Review: Touch of Power; Scent of Magic; Taste of Darkness by Maria V Snyder

Touch of Power was a good book, and immediately after I read it, I did 2 things (other than the usual – rate it on Goodreads):
  1. Look at more of Snyder’s work, add them to my To-Read.
  2. Find the eBook for Scent of Magic and start immediately!
Source: Goodreads
Several things made Touch of Power work, despite the rather simple language Snyder adopted.
Firstly, it had a good cast. I cannot emphasise how important a good cast is in a book, at least to me. The cast makes the story. I found Avry a great, though slightly common, female character: intelligent, brave, unpredictable, a little stubborn. And the crew had great dynamics and cared for each other deeply.
The premise was interesting as well. Most of the time, healers are able to save others miraculously, and perhaps the worst thing that would happen to them was that they would be exhausted and drained of energy. So I found it fresh how as a healer, Avry couldn’t just magically (for lack of a better word) heal the wounds and cure the sicknesses of her patients, instead she actually had to sacrifice her own well-being to do so. I guess that kind of makes healers the best kind of people in the Fifteen Realms, and also even more ridiculous that people blamed the healers for not getting rid of the plague. [If a doctor failed to save someone you knew, would you threaten to kill ALL doctors in the world?! How does that make things better?!]. This is explained later in the series, but still I wasn’t convinced.
Admittedly, a few ridiculous things do happen in the novel, with plans that probably shouldn’t work out, but then they do. And here is where I admit I ain’t much of a critique: ridiculous things sometimes don’t bother me much if what I’m anticipating is romance. I actually just wanted to witness how Avry and Kerrick’s relationship evolved, and in that aspect, I was satisfied. I felt that despite everything, I did enjoy the book.
Image result for scent of magic maria v snyder
I read Book 2, Scent of Magic, immediately after. I’m just the kind of person who’d rather not leave a series hanging. I prefer to read it all in one shot, otherwise I may never get back to the series.
Unfortunately, Scent of Magic disappointed. The crew wasn’t together anymore, more ridiculous, illogical things (that’s all I can say without spoiling) happened…
There was also no development of the world building. Sure, we are brought to different places, but all the names felt interchangeable. Perhaps adding subtle differences in culture and people would’ve added much more depth and vibrancy to the story. I mean, I barely remembered that Fifteen Realms existed (even though that was what the war was about) because it was so two-dimensional.
So by the time I finished Scent of Magic, I was partially disillusioned with the whole series. I couldn’t find enough tolerance in me to continue the series just yet, so I ended up leaving it hanging, and continued a month later.
The only thing Taste of Darkness did was turn me off of the entire series. At first, I thought it was maybe because I wasn’t used to leaving a series hanging, and I just needed time to bring myself back into the world. But as I read further, I realised that I couldn’t delve into the world because this world wasn’t developed well in the first place.
What’s worse was that I couldn’t remember a single striking thing about any of the characters, beyond good vs bad. The dialogues didn’t help. They were bland, didn’t add personality to the characters, and even the supposedly exciting action and fighting scenes were mild and unappetising. I often found myself having to go back a few lines to recall what was happening because it just wasn’t interesting enough to garner my attention.
The more I read, the more disinterested I became. I didn’t care any more about the war, the plague, the Lilies, about Kerrick or Avry or Quain or Loren or Ryne or Flea or Belen, about Tohon or Cellina or Jael. I just wanted to get the book over and done with.
I didn’t finish it.
Quite a sad conclusion for a series I really thought would have potential.
So now I’m not sure if I should still read the Poison Study series, which Snyder is famous for? I’d hate to waste my time on another series that turns awry. Do comment if you’ve read it before!

Overview: Healer Series

Genre: mainly YA Fantasy
  1. Touch of Power – 4 stars
  2. Scent of Magic – 3 stars
  3. Taste of Darkness – 1 star (DNF)

Recommended?: Not really. Or maybe just read the first book and stop.


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