Tuesday, November 27, 2012

REVIEW: Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

Scent of Magic (Healer, #2) Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

With book 2, the YA fantasy series continues to keep my undivided attention with its accessible writing and compelling plot. But just like what happened with book 1, as I read book 2, the story slowly diminished in credulity.

The Plot

The beginning was great. I didn’t recall much of book 1, but book 2 refreshed my memory in the first chapter. I really liked how the rehash was presented in the story: minimal, intermittently, at relevant time and place, and never once kept the plot from moving forward.

The middle of the book was not so great. Our heroes suffered a barrage of setbacks, and it was hard for me to watch.

The ending felt flat to me, and it wasn’t because of the lack of action. There was a lot of action. No, the issue I took was the amount of unnecessary drama that happened. If the characters acted on opportunities and followed through with their goals, then things would have happened much faster and the story would have been much stronger. This series seemed to fear to dish out death, and as a result things weren’t as consequential as they should have been.

When the book ended on a cliffhanger with one of the major characters in a fatal situation, I wasn’t as worried as I could have been. I didn’t go into an emotional explosion driving me to demand the next book now.

Plus, every time the story switched to another character’s PoV, it almost always ended on a cliffhanger that left the character in a fatal situation. The periodic cliffhangers irritated me at first, but I got used to them eventually. The book depended too much on cliffhangers as a vehicle to push the plot forward. This is the rest of the reason why the cliffhanger at the final chapter didn’t have much of an impact.

The Characters

+++ the heroine: Avry

The story alternated between Avry and Kerrick’s 1st person PoV like clockwork. I liked Avry for the first half of book 2. She took initiative and no matter how big the danger she willing went into it to save her loved ones.

But, for the last half of book 2, I found her mildly annoying and maddeningly stupid. I counted at least two opportunities she had to end the big bad guy, Tohon, once and for all, but she did nothing. I understand her Healer’s code not to kill, but it didn’t stop from her knocking people out with her healing power or, if she wanted to, maiming them or, better yet, doing something to rid Tohon’s of his abominable magic.

Moreover, if I recall correctly, in book 1 Avry also had opportunities to end Tohon’s evil ways and save the world. I know Avry was trying to show mercy but by not killing Tohon when she got chance she allowed him to kill more people, hence the sole reason I thought her maddeningly stupid.

The issues I had with Avry didn’t stop there with her contemptible belief of mercy, Avry lost sight of her goal when she infiltrated Estrid’s army. She was supposed to rescue Melina, but she never did. Avry cared deeply for her loved ones, especially for her antagonistic little sister, so I couldn’t believe her oversight.

Another issue that was incredulous was how long it took for someone to see through her disguise and identify her as Avry, the last healer in the kingdoms. If strangers easily suspected her, how come the people who met her in book 1 didn’t and readily accepted her cover identity? I could not believe how long and relatively effortless her disguise lasted.

+++ the heroine’s love interest: Kerrick

I preferred Kerrick’s PoV over Avry’s. He was less much frustrating and a stronger leading character compared to Avry. I only wished he was more clever and less fatalistic. By the middle of the book, Kerrick took the spotlight away from Avry instead of sharing it. That’s how much Avry annoyed me. I even managed to forgive Kerrick for his jerk attitude in book 1.

In Conclusion

I rate Scent of Magic 3-stars for I liked it. I wavered between 2 and 3 stars but ultimately rounded up to 3 stars because of the story’s momentum. As much as the cliffhangers annoyed me, they did keep me reading further and finish the book in one sitting. Still, it was the exception not the rule; Kerrick’s PoV compensated.

If you loved book 1, you’ll love book 2. If you love this series, you should check out the Healing Wars series:

The Shifter (Healing Wars, #1)

Amazon GoodReads

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