? O__o
    Seriously, I hate him. He's not like Warner, where there's a good side to his evil persona. Tohon *IS* evil. But he's intriguing evil. FASCINATING. AND I HOPE YOU LOVE IT, BRODIE ♥

  8. Oh, MVS is so good at that group dynamic. It was something she did really well in her Study series, as well. The dual-POV WORKS, Steph! I hope you like it! It's one of those devices I especially like in fantasy... perhaps because I EXPECT it? And and and... eeeee! I love it when you write fantasy reviews, too, so I can't wait to see what you think! ♥

  9. Oooh, Keertana, I get what you mean. Maria *IS* one of my favorite authors, but... she can be... inconsistent, I think is the right word.

    I liked her Glass series, because I liked being back in that world, but... mmm. I think that, if you liked her Study series, you'll love these. I can point a LOT of similarities, and, in a few ways, I think this is kind of like what the Study books would have been like if she'd written them 10 years late. They're still my favorites, but it's she's grown as a writer, and it's lovely seeing what she pulls out of that imagination. So... I think, Cashore appeal in the same way the Study series has it :)

    I hope you love! ♥

  10. ELEEEENA! Have you read anything by Maria? I LUUUURVE her. I really loved Touch of Power ♥

  11. SAMMMMMM! ♥
    Thank you!
    I really loved this, but I really loved book 1, also ;D


    Wait... it's either this one, or the Aussie cover of the first book, but seriously, one of them does have the same pic :D

  12. ERINNNN! ♥
    Seriously, though. Kerrick's extra swoony. He runs a VERY close second to Valek, for me ^__^

    THAT ENDING. RIGHT? Oh, I NEED book 3!

  13. Saraaaaaah! Why must you kill me with your perfect reviews? I completely agree with everything you said. This sequel was just so good and definitely had the most action! I'm so looking forward to uncovering more of the mystery. SO ready for book 3! <3

  14. I am way too confused because I haven't read the first book. But it does sound liks an interesting fantasy.

    Awesome review as ever.

  15. SARAHHHHHHHHHH! ANOTHER PERFECT REVIEW<3 I haven't read the first book yet (I know, HOW COULD I?!?!) but I'll definitely get started on it soon! Like, VERY SOON. I'm so happy Avry shows so much growth in this book :) That makes me want to start this series even more!! So glad you enjoyed this Sarah<3

  16. I liked this book a lot although I was sad that Avry and Kerrick were separated-I love them bantering together so much and missed that in this book. Interesting thoughts about how this series compares to Snyder's earlier work-I'll be thinking about them when I reread Poison Study and as I prep for Book 3.

  17. This has made me want to read this book even MORE now! It sounds so exciting and action-y and brilliant!! I have to admit, I read the first bit and got really confused - I couldn't remember where it left off as I read ToP sooo long ago! So really, I thank you for that reminder and look forward to reading the rest of this amazing book :D
    Great review as always Sarah <3

  18. Why I see no negatives in your review? Probably don't need to know since you've told me what you thought of it in a raw light. Glad you enjoyed it to the end and the review is :DDDDDD

  19. Eep! Why must you asplode my ego with your perfect comments? *huggles*

    I seriously loved this. It took me a little while to get into at first (I forgot so many places and characters), but unfh! As soon as I got my bearings I couldn't put it down. LOOOVED IT. And I kind of NEED book 3. Like... now? :D *grins*

  20. Because I wuv you.. ♥

    That seems to be the trend with Maria's books LOL. Take a while to remember all the crazy names, get sucked in and then sit wide-eyed when you're finished. "NO! THERE MUST BE MORE PAGES! THEY'RE INVISIBLE!"

  21. HA! Lisa! I seriously nearly spat my coffee all over my computer, laughing!

    Invisible pages? I LIKE THIS IDEA *RUNS OFF TO CHECK*


  22. Maybe we need special glasses to see them.... *runs to hassle Maria for a pair*

  23. MAGICAL GLASSES, YOU SAY? Maybe Miss Lovegood will lend us hers? They're PRETTY :D

  24. Those things are so out of this world kooky LOL. You can have them :P

  25. Oooooh, J, I wondered if I wrote that... confusingly? Hmmm... you know, that's an interesting point. Do I write a synopsis which is... spoilery? Or not. Hmph. I'm going to to work on that in future series reviews :)

    Maria's one of my fave authors. Very VERY swoony romance with electric tension and... actual ACTION, but still very clean. I actually would recommend Poison Study and Scent of Magic to you (mostly because I WANT TO SEE WHAT YOU WOULD THINK :P)

  26. I didn't read your review because I haven't read the first one yet and I don't want to be spoiled! But I am SO excited to read this series. LOVE Maria V. Snyder!

  27. SHIRLEY ♥
    Thank you! I really REALLY love Maria, and it's always wonderful starting a book by an author you love and and and... Have you read any of her other books? This series reminds me a lot of the Study ones and and and... eeeee! Thank you so much! ♥

  28. <3

    Noooo unfortunately I haven't read ANY of Maria's books :( Pretty sad I know! I've been meaning to read her Study series, but I haven't had the chance to buy/borrow them. But I WILL read them one day! Her Healer series as well :D

  29. I started out liking this book a lot more than I liked Touch of Power, but by the time I got to the end, I was disappointed. I'm not sure why but this book just didn't do it for me. And I'll be honest, I thought the ending was kind of cheap. I still am a huge fan of this author and she is one of my favorites, but this book let me down a little bit. I'm so glad it worked for you though. I will definitely be reading on, but I'm lowering my expectations a little.

  30. Wow!! Just wow.. I'm loving the loo of this book. And the cover is sooo pretty.. I'm definitely getting this one!

  31. oopsy I meant look not loo...

  32. This is one series, that I have yet to pick up! I haven't read any book by Maria, but I have heard that this series is one of her best! Your cover is so much more different than mine... In some ways I prefer it! Though It does remind me of The Covenant series, even though I haven't that series yet either... *facepalms* :P Lovely Review as ever Sarah! <3

  33. Everyone is mad gushing about this I am obviously missing out on something real good. Very informative review, this works for me because I can't read YA lately so at least my curiosity is sated a bit.

  34. Best review - I'm currently reading this one at the moment! Hopefully I will find as much love for it as you did :)

  35. If I remember correctly (it has been a while...), I really enjoyed the first book. I think I was nervous about starting the next because I didn't like the second or third books in her Study series. After seeing your review, I feel like I should give it a shot.


  36. Yaaaaaaay! I'm so excited to start reading this tomorrow!

  37. I haven't read any of these books yet, but after reading your review it has me really wanting to snuggle up and enjoy getting swept away into it's pages.

  38. I have yet to read this. Very helpful thank you.

  39. Great review! I really liked Scent of Magic too, definitely Snyder's best series so far :) Her characters are just so well developed.

  40. This review is extremely encouraging. I remember reading the beginning of Scent of Magic and putting it aside because of the slow start (ie there wasnt enough Avry/Kerrick romance, especially after such an epic ending to Touch of Power). But I definitely think I'll give it a second go after reading this review :)

  41. Sounds great! Just my cup of tea :) I will definatley have to put Touch of Power on my reading list as Scent of Magic sounds delightful.

  42. I LOVE this book .its like at the end of each chapter Maria gives you a blow; something happens that causes suspense.Maria,YOU ARE THE BEST! But I wish I could get Taste of Death. Can't wait till December



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