Book Review of Scent of Magic (Healer #2) by Maria V. Snyder

Posted November 26, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 14 Comments

Publisher: Harlequin

Release Date: December 18th, 2012
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Series: Healer #2
Source: Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads: 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 Avery is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible … again.

Review: I’ve been frustrated with Maria V. Snyder lately. She’s one of my favorite authors, and yet I am finding that I’m not loving her work as much as I used to. I enjoyed Outside In but not quite as much as I expected to, and now this one. First of all, I didn’t love Touch of Power as much as most bloggers did. I still liked it, but I didn’t feel it stood up to the standard of her previous work. I was hoping there would be an improvement with Scent of Magic. And in some ways there was, but mostly I was just disappointed. 
So I am going to talk about the good things first. This author excels at writing characters and that has not changed here. Avry is even more awesome than she was last time, and she is determined to fight and be a strong woman who takes care of herself. I usually love Snyder’s female characters because of this. They truly CAN take care of themselves. I get so tired of ya heroines that have to be rescued by the men. But Avry rarely needs that. She is intelligent and has great instincts. Sometimes strong female characters end up being unlikable. But not Avry. The other characters are all strongly developed as well and can stand on their own as side characters with their own individual personalities. 
The story in this book is also one I very much enjoyed. I think I even liked the plot of this one more than I did the first book. I just felt more INTO the storyline. It connected with me better and pulled me into its pages. I did not want to put this book down. The plot is very much a continuation of the first book, and it’s weird because sometimes it feels like nothing is happening and yet it’s still suspenseful. And if I think about it, not all that much happened in this book. And yet I could not stop reading it. Isn’t that strange? In some ways this book was just a bridge to the next one. But it did help the characters quite a bit, I think. I didn’t care much one way or another about the characters in the first book, and now I do. So that’s something. I’m not going to summarize the plot. I think the blurb covers it pretty well, actually.
So where did I run into problems? It was the writing this time. Too much infodumping and summarizing in the beginning kept the story from connecting with me the way it could have. I just felt it was handled in a very obvious and amateurish way. The infodumping was IN your face. Like no effort was made whatsoever to hide it. I actually prefer when the author leaves this out and lets me figure things out on my own. If I want a summary of the last book, I will just reread the last book! I don’t mind as much when it is sprinkled throughout the book in bits and pieces, but it”s not like that here. That would have been a huge improvement if it had been. And then the ending. It was abrupt, happened too fast, there was little resolution, and I felt the cliffhanger was cheaply handled. Of course I cannot talk about that without there being spoilers, but you should know that I am okay with most cliffhangers. This one just made me roll my eyes and say, “Okay then.” It pissed me off.
So will I read the next one? You betcha. Overall, I still really liked this one. And I love Avry, Kerrick, Belen, and everyone else. There are some new revelations in this one that will have you biting your fingernails until the next book is released. It may not be Snyder’s strongest effort, but it’s definitely still enjoyable. 
3/5 Dragons
To purchase a copy of Scent of Magic from, click the following: Scent of Magic.

14 responses to “Book Review of Scent of Magic (Healer #2) by Maria V. Snyder

  1. Ehhh, middle book syndrome? (this is a trilogy right?) I’m glad Avery is as strong as ever but maybe I’ll wait for the next book to read them together..

    P.S. You put Healer #3 instead of #2. 🙂

    • Thank you for noting my typo! I would not have noticed that. WHOOPS! It is fixed now.

      I guess this was middle book syndrome. Not sure if this is a trilogy or if it is longer. But there is definitely at least one more book.

      I think waiting for the next book is a great idea. I’d hate for anyone to be left with the cheap cliffhanger that I was left with.

  2. I’m a big fan of Maria Snyder, too. I really love her Study and Glass series. I haven’t started reading this series though, but I will read it soon though, once my school projects are done.

    Great review! Hope the third book will be better.

  3. I haven’t read anything by this author but I have been keeping up with your reviews and it’s too bad that it seems to be going downhill for you. I like a good strong chick in my books too so I’m happy to see that’s in play here but the info dumping has to go. It’s too bad that the writing was off in this one for you.

    • Me too! I just felt a lack of effort in this one if that makes sense. I hope like hell book three will be better. I liked this one, it just didn’t wow me like her previous books have. You should give her Study series a try though, Jenni. I think you would really like those.

  4. Okay, so you almost had me convinced, but the heroine’s name is totally Avry. I thought my ARCs were messed up, but I totally read the same ones and GR also says Avry:

    Her female characters are totally the bomb. Riley was a bit unlikable, but I think Avry is a very nice girl, except when she’s kicking someone’s ass. And, sometimes, she even does that to help people. What a saint!

    While you were immediately pulled into the story, I had a harder time getting into it myself. Nothing really seemed to be happening for the first half. Like I don’t think it was totally middle book syndrome, but I agree with the bridge comment.

    Honestly, I’m not sure if I noticed the infodumping; it doesn’t tend to be a hot-button issue for me, but that may be why I was so bored for much of it.

    Can we talk about that cliffhanger? Because it fucking pissed me off. This book ended in the exact same fucking cliffhanger as the last one, only this time it’s Kerrick dying. What the fuck is that shit? I mean, for serious. Also, how come everyone else started sickening from the poison so much faster than he did. And why didn’t he just tell her, so they could have him ready to go into a peace lily or a death lily or whatever, since they’ve figured out that people with magical powers CANNOT die of disease or pretty much anything. Everything about it made me want to rage. It was cheap and poorly thought out and, more than anything, made me feel like this had SBS.

    • So, finally responding to this comment. Thank you for catching the name error. That was a major fail on my part.

      I love Snyder’s female characters. Do you mean Trella? Riley was a dude. If so, I agree about Trella. She grew on me though. I think her unlikableness comes as a result of Snyder’s effort to write a realistic teenager. Her other female characters are older. I don’t know. That’s my guess.

      I was weird with this book. I knew not much was happening and yet I was really invested in it. I’m not usually like that.

      Infodumping really stands out to me because of the work I do. It came at the beginning when she was summarizing the first book in a really obvious way.


      Yes, it pissed me off too. I felt it was cheaply handled and a poor decision. He’s not going to die though. He can’t. And I agree with you. Why did his take so long to catch on? It was STUPID.

  5. I haven’t been enjoying this series as much as Snyder’s others, either. I found this one to be very slow in the beginning, probably due to all the summarising of ToP that went on. I did like the climax towards the end, though. And basically everything featuring the villain because he’s awesome and crazy XD

    Great review!

  6. Amy

    I actually haven’t read any of her books, but it’s too bad that the recent books you have read weren’t up to par with what you expected. It sounds like this book has a major case of second book syndrome. Great review babe!!

  7. I’m glad you’re planning to pick up the sequel, but I’m still on the fence about this series as a whole – I think I’ll just skip it. It doesn’t seem to be WOW like The Study Trilogy was, which is a shame since I think Snyder is an extremely talented writer. Wonderful review, Kara! 🙂

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