Page Count: 394
Release Date: December 20th, 2011
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes 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 Territories, 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….
In compliance with FTC guidelines, I received this book through Netgalley.com
This being my first experience with Synder and having heard so much about the Studies series I was expected a lot out of this. I try not to do that with books as I find it unfair to judge something based off of previous works, but I did with this and was disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I still really enjoyed it but there were some issues that I had while reading it.
But first with the good. The cover is stunning!! I love the colors and the softness of it, and I want a physical copy of this book badly. I love the magic system that Synder created, with there being various ‘classes’ like Earth, Air, Death, Life, etc. Of course it includes the Healers but they are more of an outcast class, which I also enjoyed learning about. I thought that the way they come into their powers was a really cool idea. I also loved the way the plague became a sort of character in this, and one of main things that keep me turning the pages (or in my cases clicking the arrow button) was trying to find out how the and why the plague started. The fact that people feared Healers during a plague was at first a curious sort of reaction but I can say I understood it, they are capable of healing people, they don’t contract the plague and yet they can’t heal it. To someone who doesn’t understand that power it seems more of an unwillingness or a call for responsibility. I thought that little tidbit was kind of genius. Then comes the Peace and Death Lilies. I love the thought of a flower like this…though I did picture it as one of those killer flowers from Mario more then once. And of course there are the characters I adored reading about. Belen, Kerrick and Tohon. Belen is a wonderful and caring character that you can’t help but like, Kerrick took some time to get use to but I grew to love him just as much as Belen, and then finally Tohon…who is kind of an unexpected favorite. I suppose it was his suave personality that got me even though he was a little juvenile.
Now for the things I wasn’t fond of. First off I wasn’t fond of some of the characters, like Avry or Sepp. Avry was nice and likeable but she was very…one note to me. Since she was the narrator this kind of brought down the story in some areas since she sometimes shrugged off horrors and dulled down excitement with the way she explained things. She was also in some serious denial for most of the book. I didn’t like Sepp because he was completely see through, and yet no one else seemed to catch on. I suppose all this ties into my main dislike. The lack of explanation and details. At times situations were glossed over and it caused some confusion with the world building that was occurring. For instance I was picturing a Middle Age kind of world but then a more modern invention would slip in and I’d be confused. I wish there had been more details relating to the world itself so that I could have gotten feel for that as well.
Overall I enjoyed it and I do plan on reading the next one when it comes out. I will also pick up Poison Study at some point too. I do recommend it to Synder fans and those who enjoy a more “historical” fantasy type of adventure.
I read the Study series last year and really liked with them – the world in that trilogy is brilliantly drawn so I’d recommend them for that if nothing else. I agree, though, that the characterisation isn’t always perfect. It’s interesting that you mentioned a jarring narrator because I read Snyder’s Glass series and they would have been a lot better if I’d been able to identify with the narrator, Opal, a bit more.
I have this book on my eReader and still can’t wait to read it!
Snyder is one of my favorite fantasy authors but I’ve noticed that other fans struggled with this book as well. It does have an interesting premise and I love the cover too, so we’ll see. It’s hard to love the book when the connection with the narrator isn’t there as well as the plot holes that you outlined.
Glad you liked it well enough to want to pick up the sequel. I’ll be interested to see what you think of Poison Study. Thanks for the thorough review 🙂