Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Review: Scent of Magic

Author: Maria V. Snyder
Title: Scent of Magic
Pages: 413

Publication date:
- original: December 18, 2012
- edition: December 20, 2012
Publisher: MIRA

Series: Avry of Kazan/Healer
1. Touch of Power (3 stars)
2. Scent of Magic
3. Taste of Death (December 2013)

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

After her adventures in Touch of Power Avry now has to find a way to counter King Tohon's army of the dead. This is made even harder for her by the fact that she and Kerrick need to go on separate paths. Kerris is bound north to join Prince Ryne's forces and then to battle the wild tribes who threaten to invade the northern realms. Meanwhile Avry enlists in Estrid's army to try and make things right with her sister Noelle as well as to gather useful information for Ryne.

I really like Maria V. Snyder's books. Her current series featuring Avry of Kazan is even more gripping than the previous books. Her world-building is very good. It is easy to picture the characters and places in one's mind. The world makes sense and little things may turn out to be important later on, all is interconnected. Just as a good fantasy-world should be.

The author's vivid writing style manages to capture the reader's attention and it is really hard to lay the book down for more important things. This is especially hard between chapters because Maria V. Snyder has a knack for finishing chapters with a cliffhanger. Generally the narration flows well.

Although I read the first book in the series a year ago and did not re-read it before starting Scent of Magic I didn't have any difficulties in getting back into the story. Some things had slipped my mind but the mention of those occurences brought the memory back quite quickly. Still this a book where one should have read the first installment at some point to get into the story and world.

In this book Maria V. Snyder tried something new by introducing passages written from Kerrick's point-of-view. Considering that Kerrick and Avry are separated for most of the book and Kerrick's adventures and achievements will probably play a certain role in the next book that secondary perspective was probably necessary for the book. Apart from that it is a nice change to get a closer view at the love interest of the protagonist. Kerrick's passages were rather short in comparison of Avry's, but I found the length appropriate for him. Enough to give a feeling of his adventures and paint a mental image of his surroundings but not so much that the focus is distracted from Avry.

The fact that Avry and Kerrick spend most of the book in different parts of the world also means that the romance aspect takes a secondary place in the book. While Kerrick and Avry are lovers and miss each other this doesn't make them unable to function on their own. They are still able to think of other things and concentrate on their tasks at hand. I really like this about Maria V. Snyder's books. The lovers still have a life apart from each other.

Avry itself is a strong and believeable heroine. She can cope without being rescued by a man (well, there are moments when she gets help from a man, but she has to deal with a whole army, so a bit of help is excuseable). However, she doesn't reach her goals easily, either. She has to work to gain other people's trust and friendship and to succeed in her task.
I especially liked her attitude and behaviour towards Tohon in this book. It showed real strength and character on her part. Also I was pleasantly surprised that there is no love triangle in this book. Shortly I feared that there might be one, but fortuneately this didn't happen.

Not only is Avry a likeable and vivid main character, but the secondary characters are also well-developed. It is easy to form a mental image of them that instantly returns when they are mentioned or appear later on in the book.
This holds true for old characters that already appeared in the previous book as well as new characters that are first introduced in this installment.

In general I also liked the ending. However, there was a situation at the beginning of the last chapter where some things happend a bit too fast and coincidental for my liking. That seemed a bit forced and didn't fit the author's overal writing style and ability to make characters act rationally and believable. That scene could have done well with a bit more explanation or hints leading up to it. But this is only a minor grievance that doesn't really distract from the book as a whole.
As most of Maria V. Snyder's books this ends with a cliffhanger that makes the reader wish to pick up the next book at once. Alas, the next book has not yet been published, so people who need to read the next book in a series instantly after finishing the earlier book should be warned of this.

All in all this is a wonderful fantasy adventure with vivid and fluid narration that I can wholeheartedly recommend; especially for people who tend to get tired of lovesick main characters who can't think of anything else than their lover. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

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