Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: Avry of Kazan #2/Healer #2
Pages: 416 (Nook ARC edition)
Published: expected December 18 2012
Source: publishers via NetGalley
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.
A swing and a miss for veteran fantasy author Maria V. Snyder. The first novel, Touch of Power, was a great introduction to the newest series by this prolific writer, but much like what happened for me with her Study series, the sequel left a lot to be desired. It took me a while to sort out how I felt about this novel after finishing it, especially deciding on the rating. 3 stars? 2.5? I just split the difference and settled with 2/75. What I have decided is that this is a far cry from its action-packed predecessor. All the key elements are here - Avry, Kerrick, their chemistry [for the 30ish pages they're together...], the monkeys, the new spin on magic. Where Scent of Magic fell apart for me was the slower pace, and the complete and utter lack of any actual plot momentum. I was bored for a lot of this read - and for a novel that clocks in at a hefty 416 pages, that's a lot of time to be bored.
I had to sit and think on this, but I seem to see a pattern with Snyder's inability to follow-up awesome first novels. It's a shame, because this series, with these likeable, usually interesting characters, have a lot of potential. I was frustrated with so much of what
For all the POV headjumping, all the trekking around from one place to another, the endless woods-traininf and all the hidden identities and secrets and foul play, not much of note happens in Scent of Magic. While the characters can pick up some of the slack, there isn't a whole lot of evolution going on for them, either. It's unfortunate, but it doesn't seem like Avry or Kerrick or anyone else really grew or changed from the version shown of them in the first novel. Avry is well-written and a strong female character in a fantasy world (which are few and far in between), but her trials and tribulations seem small - except in the case of her sister. Kerrick, whom I loved in the first book, was somewhat..... wooden and flat in this. He had moments of brilliance and interest, but I didn't invest in him the same way I had before. Sequel syndrome struck with a vengeance here, for both plot, characters, pace, and momentum. It's a shame, because this series (still) has the potential to be awesome. I'll hold out hope for book three - Taste of Death - but not my breath.
I always want to like Maria V. Snyder's novels, but I can't help but see patterns and similarities the more of them I read. Even characters can read reminiscently of ones from before (like the "monkeys" from this series and Ari and Janco from the Study series, or Valek/Kerrick). Snyder really seems to struggle and end up disappointing with sequels after a promising first novel (see also: the Study series rapid decline from awesome to blah to baaaad). With so much potential and so many plotlines to engage with, it's a shame that Scent of Magic fails to live up to it's predecessor and fails to advance the plot in any meaningful way. So - 2 stars for fun, interesting - if stagnant - characters, and .75 for all the