I've been a fan of Maria V. Snyder's Healer series for quite a while now. When the opportunity to read and review the third book came along, I jumped at the chance. The Healer series focuses on Avry, a remarkable young woman who is a healer in a land ravaged by plague and war.
In Taste of Darkness, Avry shines. She has matured since the previous books. She is no longer an outlaw, healing young children in hiding. Instead, Avry is well-respected and a source of exasperation for the men in her life: Prince Ryne and Kerrick. I loved how Avry was openly defiant of the Prince. Kerrick adores Avry, and would do anything for her. The other men in her life, the Monkeys, look up to Avry for leadership. Of course, Tohon is still around and he continues to invade Avry's dreams, taunting her.
Taste of Darkness starts off slowly. There is little recapping of the events of the previous books. I would recommend reading the books of this series in consecutive order with as little gap in time as possible. There's a huge cast of characters to keep track of, but I've come to expect that in the fantasy genre. Have patience, I think that this is the best book of the series. Taste of Darkness is an action-packed adventure, with lots of twists, turns, and betrayals.
I think what I loved about this book (and the series in general) was the intricate world created by the author. It has a middle ages feel to it, yet it touches upon biological warfare. The magic in the series in intriguing, spanning all sorts of abilities: life, healing, persuasion, and the like. Even the vegetation of this world becomes a character. Giant identical lilys, capable of swallowing a man whole have a sentient connection to the land and those characters with magical abilities. The romance aspect was there in the story, not really in the forefront, but an integral part of the story nonetheless. Oh, and a word about our villain. Tohon has got to be one of the more deliciously evil characters out there.
Taste of Darkness was an enjoyable read and a satisfying end to the series. The author is an excellent storyteller and I can't wait to read more of her books in the future.
Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for a review copy of this book.
Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.