Title: Taste of Darkness, Avry of Kazan/Healer #3
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publication: January 1st, 2014 from Harlequin Teen Australia
Format, pages: Paperback, 458
Source: Publisher
Age Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

From Goodreads:

She’s fought death and won. But how can she fight her fears?

Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he’s gone forever.

But there’s a more immediate threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry’s healing powers are needed now more than ever.Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully. For the future of her world depends on her decision.

I love Maria V. Snyder, her self and her work (don’t get me wrong), but Taste of Darkness was completely short from what I was expecting from this conclusion to Avry of Kazan’s story. Maybe I’m still waiting for that day when a sequel to Outside In arrives at my doorstep, writing off any other future book by Snyder as inferior. But that’s not the reason why, which I had realised sitting on this review for about a week.

The reason is simply: I’ve seen most of Taste of Darkness before in Snyder’s previous works. Obviously we have Avry and Kerrick, Flea and the lilies, lovely characters to read about. Yet what happens in Taste of Darkness is another (and another and another and another) game of cat and mouse, where the mouse (Avry) pretends to surrender and get caught and then is saved shortly after by her band of mice. That’s all it was. We’ve seen our heroine in the Study trilogy, Yelena, do that, and we’ve seen Opal do that in the Glass trilogy, if I’m not mistaken. I wanted something new to read about, a new conflict, a new device to push the story forward; not the same thing time and time again. And even if Snyder’s previous work had not involved such a device, I would have been snoozing left, right, and centre.

Of course, that’s insubstantial when you have fantastic characters, but that unfortunately isn’t the case with Taste of Darkness. (Avry, you don’t need Kerrick by your side all the time!)

Also, Taste of Darkness lacked any big build-up whatsoever, lacked a grander fight between Avry and Tohon. So disappointing, and how it ended was even more so, save for the HPE Avry got – oh, SPOILER! (Too bad.) For how long this concluding book was I would have expecting Taste of Darkness to have an ending to blow me away. Alas, you can’t get everything. Maybe we’ll get spin-off series for the other characters, like glassmaker Pearl who appeared in the Study trilogy? Who knows. Snyder is a cunning author.

Taste of Darkness dragged from page one for me, and the pacing was god-awful slow.

I wish I could write more, but all that comes to my head is: Please, Sir Ma’am, I want some more… unconventionality.

And then Snyder will be all…


…because there’ll never be an Outside In sequel, except for only in my dreams.

I went over comments from my Scent of Magic review and Sarah (@saz101) had said that Maria V. Snyder peaks at her first books but then goes downhill – that has been true for the Healer series for me unfortunately.

Books in the ‘Healer’ series:
1. Touch of Power (December, 2011; Republication: December, 2012)
2. Scent of Magic (January, 2013)
3. Taste of Darkness (January, 2014)

Other books by Maria V. Snyder:
• Study
• Glass
• Inside Out 

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which we list our top tens of different topics each week!

This week’s topic is “top ten books I wish could have had sequels”.

These books were complete stories but I could just read more about that world or the characters. Many of mine will be favourite series that have concluded… and I just can’t bear to let them go.

I also create titles for them.

(I also apologise for my crappy photoshop skills… I believe my skills are much more better than what’s present here on this post.)

• • •


1. GO BUY THESE BOOKS SO I CAN GET A THIRD! Please. Pretty please. Or I’ll call forth the killer unicorns and direct them towards you with their poisonous alicorns.

. inside

2. I miss Trella and Sheepy. I’ve needed a book three since I read Outside In almost two years ago.



3. Sticks (Lucas), Bill’s best gay friend with cerebral palsy, needs his own book. Seriously. Will, get on it!



4. I’m content with how the Gone series concluded in Light, just like I was with Mockingjay, but I still would love there to be another book. A book with the kids as adults and them revisiting Perdido Beach and recounting all the events that occurred during the FAYZ and even before, how their lives were before the barrier came. I guess the pilot script I’ve written for a TV series of this series has Sam as a 20-something year old recounting the events in the FAYZ to his psychiatrist. If I am able to have my idea for a Gone TV series worked out, then that would be good enough for me and I won’t need another book because I explore both how they were before the FAYZ and how they are as adults – call it fan fiction if you will, but it’s one that I do to really see come to light.



5. This beautiful trilogy ended perfectly, it was written perfectly. A book about adult Tariq though would be a nice addition this series.



6. I can see a fourth book. After the ending of Shine Light, yep. It may be open-ended, but not in my head. Someone needs to be found, even if he doesn’t want to be found.



7. So… that was a difficult title to come up with. I love Eon and Eona so a third book is only in my sight – though what’s with authors not leaving themselves room to make adequate and good enough titles? (I’m looking at you Maria V. Snyder, too.)



8. Of course there’s Harry Potter. Though I can’t come up with a good title… Harry Potter and the Ministry Future?


9.  I’m slacking off here but I’d like to see more of the Across the Universe series because I want to learn more about the city on Centauri-Earth they wind up finding. Sorry if that’s a spoiler but it was always going to happen.

10. And a second book for Markus Zusak’s I Am the Messenger. A great book that needs a sequel. More cards need to be played.

 • • •

Which books or series would you like there to be a sequel if there isn’t already?


Title: Scent of Magic, Healer #2
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publication: January 1st, 2013 by Harlequin Teen Australia
Format: ARC Paperback, 414
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

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.

No matter what Maria V. Snyder writes I will always read her books – even if I didn’t enjoy some but loved others. There’s a excitement when there isn’t much excitement, there’s thrills when there aren’t many thrills, there’s greatness when there isn’t much greatness – basically, what I’m saying, is that some of Maria’s books, although I don’t enjoy them as much as I would like to, there’s a certain angle that I try to avoid when reading so I don’t finish the book disappointed (with the exception of Inside Out and Outside In, which I love and only wished there was a third already!); I create my own illusion, even if I am bored for the first hundred or so pages and it took quite a bit to get into it. Scent of Magic was one such book. It took a while for me to get into Scent of Magic, much longer than what it took me to get into its predecessor Touch of Power. The magical elements of this series are really the only thing that keeps me interested – Avry’s healer abilities, the different types of magicians, the Death and Peace lilies.

The plot dragged on quite a bit, making me lose interest easily and not care for much of the book, just wanting it to be over. Scent of Magic was told through Avry’s (in first) and Kerrick’s (in third) perspectives, presenting a change from the previous book and allowing us to follow Kerrick as he tries to accomplish an objective in his part of the kingdom as well as Avry as she… to be honest, I never understood why she did some stuff in Scent of Magic – oh yeah, because she was thought to be dead and still tries to be the strong heroine this fantasy world so desperately needs. Kerrick’s chapters were quite quick with only a few pages in each so I suppose I found myself more intrigued with his storyline than Avry’s.

Avry underwent quite a bit of transformation in Touch of Power. She went from being a secretive and innocent girl with the ability to heal, and the last of her kind, to a strong-minded and determined heroine following the likes of Yelena, Pearl and Trella. Avry taught so many of those around her how to do certain things and became someone others looked up to. I was expecting something much more from Avry in Scent of Magic, something different, but she remained the same, teaching people, healing people, deceiving people (for the betterment of others). Of course that’s the type of individual she is, but she seemed less independent in Scent of Magic than when we first met her as every chapter has her wondering where Kerrick is, what Kerrick’s doing, if Kerrick’s alive, if Kerrick’s dead, how will she survive without him – there was just too much of it. I like you, Kerrick, but… GET OUT OF AVRY’S HEAD! She was independent before you came along and wrapped her in your leaves and vine-like grip.

Reflecting on the world in the Healer series I have found it to be one of the weakest links for me. The names of the countries and towns all blur together and aren’t as distinct as, say, those in other epic fantasy and not-so-epic fantasy novels and series. Although there is a map in the front of the book, I didn’t use it at all because I felt like there was no use in trying to follow where each of the characters were at what time since all I really see are trees because of Kerrick. The setting is unmemorable and I only wish Taste of Death, the third book, lets me experience and understand everything rather than just observing everything, such as the mechanics of the lilies.

Taste of Death: You will either be bitter and disappointing, resulting in my death, or transform the days I’m reading you into opposite day and become ‘Taste of Life’, making me content with how the trilogy ends. I sincerely hope it’s the latter, because I don’t see myself succumbing to the terrors of the Death Lily.

A big thank you to Harlequin Teen Australia for a providing an ARC to review.

Books In This Series:

1. Touch of Power (December, 2011; Republication: December, 2012)
2. Scent of Magic (January, 2013)
3. Taste of Death (December, 2013/January, 2014)

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Title: Touch of Power, Healer #1
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publication: January, 2012 by Harlequin Teen Australia
Format, pages: Paperback, 390
Source: ARC from Publisher
Finished on: February 13, 2012
My Rating: ★★★★½ 

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life….

Would you survive when you’re the most-wanted individual in the world, the last of your kind? I certainly wouldn’t. But if you know and understand the ways, the laws, the power of the magic that you possess, you certainly could. Our trusty, loyal Avry can even teach you – though I’d need an instruction manual. I already know how to juggle though, so that’s one less thing I’d need to learn (just need to move onto kitchen knives or even torches of fire, now… “Sensei Avry, I need you!”). And from all those times that Avry had taught others how to do things – teaching Flea how to juggle, showing others how to care for the sick and injured, and also the guidance she gives to others to find the truths within and outside themselves – you’d be a pro at what you do in absolutely no time at all. Avry has the patience to be a great teacher, at everything, and the journey that she goes on within the pages of Touch of Power is evidence for it. Maria V. Snyder has written another wonderful and strong-minded female protagonist following the likes of Yelena, Pearl, and Trella. And with another breakout story, you might just feel like you’ve been devoured by a Dead Lily – but rather with explosions of pleasurable, orgasmic sensations than that unwanted thing called death.

Now I have to admit, there was a time in the first half of the book when I was losing interest since it dragged on a little – for me at least – but as the action, the suspense, and the revelations unfurled, there was nothing you could do to stop yourself from flicking those pages fast enough. Finding that brake pedal, or relearning how to move your foot to free it from the accelerator’s grasp, is impossible when you’re having such great sensations like the ones described above. Shall I repeat? Err… Okay: Org… aaa… As… mmm… Mic! And when you reach the climax there’s nothing else the Death Lily can do but spit you out like it does to Avry every time she got close to one. (“Sorry you had to learn that you weren’t her first Kerrick!” *giggle*) I didn’t tell you yet but you might’ve already noticed: the Death Lilies are evil!

The rest of the characters in Touch of Power just like the ones found in Maria’s other series, are well-rounded to the bone. The gang that kidnap Avry consisting of Kerrick – you know, the “guy”, the only reason why you girls read – Belen, Quain, Vinn, and Flea, the baddies, and the countless other side characters, all have backstories and personalities you’ll discover as you read. You just have to know which ones to trust. And within The Fifteen Realms, there is no knowing who you should trust – you will not know until you pick up this book and go along with Avry on this adventure.

Looking forward very much to the sequel Scent of Magic. Thank you to Gabby at Harlequin Teen Australia for this ARC. Now I must go and get my own copy to put on my shelf so that I will always be reminded of Avry of Kazan.

Posted by . This post has been sorted into "Maria V. Snyder, Meme" • 10 Comments
Teaser Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. You too can participate in this meme. All you have to do is follow these few quick and easy steps:
1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. Take caution that you DO NOT include spoilers (don’t ruin the book for others).
5. Share the title and author so others can add it to their to-read shelf if they enjoyed your teaser.
6. Comment on host’s post linking your teaser, and then comment on other participant’s teasers if you have some time to spare.
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Add it: Goodreads
“It doesn’t matter that you saved my girl’s life,” the husband said. “Your kind is responsible for millions of deaths. And the gold your execution will bring this town is sorely needed.” p.14