Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book review: Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

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




NOTE: I received the book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I really couldn't wait for ToD to come out. I loved the previous two installments in this series, and was quite impatient to get my hands on it. I've fallen in love with Maria V. Snyder's books and I had great faith that she will finish off the Healer Series with a grande finale. Which is why the lack of one surprised and disappointed me.

I guess the reason is that I expected too much. But come on! This is Maria V. Snyder we're talking about! An author who has mastered the world of fantasy way beyond expectation!

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I didn't like ToD. I loved it. However, the ending chapters didn't feel like they fit naturally with the story. Rather, they felt forced and rushed out of proportion, compared to the slowness of the first 3/4 of the book. Everything ended so fast, i was left confused and not even remotely glad to be rid off the bad guys.

Seriously, I didn't enjoy the demise of any one character.

And there's something else as well. The fact that the story remained unreasonably optimistic until the end. I mean, come on! This was war we were talking about, and none of the good guys died? Sure, some nameless soldiers left their lives on the battle field, but our group of six? Nope. Rumors of death, fake death, whatever - there was plenty of that. Real death? Nope.

By the end of the book, I was borderline tired by all the fake-dying that I'd witnessed and was begging for a real victim! Honestly, Quinn or Loren should've been buried with honors or something. Or Odd.

Anyway, enough of this rant. Let's get serious.

Writing style:
Impeccable, like always.

Story line:
see rant above

And to add to it, that weird bond between the triangle Kerrick-Avry-Tohon, how exactly was it forged? I was confused because 1) when she was with Kerrick, why didn't the bond strengthen? and 2)Tohon is only seeing Avry in her dreams and still his bond is stronger?

Sure, there was a vague explanation about it, but you know what? It just doesn't work for me.

Themes:
-Revenge
-Loss
-Fear of helplessness
-War strategies don't account for individuals

Characters:
Oh boy, here goes..

Avry is the same stubborn girl we met in book one. I admire her even though she's way too perfect to sound real. Sure, most of the time she didn't do things on purpose, but still - how come each of her decisions, every single action, is ALWAYS freaking right come the end? I got why Ryan was so frustrated with her all the time. I was too!

Kerrick... I felt sorry for his condition. I really loved how much he cared about his friends and Avry and how tormented he felt for not being able to help them with campaigns outside the forest.

Ryne. Gosh. That man was devious. I wanted to strangle him most of the time for being such a prick and for never considering people's feelings. But he was a brilliant strategist and I just couldn't hate him for that.

The Skeleton King revolted the crap out of me. He was gross and I had to wonder why nobody dared to just cut his head off and be done with the likes of him.

Tohon... Sadly, I miss the evil, sophisticated idiot that he was.

Estrid was one piece of a crappy queen. Perhaps the Skeleton King could've taught her a few lessons. Ha!

Odd was a really nice guy. Loyal and fierce.

Flea annoyed me a little, because he was acting like a kid way too much. Sure, he had some responsibilities now, but heck - who didn't?

The monkeys... well they were just the same as always. Fun to be around. Always catching up to speed.

I guess that's all I have to say. Good book, but not a grand finale.

My rating is