by Maria V. Snyder
Published December 20th 2011 by Mira
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 princeleader 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...-goodreads
Rating: 5 stars!
Oh holy MOLEY.
I expected this book to be good, and I certainly hoped that I would really like it.... but believe me, I did not expect to LOVE this book as much as I do!
Just.... ahhh! I don't even know where to begin!
It. Was. Brilliant. The concept of this novel, the healers, the magicians, and 11 types of magic were so original! I loved learning about the different types of magic and their respective abilities and I can't wait for the next book to learn more! The world-building was impeccable and I could visualize each setting perfectly. ALSO, oh my goodness, Maria V. Snyder is a master at pacing the story! The plot takes place over months, and not once was I bored! In my opinion, Snyder knew exactly when to give the reader a sequence of scenes and when to say that X passage of time had passed.
And I don't know about other people, but I adored the Death/Peace lilies. Maybe it's a girl thing.... Anyways, if you don't know, these lilies are man-sized lilies that can literally grab and "eat" you (if it's a Death lily). I can't really explain why I loved this aspect of the book so much, but I thought it was very creative and just plain cool! I kind of wish they were real....
And now... on to the CHARACTERS.
I have to say, the characters just MADE the story. I mean, the adventure and magic elements were fantastic. But what really added that little oomph that usually pushes a book from 4 to 5 stars were the characters.
Avry, the rare healer of the story, is one of the strongest and most brilliant protagonists I've seen in a long time! She's very selfless, risking her own safety countless times to save others, but that doesn't mean she makes stupid decisions. On the contrary, actually. She has a great analytic mind and picks up on great survival cues that I, as the reader, didn't even catch until she pointed them out! She's courageous and fearless and kind and just all sorts of amazing. Oh, plus she's very sarcastic, which I loved! Seriously, I'm sure you'll love her.
As for the ragtag band of "rogues" mentioned in the blurb, I was initially worried that with 5 of them (Kerrick, Belen, Flea, Quain, and Loren) I wouldn't be able to keep them all straight. But never fear because Snyder is just that awesome and makes each one fairly distinct and memorable!
(I even remembered how each one of them looked like, even though she only really described them once!)
I loved how each of them came together to be this little "family" and have joke around despite their daunting mission. Avry's interaction with them was also fun to read--like they got another addition to the gang.
Kerrick is the undisputed leader of the group, as well as the love interest, and.... I don't know... I started off not really liking him because he was not exactly very nice... but then, I don't really know when exactly, but he totally grew on me! It was just one of those things where the culmination of the events of the book made me like him, as opposed to a single event.
I kind of wish there could have been some more romance, though. At the end, I was all for the Avry-Kerrick pairing, but I wouldn't have minded some more Moments for me to swoon at his finery.
As for the villain, Tohon, I think he was written wonderfully. A charming megalomaniac.
All in all, this book was just wonderful all around! Love love LOVED it! I cannot wait for that sequel!!!
Once you start this book, you won't be able to put it down! Trust me, this book was one addictive read; I started it one morning and pretty much spent the rest of that day reading! I finished the very next day and raced to my computer because I was just so excited to gush about this book!