MIRA Books (Dec 2012)
Paperback, 404 pages
Young Adult, Fantasy
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 Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible … again. (Goodreads)
*Warning: Contains spoilers for the first book in the series*
Scent of Magic starts almost immediately after the end of book one with Avry surviving healing Prince Ryne with help from the peace lily. While everyone thinks that she is dead, Avry devises a plan to infiltrate Estrid’s army in order to make contact with her sister Noelle and to find out more about Tohon’s army of dead. Kerrick however, is forced to separate from his new love and heads off to find Ryne and then go home to Alga. The chapters alternate with Avry and Kerrick’s POV.
Avry makes a stop off at Mom’s where she gets help with a disguise and discovers Melina has been abducted by Estrid’s army. She offers to retrieve her in exchange for Mom’s help. This side quest is all but forgotten after the first few chapters. Avry easily becomes recruited into Estrid’s army and achieves a position of authority when her skills at ‘hide and seek’ become known. She tries to bond with her sister Noelle to no avail but manages to make a number of friends within the army. She tries to convince her new friends of what Tohon has done with the dead but no one believes her.
Kerrick meets up with Ryne and the rest of his band including the two children Danny and Zilla who Tohon experimented on in book one and then travels back to Alga to discover his brother has made a deal with Tohon to save the kingdom. Its a short homecoming when he learns of an invasion of the northern tribes who are fearsome warriors. He decides to investigate and ends up captured by this brutal band of warriors and its not long before Danny gets captured as well and they are living on their wits to survive.
Back in Estrid’s camp Avry makes a startling discovery and learns a little more about how the peace and death lilies work. After some minor skirmishes and few contretemps with Jael, Tohon invades and Estrid surrenders in order to save the remains of her army. Needless to say Tohon is angry that Avry survived healing Ryne and uses the power of his magic over hers to make her concede. He ramps up control of Avry by threatening Noelle and it causes her to take desperate measures. While Avry tries to resist Tohon, Kerrick fights his way back to Ryne along with Danny. The love birds finally meet up after a series of battles which results in a fight with Tohon where traitors are exposed, powers are uncovered, people die and Kerrick ends up in mortal danger. Snyder ends the book with with a huge cliff hanger where more than just Kerrick’s life hangs in the balance.
I really liked Touch of Power and was instantly engrossed in it but I didn’t feel the same about this second instalment in the series. I thought there was something lacking and when I finished the book I realised what it was - it was missing the ‘thrill of the chase’ with Kerrick, Avry and Kerrick’s men racing across the Kingdom to save Prince Ryne. Life seemed to go along a bit too smoothly for Avry in Estrid’s army and she gave away her secrets much too easily. Kerrick’s story was much more gritty and there was a real sense that he was fighting for his freedom and his life in every chapter. There was also an element of returning to the status quo in one of the big reveals (I won’t tell what it was) but this is fairly typical of YA. Snyder however, does know how to write a dramatic ending and Scent of Magic has a whopper of one. The final chapters had more in keeping with the first book with action, intrigue and drama. I can’t even imagine where Snyder is going to take this story or what her plans are for Avry and Kerrick. I really like Kerrick as a hero and so I can hardly wait for book three to find out what happens next.
Scent of Magic is much slower than the first book of this series Touch of Power but there is a lot of plot development for both Avry and Kerrick. Snyder kicks home the story with a very dramatic, high action ending and a big cliff hanger. While not as immediately as engaging as the first book it does pick up at the end and it is a sound continuation to a great series.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- Touch of Power
- Scent of Magic
- Taste of Death (2013)
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