394 pages, paperback
Available now (Dec. 2011)
Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Fifteen Realms, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.
Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life…
Positive: Interesting world. While it isn’t as nuanced or richly drawn as Snyder’s other worlds, it’s a great start to a new series, and I do hope we’ll learn more as we travel through it. Hit hard by a plague that swept through the population, the fifteen realms are rebuilding. There’s magic in the realms, though people have done their best to wipe some of it out. There’s also plenty of political drama with much infighting and political machinations going on behind the scenes.
Positive: Kerrick, the head of the band of rogues who save her from death then drag her with them to their prince. At first, I wasn’t a fan because he’s all about his mission and doesn’t really let us in but, after spending some time in his company, he really grew on me. He’s a very enigmatic guy and very loyal to his people and his prince. The interplay between Kerrick and Avry is intriguing to watch, as they grow to like and understand one another through their journey.
Wish: That Avry weren’t practically a Mary Sue character. Hunted and guaranteed death if she’s caught, she still has to help people who are sick, especially the kids. When she is captured because she helps a sick child, she just accepts it and rolls over in her prison cell and goes to sleep. What? She’s not going to fight at all? And, as a healer, she’s pretty saintly anyway (see wish #2). She never really loses this Mary Sue saint thing, continuing to heal people to her own detriment.
Wish: That I understood the point of the healing power better. Healers can’t heal the big stuff, and can’t pull someone back from the brink of death if they had, say, a knife wound to the belly, because the healer would die. Healers can only heal a little at a time because they take the pain/illness into themselves and have to fight it off like a “normal” person since they don’t have speedy healing themselves and can die just like everyone else. And it’s not like they get off on the pain–if they were into that, at least it would be a benefit for them. Instead, they’re almost saintly in their acceptance of the pain they take from others.
Overall: While this wasn’t my favorite of Snyder’s worlds or stories, I still really enjoyed it.
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