Title: Taste of Darkness
Series: Healer (#3)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Release Date: December 31, 2013
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.
(Summary from Goodreads.)
Oh my gosh, Maria V. Snyder has done it again! I am completely serious – I didn’t realise how much I missed her amazing characters until I was sitting down again with one of her books. The war is still going on and the problems and twists continue to pile on, throwing everybody. Then Kerrick disappears. Avry refuses to believe that he is gone forever but she has a duty as a healer to help others and is forced to stop her search and return to her duties, all the while kindling the hope inside of her that Kerrick will come back. Tohon is still frozen in a magical stasis and Cellina’s army poses a threat to Avry and her friends. The horrific and dark Skeleton King has also emerged, destroying villages and eating people alive, threatening to take over the Fifteen Realms. To top it all off, Flea is struggling with his new magic. However, throughout it all Avry, Loran, Quain, Odd, and Flea are still together, going off on missions with Avry’s crazy plans.
Everything about Taste of Darkness was fantastic. Immediately Avry and the others are in the midst of action and there is no shortage of tension or fight scenes. It felt like there was so much going on in the book, with mission after mission, complication after complication. And yet it flowed together seamlessly. Not once was I overwhelmed by the speed in which the events hit me. Unlike Touch of Power and Scent of Magic, this one felt darker (hint, hint in the title possibly ;) ). The crucial points have come – the outcome of the war over the Fifteen Realms hangs on the events in Taste of Darkness and the vitality of everything that was done is palpable. However, within the web of plots formed, the solemnity of the book, was the humor. In every one of the books that I have read by Maria V. Snyder there is some humor, but in the Healer series the banter is incredible. I was laughing so much and it was such a good reflection of the characters – dutiful to the end but with personalities that warm you.
While I loved every single character – including the Skeleton King, who I loved being disgusted with – Ryne stood out for me quite a bit. Previously I didn’t feel like he had such a big role but in Taste of Darkness he seemed more involved for some reason – maybe because in almost every conversation he tried to control Avry and every time he ended up confused when she didn’t obey. Even though Avry couldn’t stand him at times, which I completely understood, I still loved their dialogue.
The dual POV with Kerrick and Avry also worked really well. It was useful to be inside of Kerrick’s head at times, especially when he was missing. But don’t worry, he and Avry aren’t separated the whole time. Romance is always one of my favorite qualities in a book and it was flawless. Not too much (although I probably wouldn’t complain) and not too little, the scenes with Avry and Kerrick were both precious, sweet, and even slightly swoony (if that’s a word…).
Between the great characters, the prose, and the plot, there was nothing missing in Taste of Darkness. It nicely brought all of the books together and the series to a close. Honestly, it was an absolutely beautiful end to the series and I can’t imagine it ending any other way. While I would have loved an epilogue, just to prolong the story slightly more, it wasn’t necessary. There were no loose ends at all and I am going to miss being in Avry’s world.
*I received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are my own.