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
Age Category: Young Adult
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.
Other books by Maria V. Snyder:
• Inside Out